Random Grief Thoughts

*Everyone started school on Monday even our littlest.  I had originally been excited about the start of school.  I thought it would be good for everyone especially the routine and friendships and solo time, but randomly on Saturday I had an hour by myself in our house for the first time since Everett died and it was the worst.  I just cried and cried while everyone was gone and I immediately decided I wanted no one to go back to school or I needed to get a job outside our house. 🙂

We’re three days in and it has been a massive adjustment for everybody.  Harper started middle school.  Hudson and Solomon started 3rd grade in separate classes this year.  Amon started kindergarten and our littlest headed off to MDO again.  Lots of our kids are still struggling with sadness and sleeping so not only are we emotionally exhausted, but we are physically exhausted as well.  I keep telling myself this is just a season…just weather through it, weather through it.  The kids miss their little brother something awful and everyone is feeling the weight of grief.

Hands down the worst part of the first day of school was dropping our littlest off at mother’s day out and walking out alone.  Prior to summer I would drop Amon and her off and I would always have my arms full of Everett.  He and I would take the day for just us and I so badly miss that.  I broke into tears before I even reached my car.

*Last night I finally threw away Shuai’s medicines that sat on our counter top in the kitchen.  We gave him his medicines 3 times a day for almost 5 months and when we got home I just couldn’t toss it yet.  Last night I decided it was time and it felt really sad to me.  Those medicines helped his heart do what it needed to do.  Those medicines we’re a very important lifeline.  It was yet another sign of the finality of this mess.

*I’ve been sleeping with his blanket.  Calling all crazies, I’ll be your leader.  I love having it close and I really don’t have any other explanations, but I am the grown woman sleeping with a toddler’s blankie right now.

( ^Channeling my inner Nick Nolte mug shot.  Google it and thank me later. )

*The sky is teaching me again and again that God remains the same.  He is the same God who creates reminders in the sky just the same as before Everett died.

*I had to email Harper’s teachers at school about Everett.  Everyone at our elementary already knew, but not at Harper’s new middle school.  I also had to email her soccer coach and ask if we could get a refund.  She’s just not feeling it and really, who could blame her?!?!?!  If I didn’t have 5 other kiddos depending on me, I wouldn’t get out of bed much.

*Josh Kelley and myself talk a lot about how we see how people lose their religion from these kinds of moments.  We also talk about how the only way out of this mess we can see is Jesus.  When I think of others going through losing a child without Jesus it makes me deeply sad because I know how all over the place we feel and I simply cannot fathom their desolate feelings.  I feel the craziest back-and-forth of mind set…hopeless to hopeful again and again and again.  All day long.

*I went to my first workout last Thursday since we left for Michigan and thought I was going to throw up.  I went again on Monday and fought tears the entire time and didn’t even finish the workout for the day.  I gave myself a 45 minute time limit…once I hit 45 minutes I went home.  This morning I slept in and went after I dropped our littlest off at school.  I never do that.  I always go to the 5am class and usually push myself really hard, but I’m learning to lean into some grace and give myself a break on things like this right now.

*Rachel, a new friend who works at Target, told me she was praying for our family while I was doing self checkout and I wanted to just sob into her arms.  I also cried to our littlest’s MDO teacher, sobbed into Mrs. Elkins’ chest who was working the carrider line and got choked up when our friend Mr. Tony who delivers eggs told me how sorry he was.  I simply cry pretty much all the time to every person ever!!!!  No one is safe from my “dead weight of tears”…fondly coined description by Aimee to describe Ashley, but I’m taking it on for myself.  It just feels right. 🙂

*We’re going to try and go to church tonight for the first time since returning from Michigan.  I’m also going to clean my office and try and create something…no idea what, but just something.  And I’m contemplating about 5 different new tattoos for Everett.  When life hands out trauma, I get tattoos.  Totally normal right?!?!?!?

 *I can see that we love being around our people right now.  When we have a house full of those we hold dear for food and games things feel more normal.  When they leave the normal leaves too because then it’s just our little family again and the void Everett has left is glaring.  It’s this fine balance of pushing through the hard, but also throwing in the nights when our house is brimming with people which feels like a balm to our burned out grief stricken selves.

*God is still good.  I’ve had long talks with myself about how and why God is still good and I can come up with an insanely long list about why He is just that.  Plus, if I believed God was good before Everett died while there was world wide slavery, child headed households, the orphan crisis, people dying of preventable diseases and lack of clean water, rampart racism, Aleppo and mamas and daddies struggling to feed their babies then I must must must believe He is still good now.  Losing Everett put God’s goodness on the line…what will you believe now Laura…it got really really personal…and I know He’s still good.

