One Month

Friday marked one month since we lost Everett.  We actually had been keeping a calendar and new it was coming.  We we’re going for no surprises here, but upon it’s arrival it still sucked the breath out of me.  It reminded me of when I realized an entire week had passed since he had died.  It felt unreal all over again.  Like, there is just no way this even happened.  One month feels like 3 days…tops.  I look back at pictures of us in the hospital and it’s raw and pitiful…Everett so sick, his body being put through all it was being put through, our family so strung out and yet we’d give anything to go back to that place and do it all over again if it meant we could be with him again.

Things feel incredibly isolating and lonely now.  We hear less and less from friends and family and realizing the world is moving on and you are still legitimately, heavily grieving your dead son is pretty damn hard.  And please hear me…I get it, I really do.  People move on and rightly so…it’s a natural progression for others, but it doesn’t make it any less easier and it’s a constant battle to not stay pissed off feeling.  It also feels insane trying to walk our grief out individually while helping the others in our home do the same.  Seven people grieving means there is little to no time to NOT be thinking about it…Everett, the sadness, the mess, the regret, the guilt, the pain.  You simply cannot escape it…especially when the majority of the people grieving are children who talk and talk and talk some more about their grief.  Our littlest asks me multiple times a day, “Why did Everett have to die?” and some days I want to lose my ever loving mind and scream at the top of my lungs like a wild animal, “For effs sake, I don’t know why he had to die.  It’s ridiculous and stupid and makes zero sense so will you never ever ever ask me this question again?!?!  Okay?  Okay!”  Crazy mom alert.  Hahahaha.  And obviously we want everyone to grieve how they need to, but man, some days it’s just far too much.

On Friday morning Harper cried on her way out the door.  She couldn’t believe one month was here.  Me too, sister!  Me too!  But there was a sleepover planned at Nene and Big Daddy’s and a friends house so this perked spirits up.  I spent the day with our littlest running errands and trying to keep thoughts at bay.  I drew in my book for the first time since the morning Everett died.  The last time I put pencil to this paper was laying beside his little body on life support when just hours later his little heart would beat it’s last.  We also picked up flowers because days like today need pretty flowers to share with others.  Andy and Becky asked us to go out for dinner that night too and we thought it was the perfect time to have our first date night in really FOREVER.

Josh Kelley and I just aren’t up for much these days.  We don’t like to go out and we don’t even really like being around tons of people.  Everywhere kind of feels sucktastic because everything feels hard right now.  We have to listen to everyone’s comments and try and have normal conversations when all we want to do is ball up into the fetal position and cry in the corner of a room…any room will do.  And simple tasks still feel really difficult for me.  Amon asked me to make chocolate chip cookies for his Gotcha Day and you guys, you would have thought he asked me to scale Mt. Kilimanjaro naked with no supplies.  I use to love to bake and now it feels like pulling teeth, but most everything does.

And that’s one of the hardest parts…that our everyday has been totally flipped.  The way we once we’re is no more.  We are drastically different people…a drastically different family…whether we like it or not.  Everything is different.  Nothing feels like it used to.  And everyone is our house feels it so there is zero escape.  We’re having to learn who we are along with who “us” is all over again and figure out how this is now going to work.  It’s really hard when you used to really love to do things…baking, creating, running, reading the Bible, etc…and now it all just feels too hard and unenjoyable.  I don’t even know what to do with that yet.

So Friday night we dolled up and headed to Two Ten Jack to eat with Andy and Becky for dinner.  And you know what, it wasn’t terrible at all.  I think it helps being around people who genuinely, deeply loved your kid almost as much as you did.  I think it helps knowing they know we’re doing terrible.  And I think it helps because they’re game despite knowing we’re doing terrible 🙂  So we ate all the foods and drank all the drinks and talked our faces off.  We ate the best brussels sprouts to ever grace a plate along with crazy good ramen, dumplings and salmon.  Aaaaand about 3 hours & 4 cocktails later I might have gone into Five Daughters Bakery  and purchased a dozen donuts because I was all, “Donuts!  I love donuts.” Unbeknownst to me Five Daughters is not like Krispy Kreme in pricing or donuts so Becky and I emerged $50 and 12 cronuts (donut crossaints) later like, “What just happened?!?!”  Hahahahaha.  It makes me laugh every time I think about it, but we sat on the patio outside and ate the best cronuts we’ve ever had…and the first cronuts we’ve ever had.  Worth every single penny.  So so delicious.

