5 years


College graduations


New jobs

New apartments

You’re missing it all. I love you I love you I love you. The years are distancing us but you will always be part of me. Every day. Every. Fucking. Day. 

You’ve become more abstract. I used to hear your voice, your laugh, more readily. I could feel your hug and I could smell you. But it’s fading.  I guess that’s yet another layer of the grief. 

Father God, thank You for carrying me every day. Thank You for all Your blessings. Thank You for loving my boy even more than I do. Please tell Drey how much I love him.

Grief, Pride, and Scraping

One definition of scrape: to push or pull a hard or sharp instrument across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter.

I feel that God is scraping away a thick layer of pride from my heart. I don’t like it and I am also grateful for it. I’ve sensed this now for several months. I don’t usually cooperate with Him when He’s teaching me humility. That’s when the painful scraping begins… when I’m fighting against Him. When I’m not trusting Him. He wants me to hold still and trust Him – if I submitted, the scraping wouldn’t be painful at all. Instead I’d begin to see glimmers of something lovely underneath. Something I’d know was clearly not of my own making. I’d even get excited and say, “take it all! Remove it! I want to be rid of this filthy layer of pride, autonomy, and judgement!”

Two of the best books I’ve ever read about humility are Andrew Murrays “Humility” and Thomas Jones/Michael Fontenot’s “The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility.”

Chapter 9 of the Prideful Souls Guide says God will bless my humble response to biblically based input from others even if the input I am given should turn out to not be the best. If he/she is missing the mark, that will become evident without me having to be defensive. I would be wise to listen, pray and seek to learn something about myself. 

I have found my grief and my loss are something I take pride in. Gross, right? There are many loving, wise, well-intended friends who try to journey with me but I dismiss them because “they just don’t get it.” What would it look like to respond to their loving attempts to journey with me in humility? It’s easy for me to be defensive and justify why it’s okay to dismiss certain people… they’re condescending, they think I’m weak. I’ll show them how capable I am! Often, usually, okay maybe even 99% of the time, their words are well-intended. Can I set aside my pride? Rather than dismissing them can I listen with gratitude? When needed, can I gently correct or clarify in love?

Eph 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This scripture is for people I snap at, right? They should be patient and humble if I’m hurtful. But this scripture doesn’t apply to me, right? I’ve been wronged in a big way – my boy is gone. So that means I have “the right” to not be patient and humble with others as they attempt to journey with me? Well shit. I don’t like this scraping of my pride.

Integrating suicide loss into my life

I was with a survivor at Panera this morning. It was the first time we had met. She greeted me by saying, “I don’t want to be here meeting you.” I remember that feeling and I ache for her.

I remember the day. I remember the last hug, the last text, the last laugh, the last meal, the last I love you. It’s all seared in my mind just below the surface. Sometimes it pops out sideways and a reaction I have to a situation is disproportionate to the circumstances. Other times I sit in it… I may listen to The Fray to make myself cry because it helps me stay healthy or maybe sometimes just to torture myself. Sometimes it’s not even clear to me why I make the choices I do.

Telling someone safe about the “lasts” or about the signs I had or about the day he died is still helpful – even after nearly 5 years. Sharing was a big part of my processing in the first few years. It’s a smaller part now but it’s still important. I’m blessed to have dear friends who want to listen.

I shared a precious video with a few folks a few weeks ago. I had one friend I shared it with at lunch. She knew Drey and texted me later that night because she had been re-watching it. “He was so alive.” “This isn’t how it was supposed to be.” I had a hard time making sense of her text messages because there were so many typo’s… it was clear she’d been crying. Praise God for my dear friend who’s journeying with me.

I need my friends – my old ones who knew my boy and my new ones who are suicide loss survivors too.


Only the minority will understand this… the importance of making myself cry.

Drey died 8.8.12. I cried and often wailed daily. I had a constant headache, couldn’t eat, couldn’t make decisions, and took pills to sleep only to wake up to the same nightmare all over again. Then in January – 5 months after he died – I went 2 days in a row without crying. This wasn’t a bad thing and it wasn’t a good thing. But it was something I took notice of.