We are deeply defeated feeling right now, but there are others struggling far worse.  We got to sit by Everett’s side and be with him while he fought so hard and bravely.  Love on him and stroke his sweet thick black hair.  There are parents around the world who do not have health insurance or the money to pay for life saving surgeries their children need.  They are faced with the decision of taking their child home to watch them die or give them up…surrender their rights as their child’s parents…and the government will see to their child’s surgery, but they will never see their child again.  I CANNOT fathom that.  CANNOT.  So while we are hurting, we know others are hurting too.  And some of that brokenness is far beyond our comprehension.  I am choosing to know deeply that God is still good and to continue to look for ways to rally around others in their own hard times.

 *And lastly if you have not had a chance to give in honor of Everett to Morning Star’s Love Project and would like to…there’s still time.  Just call or go by a local Pinnacle bank and give under Josh & Laura Kelley or you can donate directly online HERE.  They have some amazing prints available for your donation as well or at the bottom right hand side of the site you can make a donation of any amount.


  1. Laura, I am so sorry for the pain you and your family are feeling. I think and pray for you all so very often!!!

  2. Praying…

  3. Continuing to pray for everyone around the world who is grieving little Everette!

  4. Oh Laura! I’m still thinking of you and your fam daily and sending you so much love <3

    Gotta admit, you cracked me up with, "Calling all crazies, I’ll be your leader." You still have some humor in there – hold onto it 🙂

  5. will continue to pray for you. thank you for believing God is still good in the midst of this. i know others who cannot fathom His goodness because of circumstances that happened in their lives. bless you. you are an encouragement to many.

  6. ESTRADA_H says:

    This has me crying and laughing and crying again. I am so pissed off that anyone ever has to go through losing a child/sibling. I can. not. even fathom the anguish and physical sadness. Can I also say, I’m so inspired by how God is showing himself to you and am SO THANKFUL that you’re sharing with us. It would be 110% understandable if you hid in a closet and didn’t talk to anyone, because seriously. But, you’re walking through it with your people. (Yes, I consider myself your people even though I’ve never met you.. and yes, I know how creepy that is..) So anyway, thank you. Oh, and the “Channeling my inner Nick Nolte mug shot.” – I choked on my horchata frappuccino. So. Funny.

  7. So very touched by these words! It is just a testimony of God’s goodness that you can think these thoughts!
    “God is still good. I’ve had long talks with myself about how and why God is still good and I can come up with an insanely long list about why He is just that. Plus, if I believed God was good before Everett died while there was world wide slavery, child headed households, the orphan crisis, people dying of preventable diseases and lack of clean water, rampart racism, Aleppo and mamas and daddies struggling to feed their babies then I must must must believe He is still good now. Losing Everett put God’s goodness on the line…what will you believe now Laura…it got really really personal…and I know He’s still good.”

  8. No one thinks you are crazy for sleeping with Everett’s blanket. I’m going to guess that when each one of us reads that paragraph, we think, “I’d do that also.” Hang on to whatever you need to hang on to. Your whole family is still in my prayers.

  9. Googled it. Bahaha!!! I love your heart, your faith, and your Jesus.

  10. Laura,
    You are in my thoughts daily. Our family is praying for you and your loved ones as you learn to walk through this grief. I have been there…not the loss of a child, but another family member. I’m so sorry. God is still good, and your faithful reminders of that fact are what we all need to proclaim daily. He is holding your sweet Everett, and He holding you…

  11. Yes. All of this. One of these days I’m just gonna get in my car and drive so we can hug. I’m so weird creeper like that. . I hate the holes in your pictures of that makes sense. He was and is amazing. I just stared at his sweet hair and badass scar, what a brave strong warrior. ♥️ Praying for your heart and all your relationships.

  12. Tina Davis says:

    I don’t know if it is just me but since Everett died I just don’t comment. I don’t like. I don’t let you know we are praying. But we are. We continue to pray for your family but we are grieving with you – not nearly the same – but it just seems difficult to even respond to your posts. So today I an intentionally pushing passed the sadness that I feel as I read and wanting you to know that we will keep praying. As the Holy Spirit brings you to my thoughts I will keep lifting your family to the throne of grace. We too will keep knowing that God is good even when things don’t go the way we begged God for them to go. Your writing may feel like it is helping you – but know that it is helping others too. You are an example of faithfulness that I cherish!

  13. There was a time in my life that I had to listen to You Are Good by Nicole Nordeman on repeat. Still many thoughts and prayers for your sweet family.

