Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When it rains it pours


So many times I wonder how much more we can take. Not we the Herman's but "we" as people I know or sort of know or pass on the street or ride next to on the max. Bad things are continually happening to people. And it's hard to see or care other people's struggles as we look so closely at our own.

But not for me.

I feel and worry and obsess about the pain of other people. I mean I really FEEL other people's pain. I wonder how I can manage to complain about my own difficulties in my wonderful life while others are suffering losses and pain that I pray I will never know.

As you know - the blog world has led me to Heather, and Sally, and Anissa, and Jennifer. I've also found a new friend in Margaret. There is something about reading about the raw emotion and pain each of these people are going through that almost brings me to my knees with sorrow, but also with gratefulness. A busy working mom shouldn't have time to think about these things, especially when I have so many friends in real life who rely on me. But I do. And I don't know how to change that about myself, and I guess I don't really want to either. Of course I read funny blogs too, like Lindsey and Kristin and Mommy Spills. Not every day. Not every week. But I find a connection with moms with lives outside of my own. There is a connection of strangers who relate to each other and who are open to share their lives...

One of my new blog friends lost her newborn son last year - and she is raising her two daughters - and working through a marriage - all while figuring out a life of constant grief. I could see a change in her voice as she started to be open to the possibly of joy for this holiday season, after suffering swine flu while mourning the one year anniversary of her son's passing. She made a decision that she was ready to stop feeling so bad and find a way to feel better. At least some days. And then her husband lost his job. And not just her husband. Her father and brother in law and their good friend. All lost their jobs as of Dec 15, a large part of their support circle. I'm crushed for her. Not because I know how hard it is when a husband loses a job emotionally and not because they have to worry about keeping a roof over their head instead of what gifts to spoil their girls with. But because WHY HER? WHY NOW? She was JUST getting back on the road to positive mental thinking. And I'm worried about her spirit being crushed. I'd like to think that this is nothing compared to what she has already endured but at the same time, I wonder if she just wants to curl up in a ball and give up. I don't know her, but I don't think she'll do that. After all, she's got two beautiful girls to get up for each morning. She's got a son in heaven who needs her to put one foot in front of the other each day. I just wish, with my whole heart that she didn't have to worry about her husband's (and FIL and BIL's) job right now. She writes her story because "every life leaves something beautiful behind", and she does a really good job of honoring her baby boy while working through how to outlive your child.

And I think, we only had to worry about one lost job and an unemployment hearing, and it was only 2.5 months, and we are SO so so lucky. We made it through this "disaster" and it while it was inconvenient and stressful, it was also just that. It did not happen while I was trying to keep my heart in my chest. We kept our spirits up and it was the only thing on our plate that was a loss.

I think about how Nancy endured Ryan's injury in Iraq, just 4 years ago. How she held on tight to hope, never gave up, wrote his story beautifully, and now has an amazing life she could have never imagined. How her friend Dena's nightmare started a year ago, losing her husband Rob to the war, an incredible man, and how she is doing her best, making the best of it - because that's what you do when you have 2 little girls depending on you. Her faith is inspiring to me.

These women, wives, mothers, daughters, have captured my heart. I have never met them, but I care about them. I'm not sure what purpose it plays in my life. I'm not sure how I am put here to help or encourage any of them. But I am sure that I'm not wasting my time or my heart, caring about them and praying for them.

I've told you how my good friend Robin lost her brother almost two years ago. And how I've mourned with this beautiful family as they struggled. Now Bronson is being honored in the Rose parade this year, the two year anniversary of his death, because his lost life gave life to 6 strangers. ~I also have to mention my friend Kim, whose baby Julia is the light of their life. Their plans were changed forever when they found out at 20 weeks about her heart condition, plus many other complications. But here she is 6 months old, and they got to see a smile. Kim's positive attitude and faith also amazes and encourages me. Last year at this time, Kim and I sat at a baby shower brunch as she told me her biggest worry about life with 3 kids was how she could continue her morning run with all three of them. How life has changed, and what a blessing Julia is, as she is, as long as they get to keep her.

God gave me a very big heart. And He gave me a very blessed life. And He blessed their lives too, even in their tragedies, He gave them a story to tell, a legacy to carry on, a too-short-life's memory to honor. So each day they wake up and they carry on, one foot in front of the other, until they remember their blessings and they get a little skip back in their step.

For whatever reason, every step of their journey is beautiful to me, and I am blessed through their struggles. I wish that these were not the circumstances for them, but they are, and through the world of blogging, they are touching lives. Ones who can relate so closely and so dearly, and ones who can't. People like me who are more grateful every day, thanks to them.

What is blessed? It's the ability to count your blessing. It's being able to look at the good in your life even during the hard times. It's remembering the goodness that surrounds each of us.

Thank you ladies for being amazing and beautiful and inspiring. My life is forever changed because of the things you have endured. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.


  1. Jenny thank you so much for this post. It's remarkable to me sometimes the different hands we are dealt in life. I have wondered "why me?" many times since Calvin died. I guess what I've realized over time is that we all have our own tragedies in life, we all have our "losses" to deal with. I'm not unique in losing a child although at times I've felt very much alone in my grief journey. There have been many, many times where I have wanted to curl up in a ball and give up but I can't. I made a decision to bring my two beautiful girls into the world and with that decision came the responsibility to parent them as best as I can every single day of my life. Some days I do better than others. Some days I forget what a gift they are. Some days I am so tired of slogging through disappointment and unhappiness that I wonder if life will truly ever feel "good" again. I believe it will. I don't think there is any way that it won't get better. My hope is to be able to survive my son's death and come out of it wiser, stronger, kinder and more appreciative of what I do have. Thanks so much for finding my blog...I've enjoyed getting to know you through yours. Hugs

  2. The world is a small place... I have been reading Dena's blog for a long time since they are somehow friends with my hostfamily.
    I think it is a wonderful thing to care about people you don't even know. I love reading your blog! Thanks so much,


  3. It truly is such a big, small world. Glad to be on your list of stranger friends, and right back at ya (all the gooshy stuff) haha.. ;)

  4. Jenny, this is a fantastic post! We truly could be sisters! you have put into words the feelings I have been feelings since stumbling upon Heather's, Matt's, MckMama's blog...and so many others. They have all touched me and I am better because of it. I wish their paths were not what they are, but am grateful for what they have taught me.

    Best, Jenn