We handed off some extra cronuts in a to-go box for A & B, hugged, said our goodbyes and headed home.  As we drove I thought about what this month has looked like…every last hellish piece of it.  And truthfully it’s been terrible.  Could it have been worse, totally, but losing Everett was nothing I was prepared for.  Do we still see God’s goodness everywhere, you bet.  We still love Him, He’s still unchanging and He’s still ridiculously good.  I thought about all the times in my life I’ve thought or wondered about what the year will hold…the hope that might emerge…and I thought it again.  Hope will always be our song.


  1. Heather Shorr says:

    Five Daughters just can’t be beat. And my heart hurts so much for you.

    • I’m so very sad for you and your family! I’m an adoptive mom as well and just can’t imagine your deep pain! I’m going to encourage you to find a good Christian counselor to walk through this pain with you! It will help you so much! Many prayers!!!

  2. You completely amaze me. Does anyone ever just stop & tell you .. you are an incredible person. As a Mother, wife, caregiver, Christian, friend… omg the list goes on forever. You are in survival mode from losing the most precious gift on earth; and yet you are able to continue to be there for your kids who need you, your husband who loves you, your friends and FB supporters… for Everett and his memory. I am SO inspired by your Faith, your courage, your humor, your strength. I can’t even fathom what you have been through; what every second of every day is like without your sweet boy. But through all the hurt & pain & relentless agony; you do it. And you’re able to share your story.. your life.. with us & for that I commend you. I’ve kept your family in prayers for some time; and I know that God has such an amazing plan for you. Everett has already touched so many lives with his story; and you have blessed us with sharing it. Please continue to do so. Sending much love, respect, & blessings ❤️


  4. Oh, sweet Laura…your entire paragraph that begins, “And that’s one of the hardest parts…” down through “I don’t even know what to do with that yet.”: just a huge YES, yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking and feeling, and I am so incredibly sorry that you’re having to think and feel those things. Thank you so much for your courage in writing this. You are never alone in your thoughts and feelings. Praying hard for you.

  5. No words other than love. So much love to you and all of the Kelleys. Here’s to all the drinks and donuts <3

  6. My heart is with you. This Friday will be 3 months, and yet it feels like just a breath ago for us. Praying for you and yours as you walk through this and hate that there is this shared pain for so many of us…I wish so badly for a way we could connect when our world’s are stilled wrecked and mangled, and yet everyone else continues as though all is fine. So thankful for God’s bottomless ocean of grace & mercy in the pain.

  7. Oh, Laura, thank you for sharing so openly about what this is like for you. I am thinking of you all so often…

  8. Bev magee says:

    We are continuing to pray and keep you in our thoughts. It feels so devastating for me I cannot imagine for your family. I am just so sorry. Sending much love.

  9. estrada_h says:

    I just want to throw up for you. The feelings, the pain. I’m so sorry. So so sorry. I’m inspired by you. And I’m so glad I know your family. I have no words. I’ll keep praying for you and thinking about you.

  10. My heart breaks for you and your family. I know how difficultit is. I lost a son several years ago and life is never the same. But I do know one thing, God is always there with his arms around you. There is an organization that has helped me so much. It’s Compassionate Friends. It is for parents who have lost children. There is a website and local chapters that meet. It’s an awesome group. It does help with the pain and the lost. God bless you.

  11. Susan brewer says:

    Continuing to pray for your sweet family.

  12. You are not forgotten! Your family is still in my prayers.

  13. Frances Dunaway says:

    I have not forgotten, I think often of the pain your family is in, how difficult this must be for all of you. I wish it had not happened, I don’t want any of you or people who love you to be in so much grief. I have found in losing precious people, you somehow get through it but never over it. I beg God to give you comfort and peace.

  14. Thinking and praying for you and your family daily. I am a mom of three and lost my dad at 24. I remember thinking after the services that everyone else’s life goes back to normal and being so pissed off. I can’t imagine what you are feeling. It actually makes my stomach hurt to think of it. Know that you are thought of regularly as are your kiddos and hubs.

  15. Stephanie says:

    You are amazing! I’m amazed by your strength, honesty, faith, and transparency. Each day, I cover you and your family in prayer. Thank you for sharing the beautiful and horrible things.

  16. I so wish I wasn’t 6,000 miles away then I could come and hug you guys and pray with you and see your lovely, sweet faces, in person . What I can do though is pray with you for God to reveal Himself to you in your daily lives. And to comfort and keep you. I cannot even begin to imagine how losing Everett feels. And now I’m lost girl words.