As the months and now years have marched on I experience longer “dry spells.” But I learned sometime during year 4 that I can only handle so much internally. It’s not that I deliberately hold in the tears. It’s a passive decision if it’s even an actual decision at all.  It just kinda happens at a subconscious level.

I felt it coming on over the weekend… the leakage. I had once again become so saturated that I started to leak. I told my new friend who lost her brother to suicide 37 years ago and she immediately understood. I imagine it’s a heavy grief thing – certainly not limited to just survivors of a suicide loss.

This morning my husband unintentionally set my wringing out process into motion. After his innocent sharing then realization of the full content, I shrugged my shoulders and gave him the “it’s ok. It’s just our life now” smile. But I got to wail after he drove away. I couldn’t absorb anymore. I was saturated and it was time to un-saturate.

I’m exhausted now. I may pray myself to sleep. And when I wake up this time there will be room to absorb joy and peace ❤️

Thank You God for Your constant care, provisions and blessings.

Grieving Mom Request

All the time, I just miss baby.

… and then I began praying for him again

I have prayer cards. Just little index cards I started writing several years ago after reading the book A Praying Life by Paul Miller.
Before he died, I prayed for Drey often. One prayer card included Ecclesiastes 1:8 “… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” I had been praying literally that Drey would “come to the end of himself.” I believed he was seeking something – unconditional and perfect approval, acceptance and security – from imperfect relationships and material things. I was praying he’d instead realize following God was what would free him from feelings of inadequacy. He knew God… but that’s different from actively following Him.

I also had a card that included Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For a long time I fought with God to reconcile those prayers with Drey’s death. I would blame myself for praying Drey would come to the end of himself. Did I cause his death? I would plead, “But God you knew that wasn’t what I meant by that prayer right? Right?!” Then other times – or at the same time – I would lash out at God. “Really? Seriously? Are You fucking kidding me? This is Your idea of what it looks like to prosper him and not harm him?! Drey was better off under my care than he was with Yours!”

So my prayer cards for Drey were put away for a long time. Actually they’re still put away along with the memorial book from his funeral, his drivers license, his retainer and toothbrush and other special things I don’t look at anymore.

I’ve felt like I needed to pray for Drey in a different way for a long time. I needed to write a new prayer card for him but had no idea what that might look like. Well, I was finally able to do this last month while I was alone in Hocking Hills over the 4 year annv. And I smile every time I re-read it 😁

“Drey may you delight in Gods Word even now in His presence. Especially now in His presence. May you gloriously love Him with all your heart, mind and strength. May you dance, may you laugh, may you sing. Let your heart be light, carefree and full of worship and praise. Rejoice!”

Rev 5:13 “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them saying, ‘to Him who sits on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever.'”

Year 4 is coming to a close

Well… it’s August again.

I didn’t start dreading it until July 27th. That’s pretty good.

I seem to be functioning “okay” today… but it’s only August 1st so I won’t get my hopes up that the next few weeks will be easy.

I don’t have much scheduled this week and I leave town Sunday – no contact with anyone again till Wednesday. I dread it and I look forward to it. Maybe I’m finally learning to walk in these big clumsy grief shoes? I don’t fall so often now. And I know a little better about when to get down on my hands and knees and crawl instead of attempting to walk every day.

I do still hate when I mess up things that used to be so simple. Being organized was like breathing before 8.8.12 but even now – 4 years later – I still get so confused over the simplest of things. But what’s cool about this grief brain is that as I’m typing and looking outside I see our grass needs mowed and the entire yard needs weeded; but the word “needs” is no longer accurate because the yard just isn’t important. I think my husband likes that grief brain also means laid back brain when it comes to many things.

I used to ask God, “Is this as healed as I’ll get?” I don’t ask that question so much anymore. The realization that I’d always carry this pain sunk in sometime during year 2. And I discovered joy more frequently during year 3. And during year 4 I stopped searching aimlessly for permission to laugh and just began to laugh. And most recently I’ve slowly been learning to let tears flow whenever they need to without apologizing to anyone.

It is possible to miss my baby terribly, to sit with another survivor and cry with her, to laugh hysterically at Angie Tribeca, to read a volunteer report about a scene LOSS attended, to pray for those left behind and to smile at the thought of seeing my baby again in heaven all in the same day. How bout that?