  14. Praying for you sweet girl.

  15. Earlier this year I lost my baby sister (OK, she was 40 so not a ‘baby’ per say, but…) she was kidnapped and murdered. The shock of it is still fresh and so much of your lament is a mirror of my heart feelings. I have yelled at God…we have yelled together….we have cried together. I have never felt so close to my big daddy in heaven, yet also felt so puzzled by Him allowing my sisters life story to end in such a horrific way. I have so many other thoughts, I could ramble on …but two littles that want a tea-party (We are also a foster/foster to adopt family) and they are calling for me….I guess in my very clumsy way…I wanted you to know in your grief, you have validated my grief….weird and with all of my heart, I wish NOT something that was….I thank you for living your life out-loud and I send hugs from one mom to another.

  16. Your grief is understandable. Unfortunately, no one can really help. All we can do is pray. No one else can walk this path for you and your sweet family. Again all we can do is pray. I was in a store the other day and there were pinatas. I cried. I didn’t even know your sweet boy, but I will probably never see a pinata again without thinking of Everett. If I feel this way, how must you feel? Every little thing reminds you of him. This is normal and hard and wrong, but real. Too real. Time will heal, but sometimes things will reopen that scab on your heart. My daddy died when I was 16. It was very sudden. No warning. I am 57 now, and I still cry. Not always, but some days. I still miss him earnestly. I have married, had children, and grandchildren. I am having a wonderful, full, happy life, but I still miss him. You push on. Just putting one foot in front of another, pushing through all the pain of missing this precious life, praising God for allowing you to have Everett for the short time you did. Just pushing on. You are doing a great job, already, even on days you are not feeling it. You are getting up and you are pushing on. People are praying and those prayers will carry you through when you feel you can’t go on. You are loved. Keep going. You can do it! (With God’s help).

  17. I have come to recognize that grief doesn’t make any sense at all. You can feel “normal” one second and completely blindsided the next. I never feel like anyone has to justify what they’re feeling at any given moment. If you don’t like what I’m feeling or how I’m grieving, then you don’t need to be in my life! I don’t think there is anything wrong with you sleeping with Everett’s blanket, it’s part of him. I admire your strength and courage, your commitment to God and family, and I say keep putting one foot in front of the other. Someday it will get easier. In the mean time feel what you need to feel, do what you need to do and do it at a pace that feels right for you. No explanations needed. ❤️

  18. Ashley parnell says:

    I wish I could wrap my arms around you and give you the biggest hug. You are constantly in my prayers and I just wonder daily how you and your sweet family are doing. I am hear if you ever want an outsider to talk too or cry with. I am all ears and full of love and prayers to give. You helped me get through my grief when we lost of sweet baby and I want to be here for you and josh too.

  19. It was really good to see you at church tonight. You are a beautiful and brave woman. I’m sorry I didn’t speak. I’m too intimidated to speak and have no words anyways. I just want you to know that for everyone who is making comments you can hear and read there are hundreds more thinking about you and praying for you. I’ve prayed for all of your other children by name countless times since you left for Michigan and will continue to do so. You are loved and are an inspiration. God is ministering through you in a very real way.

  20. Andrea young says:

    1. I googled it but you are prettier than Nick even on a bad day.
    2. I am praying for you and just wish we lived closer…because I feel like I’m your people through all the praying and reading every update in the edge of my seat.
    3. I still totally think when you need to get away you need to come to the farm…have a glass of wine and watch me karaoke…and I didn’t realize we have middle school girls the same age…two 8 year olds one biological and one from Ethiopia…and a hot mess in kindergarten. So basically they would all play and have so much fun too. M-Kay?
    4. I love you sister and I’m praying and I’m thankful for you.

  21. Please let me know if I can ever be helpful in any way. Praying continually…

  22. LAura Swanson says:

    Sending hugs, prayers & lots if love.

  23. Totally understand you sleeping with Everrett’s blanket, it kept him safe and secure and now it brings you comfort. I am sure that no one minds you crying all over them, far better than holdin in. Trust in Jesus, he will look after you while you can’t do it for yourself. Continued prayers for all of the family x

  24. If I could hug you I would and we could cry together. So imagine my arms around you and know you are loved.

  25. I listened to a sermon yesterday that talked about how when we face difficulties in our life we tend to only see what we’ve lost through that experience. The pastor reminded us that we also can’t forget what was gained through that experience as well. The world gained so much from little Everett. People’s lives were changed for the better and Jesus’ love poured out from his beautiful soul. People saw Jesus more because of Him. What a beautiful gift.

  26. Barb bauer says:

    I wanted to share with you two books that helped me when our son Gage died. They are “Through the Eyes of a Lion” by Levi Lusko. He lost his five year old daughter to an asthma attack. The other one is “A Grace Disguised” by Jerry Sittser. Jerry lost his mother, wife and daughter in a terrible car accident. Both books are written from the heart and provide great insight into the grieving process. Levi is a pastor and Jerry is a professor at a Christian college.

  27. Carolyn Phillips says:

    Grateful you have his blanket. There is no right or wrong in grief….only what is.

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