  17. Sarah Francoeur says:

    Sending more love and prayers for all of you.❤️❤️❤️❤️

  18. Lisa Russell says:

    Be strong and keep pressing on. Praying for you all, I know it takes time. Xoxo

  19. Betsy Manning says:

    I continue to be drawn to your rawness, realness, vulnerability, unwaivering faith in your every word you pen. Yes time is too fast and moves daily to a beat that is not always my choice in direction. I miss far to many seize the moment opportunities, boldness in my faith, or just being quiet and still and allowing God to be God for and through me. YOU are teaching this ole girl much! Much about truth, hope and passion for God and your family. You are fighting the good fight in this journey. I will close by saying that I have a list of names that are lifted up to our Sovereign God daily. The Keller family is on that list. Some days I am more specific with God about needs for my list ( BIG HA!) but most days just know you will be called by name to the Only One that is our eternal hope and love. Prayers always!

  20. First and foremost I realize I am a stranger to you. You don’t know me, and oddly enough I know intimate parts of your life. I feel called to write to you. This may be the strangest thing I have ever done, but I believe God gave me these words to write and many times I have felt compelled to write to you over the last month.

    I am a nurse. I first saw a picture of your sweet Everett on Instagram as I sat on my couch in San Diego and randomly, there popped up your sweet boy in the yellow gown I knew so well from Vandy. I was a nurse at VCH for 5 years and went on a journey as a travel nurse over the last year. That yellow gown caught my eye and at that time I began reading your story, your words have power. I even felt compelled to share your sweet story with friends. In all reality Everett and your family slipped away like all social media does and I never thought twice or looked back. I moved back to Nashville in June and the next month my sister sent me one of your pictures and said my friend Amy (who works for Dr. Hermo) had posted on Facebook that Everett, a patient, was sick. Your family, your sweet boy flooded my memory and I immediately immersed myself in the details you so eloquently shared. I started making connections with people that knew you and I saw the power of such good people rally for you and your Everett.

    Fast forward….I have continued to read your blog. I have continued to see God shine through your words, your innate power as a mother and have felt your pain as you write your story. Today I read the one month blog. The sentence about everyone is moving on except us….has stuck with me. And it was that sentence that compelled me to write a message to a stranger–you.

    As I said I am a nurse. I believe God chose my career and gave me my heart for this work I do. My entire career I have worked in the emergency room. I am so passionate about my career and in the emergency room I made it a personal goal to positively impact my families in a very short period of time. What I want you to know is that over the past year, I have had a very tumultuous path and as I returned to Nashville, God very much pushed me away from the emergency room and has forced me into a very uncomfortable place. I am now working in the intensive care unit and I want you to know that every single shift I walk into the hospital and pray that I can be someone’s Denise—the nurse you spoke of in your blog. I think of Everett and I pray God will allow transparency and skill to care for these little soldiers. The way you cared for the medical staff at Mott’s was powerful. I want you to know that Everett lives on, every single day. I want to provide the same level of comfort those nurses/RT’s/doctors gave you. This may seem odd to you but it is the reality. We could all so easily walk into patient’s rooms, complete our tasks and walk out. I assure you that I strive to be Denise every shift…and regularly think about her running after the translator who returned and prayed over your son. My point is, you may feel distance daily from your peers as our world’s continue. But, God has placed Everett into the hearts of complete strangers and his legacy lives in us. He is present.

    I don’t have any advice or answers for you as to why this happened. Nor do I have some piece of medical advice that will help make your grief any easier. I just want you to know Everett is not forgotten and as a complete stranger I feel so confident when I say I am so thankful Everett experienced love in a way his little heart never felt prior to meeting his forever family. There is no greater joy than knowing Everett was granted the greatest gift in his life than the day he met the Kelley’s. You are a wonderful mother. You and your husband gave that little boy so much happiness, and I know that was God’s plan. He created you to be a mother, even as a stranger I see your calling.

    As I leave you with my words, I want to thank you for your transparency and honesty. You have forever impacted my life with the story of your sweet, sweet boy Everett.

    May you feel the Lord wrap his arms around you. He is here. He is with you. Everett impacted more lives than you could possibly ever know. Just this week I let a patient paint my nails….she painted them 10 different colors and immediately I thought of Everett’s fiesta donkey.

    God bless you.


  21. Kristin Dartnall says:

    Hello. I was searching for bible journaling classes and “happened” upon your page. (Nothing no nothing JUST happens).
    So, I know the Lord means for me to write this note as a fellow Mom with a string to heaven and a family created by adoption.
    I am on this grief path ahead of you. I pray right now that you will just get through today and that is enough right now. PS. I am a good listener.
    2 Corinthians 1:4

  22. Catherine says:

    No words. Just prayers and love for your family. Thank you for sharing your true heart with us. I have to believe that your open honesty will help many in the future. I believe God will bring others to your blog when they face a sudden, unexpected death of a child and your words will comfort and encourage them during a time of great need.

  23. As I sit in this still room before me, but so many thoughts in my mind. Prayers 🙁 🙂

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