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Aug 27, 2010

I Remember

On vacation at Rock City in TN

In the first days after we kissed Andrew's cheek for the last time and I cut that bit of hair from his head before they closed the lid on him, I remember the pain I was in.

While making funeral plans, I kept telling myself - almost robotically, "It's just a jar of clay. It's just a jar of clay. When we put his body in that grave, it's just a jar of clay."

That mantra was soon replaced with, "He's not really there. He's in Heaven. He's in Heaven and he's perfectly fine. He's perfectly fine. Jesus, kiss Andrew for me and tell him his mother loves him and I'll see him soon. Please tell him for me."

I had terrible flashbacks of him being on life support and not being able to communicate with him. I would sit on my couch in my robe for hours and everywhere I looked, I "saw" him. I had waited on him...helping him walk through the house, helping him even in the bathroom. Once when he was on his own in the bathroom, I heard him fall. I screamed and ran to the door. It was locked. I got the key to unlock it but I couldn't open the door because he lay on his back with his head against the bottom of the door. How could I help him? How? Somehow he managed to slide himself down and away from the door. Somehow he managed without the aid of his left arm and with very little help from his left leg. I helped him up and then I began helping him each time in the bathroom.
He had to give up his privacy. I reminded him that I had helped all the time when he was little and that I would not "look" at him when I was helping him.
And he said, "It's ok, Mom. I don't care anymore."
And I felt bad for my twelve year old son, not a little boy any longer and not yet a man, but having to "grow up" in the worst possible way.
He had to accept the loss of so many things. And in such a short time. Barely 4 months from diagnosis to death.
Once I caught him staring at his face in the bathroom mirror.
He said, "I look funny. The left side of my face doesn't match the right side."
I said, "You look good to me. You'll get everything back. It may take some time but you'll recover."
Andrew enjoying his PASSION!

In those first few days, I would suddenly struggle to breathe. I had panic attacks and in the middle of them I would pace through the house and talk to myself aloud. I felt like pulling my hair out. All I could pray was, "Help me, God. Help me, God. PLEASE HELP ME."

There were times I would have to lie on my bed because I felt so physically overwhelmed. I remember actually feeling as though I were in some kind of reverse labor. It was as if I wanted to take my son and have him return to me...to the safety of my womb. I literally writhed on my bed as though I were having contractions.

I still sleep with Andrew's robe every night. If I awake and it's not near me, I just reach out my hand and it's there. I pull it closer and say, "Stay in my heart, Andrew. Just stay in my heart." 

Some of you said you would like to hear how I made it moment by moment even when I didn't FEEL that God was near.
There were many moments when I didn't FEEL God near. He seemed hidden, silent. He seemed as though He were just observing the situation. Observing me. What would I do? Would I still love Him? Would I trust Him ever again?

So, when my heart didn't feel HIM, something deeper than the emotion of feeling held me together.
Not a feeling. Just a knowing.
A knowing that even when I didn't get what I hoped for...Jesus must be enough.
A knowing that even when my theology seemed to have abandoned me...Jesus must be enough.
A knowing that even when life was cruel and God could have healed Andrew...Jesus must be enough.

Something deep within me would not give up on the sacrificial love of God.
After all, God LOVED so He gave.
Jesus LOVED, so He layed down His life.
For Andrew.
For me.
For you.

And somehow, in a way that my mind still cannot even comprehend, Jesus was enough for me.
And Jesus is enough for me.

The I Am IS. Enough.

Andrew called me outside one day to see his "grafitti" version of Jesus. See the crown?


  1. Oh my Melanie, I love your transparency. In the midst of probably the worst time in your life you still knew that ... Jesus must be enough. When your emotions felt otherwise, you relied on that knowing deep within you. That's all the Lord can ask of us in those moments, I believe.

    May He provide the comfort that only He can provide to you today.

    Blessings and love,

  2. You are a great example of your life not belonging to you...you share the intimate agony of your loss in a way that brings glory.
    There are no words to validate that pain... just Jesus.

  3. It's so painful to read...No one knows what ya'll went through on a daily basis(except the Lord) and obviously He gave you grace to go through the pain...I am glad there is no sorrow in Heaven and we'll all be with Andrew at that point.

  4. Amen sis amen. You have truly shined Jesus through all of this, and precious Andrew glowed brightly through everything he endured. I love you sis.

  5. you've moved my heart in a way I cannot put into words.

  6. It was like reading my life.

    All I can say is...."Quite my heart" For it is beating so hard right now.
    Jesus is enough! Without him...Where would we be Melanie!
    What a agonizing but beautiful post!

  7. I don't know your pain Melanie....but I do know my pain....and you put it perfectly.
    I also chuckled at Andrew when he said he didn't care about you seeing him....I know that.
    When he said he didn't look like himself...I know that....
    Praise the Lord Andrew is perfectly healed now and even better, you will see him again and me too!!

  8. Such moving words you've written, Melanie.
    Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him.
    How I've proved Him o're and o're.
    Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
    Oh, for grace to trust Him more.
    I love Him.
    Love you too!

  9. Melanie:

    I think your talk with the ladies was just written. Thank you!



  10. My hearts aches for you and the saddnes that you must feel as you live with the pain of such deep loss. Sometimes it is just knowing and not feeling, just as you have said. Thank you for your transperancy, thank you for being real in a really difficult situation. God will get the glory! And Andrew will never be forgotten.

  11. Oh Melanie ~

    I am not able to see the keys through my tears. Your heart, your words, the pain you all have endured is just so much but then....Jesus has covered you with HIS LOVE, HIS Gift of Salvation, HIS Comfort ~ HE truly is Enough.