Angie Tribeca Trailer – Flippin Hilarious show 🙂


23 years ago

23 years ago I was walking in my neighborhood. 

23 years ago I was digging at the poison ivy on my leg. 

23 years ago we were making phone calls. 

23 years ago I was taking one last look at the room you’d soon call your own. 

23 years ago I was packing up a bag. 

23 years ago I was deciding which onesie you’d wear home.

23 years ago I was clueless. 

Would I do it all again? Yes. Again and again and again. Being your mom is a blessing, a joy, a privilege.

I miss you baby. I miss you so very much. ❤️

Christmas #4

An entry that never got posted…

This is my 4th Christmas without Drey. That is so hard to believe. Time has gone by very quickly.

Last year after Christmas, Robbie announced that “next year we will have a tree and decorate.” I thought I might send cards too. Well, we made progress this year… We still didn’t go downstairs to get the tree, ornaments and decorations because all those memories are just sitting there waiting to jab at my heart. It’s still just too much. But we did buy a little pre-lit table top tree and have had it out since Thanksgiving. We even have one ornament on it. The rest of the ornaments are laying on the table around the tree. They didn’t quite make it onto the tree. The ornaments are from the past 3 years. A few were gifts, some have been handmade by us in remembrance of my baby, and the rest are from vacations. We are making new memories.  Happy memories.

I also thought I might send cards this year. Well… I sent business-related cards but not personal ones. Progress.

For the most part it just takes too much emotional energy to fully engage in the holidays the way we used to. It’s still too much to even think about Christmas’s past. David has grown up in a home where we celebrated each year with Christmas decorations in every room – even the bathroom. Where we celebrated Easter and I hid eggs even as the kids were older. Where we went to Disney every year. And on and on. Then Drey died and it all stopped. I couldn’t engage in any of it. Hell, I didn’t even see David that first Christmas after Drey died because I packed up and stayed at my parents. I won’t be winning any stepparent of the year awards anytime soon. I did the best I could, truly. And I spent enough time beating myself up for letting everyone down. No point in rehashing that misery.

I am blessed beyond words to have Robbie, David, my parents and my dear friends who have stood by me. I was reminded of that this morning as I had coffee with another bereaved Mom and she shared some of her family dynamics after her son’s death. Grief is unique, intimate and exhausting. I used to think “loss is loss” and “pain is pain” – it’s all the same. Wrong. Never have I experienced such excruciating sorrow as losing my baby to suicide.

A poem written 1 month before Drey died

July 8, 2012

I’m not the person I thought I was.

I’m so fragile.

I’m not the person I thought I was.

I’m so unsure.

Please affirm me.

I don’t speed any more.

I’m unsure where to get my motivation.

I’m supposed to slow down and be relational I suppose.

I have slowed down.  But I don’t know what to do now.

Please direct my path, Oh Lord.

Note written in 2013: It’s hard to believe that was how I was feeling a year ago.  Moving to a new neighborhood, leaving my job, my son’s graduation and entrance into adulthood… so many changes I was struggling to adjust to.  Then the bottom fell out just a short month later.  And still God was there.  Loving me, holding me, carrying me.

“I love you”

I heard those words this weekend from one of drey’s closest friends… “I love you.” It meant more than words can express. 

This morning I went through the last 30ish days of text messages between Drey and I. I saw “I love you’s” exchanged a few times. And those were the last words he communicated to me. It’s torture thinking of him in those last moments. Pure torture.  Sobs of protest come out of my innermost being just as if it were 8.8.12 all over again. There’s no fixing this. There’s no getting used to this even after almost 4 years. Scream it out in His arms.

I was relieved to see our text exchanges… the frequency. We went 4 days one time in July without texting but that was they exception. I was relieved to read what I said too. I was a doting mom even in texting. He initiated meeting me for lunch the week before he died. It was hard that he wasn’t living with us anymore. Robbie told me after drey’s grad party that, “you’re acting like you just came from his funeral rather than his graduation party.” I couldn’t adjust to not seeing him every day. I moped daily for the 8 months we weren’t “home base” for him. Then it was over. 

I love you. I miss you.