    THANK YOU for always sharing with us that very thing....You shine for HIM in all you do my friend!

    I am praying for you as I know this will be a hard time for all of you.
    I read your post below as what we would want to hear:

    HOPE Melanie. No matter what people are going through ~ your message of Hope is one that will INSPIRE all who hear your story.
    ENDURANCE and PERSEVERANCE ~ despite your pain, despite the fact that Andrew is no longer in your arms but in Heaven you walked daily with the Lord and NEVER let go no.matter.what! and you continue to lean on, walk with, and learn from the Lord one day at a time.

    I love you friend. Praying for you and KNOW the Lord will lead you as you continue to seek HIM for this

  12. I believe this is what I would want to hear you say. I AM is. Enough.

    Melanie my sweet friend how can words convey all the emotion this post conveys? Seems like a different lifetime ago--last year. I love you.

  13. I'm not sure how I came across your blog. But, I relate so much to it; especially this post. I have a son (14 yrs old now) who I have cared for his entire life. He was born with a neuromuscular disease called, SMA and has never walked or stood. He has limited use of his hands as well and is completely helpless without someone caring for him. When you wrote about helping your son in the bathroom, it just reminded me of how I also help my son. He has been on death's door step more times than I can count. But, he is a blessing in all of our lives. God Bless you as you move along this journey of grief. And may the Lord bring great comfort to you in that your son is now healthy and whole and you WILL see him again one day!

  14. I just forwarded this post to Tyree....wow is all I can say...you said so much in this post

  15. Melanie, I read your posts with care because I've been there. 35 years ago I lost my brother (I've probably already told you this) when he was 9 years old. My parents' only son. I now speak about a lot of what you wrote about here---that Jesus is enough; that God loved us enough to do what is humanly impossible to do--give up his son for us. Thank you for sharing your road. I know it's hard.

  16. You share your heart so freely, thank you. No matter what we face, somehow in the midst, Jesus reveals Himself as enough. As I type I am sitting in a hospital room awaiting the early birth of our granddaughter praying and believing that Jesus is enough!

  17. Through tears, I say, "Amen."

  18. Melanie...I am left without words.Doesn't often happen, but your posts have done it often. you have changed the way I look at things and made me contemplate a lot. Things that my life and family needed. I should rephrase...Andrew and you have changed me. I thank you both and send love to you both.

  19. I've followed you throughout Andrew's illness and prayed for him and your family so much. I hurt for you and your family though I know it can't even compare 1% to what your pain is. Your telling me how you made it through that horrific loss says so much - how you held on when you couldn't feel God - my losses are nothing like yours but I will try to remember your words when I doubt/can't feel and NEED to feel God. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Oh sweetie this is perfect, I remember once when I was asked how I could believe in God still after my son God....I said, I don't have to believe....."I Know" him and he knows me, he is taking care of my son ...... I just know it. And this is true.....hard to explain but I just know God walks beside me as he takes care of Scotty. It is just the way it is......love you....:-)Hugs

  21. This is your message to share at the ladies meeting.You.Andrew.JESUS IS ENOUGH.When the world is crashing down all around..Jesus is enough.

    Thank you for sharing your precious Andrew with us.I think of him smiling, running, and so full of LIFE.ETERNAL LIFE.
    My prayers are with you.Always.
    my love to you,

  22. Checking in on you and remembering with you... glad to hear that you have come to the place where Jesus IS enough.

    Love the grafiti picture that Andrew drew! I hope it brings joy to your heart as it did mine! The purple crown tops it all!

    [[hugs]] Stephanie

  23. Hi Melanie, Thanks for asking but no baby yet! I just left a short update on my blog at http://www.consideringitalljoy.com
    We have been here 63 hours now with very little progress - God does have a plan and purpose though - He Is!!!

  24. Melanie, I come here and read often. Sometimes I go back and read some of your posts again. I lost my son 3 years ago and I am still struggling. My faith has been tested and I fear I am losing the battle. I ask God "why", a million times. My whole life has been very difficult and it was like this was the last straw. I can't seem to come up for air anymore and it is getting worse. How do you cope? You seem so strong and I feel so week. I want to love God but I feel like he has turned his back on me and I am not worthy. Even though I continue to go to church it just feels like an automatic motion. Everday I want to hug my son's neck and tell him I love him. I understand the hair you snipped from your son, unfortunately my son burned up in his car and we never saw him again. I have often wondered what would be worse, to lose them quickly,as I did or to have to watch helplessly and not know what to do, as you did. I think you are amazing and I wish I has your strength and faith. Please pray for me as I desperately want God in my life. Sometimes it feels like the pain takes my breath away and smothers everything.
    Mickey p.s. this is my husband's google account and I don't know how to change the name (computer illiterate)

  25. Your post said it all Melanie. I love Andrew resting on the rock and knowing you are too. Jesus is Faithful and True. Praying for you this day. love you, B

  26. Melanie,

    I was thinking of you this weekend and wanted to pop over and let you know. Also thank you for sharing your message with us. Know that it touches all of us - those that can relate to what you are going through and those that cannot. Your message goes beyond and speaks to us where we are at. Thank you for reminding us all that indeed Jesus is enough! May God continue to fill you with His strength, peace and comfort.

  27. Shouldn't have read this before work this morning. Gotta go see if my mascara is running down my cheek now.
    Seriously - thank you for sharing your heart and your experience. I also read through your letter to Mickey above. May God speak through you to the hearts of other mothers!
    ~ Karen