What does grief look like at 17 months?

March 5, 2009 at 12:22 am 99 comments

Since September I’ve been wading through some really difficult, ugly, deeply painful aspects of the grieving process.

Mostly I’ve just felt dry, uninspired, inert.

I decided I could just post a silly, frivolous post (which have their place—I need some frivolity in my life), or I could really be vulnerable and spill my proverbial guts.

I’m taking my lead from a new blogging friend, Ebe, who also lost her son Owen to stillbirth right after we lost Felicity. She has since lost two more to miscarriage. Most of the time I read her posts with my heart pounding out of my chest, saying, “YES! That’s totally me. She just read my mind.” So thank you, Ebe. I needed this push into transparency.

What grief looks like for me at 17 months

I like to shut off.

The desire to shut off emotionally is a huge temptation. Almost like if I don’t think about it, then I don’t have to feel how horribly painful this loss is for me. Sometimes that detachment is necessary, just to survive. But I have to choose to go to the painful places and deal with the emotions there, or I will end up an ugly, poisoned person, unable to connect with my emotions and see the beauty of Jesus there.

I’m angry.

At God, at others, at life in general. Another escape mechanism. If I’m angry then I don’t have to let the pain get close.

I’m a hermit.

Aside from the few close friends who are really in this pain with me, I’m kind of a loner. Very different from the Molly of a couple years ago. I used to love large group functions, chattin’ it up with all kinds of people, etc. Now, the thought of it just drains me. Other times I feel panicked about being in a large group, even at places like church. I feel alien, alone, un-understood.

Part of that is my own doing. And part of me likes it.

What I’m doing about it

Talking

I have a counselor. I go see her once a week. I feel like I could go every day. She is direct, loving, compassionate, yet detached enough from the situation to be able to speak into it in ways that others can’t. Her trust in the Lord for me and with me is so reassuring.

I also have a few girlfriends who link arms with me and love me in this. It’s been a huge blessing to talk with these friends, being known in all the ugliness and yet still being loved. They’ve been so Christlike to me.

Writing

I journal. I have to make myself do it sometimes, but I do it. I often take assignments from my counselor and then read them to her and we talk from there. It’s been hugely helpful. Reading them aloud to my counselor is so revealing. Often, emotions are unearthed that I had no idea even existed. Confession is a truly powerful thing.

Setting necessary boundaries

I’ve had to ask myself hard questions in this season, exploring the balance between what’s necessary, what’s helpful, what’s beneficial to my soul, etc. I’ve had to make some tough calls to protect myself sometimes, allow myself the freedom and space to heal, and be okay with that.

I’ve had to strategize through situations that used to be completely unconscious. These boundaries help me so that I’m not spending most of my time sobbing on the bathroom floor. They’re necessary for me right now and I feel okay with that.

Where I’m going

Some of you reading this post might be panicking inside: Oh no, is she losing her faith? Is she depressed? How can I fix this?

I want to assure you that I feel really held by the Lord. I feel safe. I feel called into this place. If he didn’t want me here, I wouldn’t be here. If he hadn’t taken Felicity I wouldn’t be here. So there’s got to be something for me in this. There has to be.

I feel like I’ve fought it tooth and nail. But now I’m coming to more of a peace with it. I’m accepting it more. One of my dear friends through this process (who is older and wiser than me, thank God) shared with me recently about a grief she’d been facing in her life. Something she said really stood out to me. She told me, “I’m gonna drink this painful cup all the way down, just drain it. And I’m gonna ask the Lord to make it something beautiful.”

I’m at a point where I want to see the beauty of what God has for me here. It means that some days are really hard. It means that I’m going to places in my soul that I didn’t know existed before this. It means that I’m a different person. But I’m getting more comfortable with the Molly who’s been asked to bear this grief. I’m relaxing into the transformation a little more now.

I wish every day that I would get to hear Felicity’s new words, listen to her post-nap singing, change her stinky diapers. Yet I know that losing her has changed me more than getting to raise her would have. That’s a hard reality, but it’s the reality I live with.

Lord, make it something beautiful.

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Entry filed under: Felicity, Grief.

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99 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cara  |  March 5, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Gosh, what can I say. Tears are running down my face. This is hard. This is beautiful, Molly. You are plumbing the depths with Jesus. He is keeping you. He won’t let go of you. He will not rest. He will not stop doing you good.

    Reply
  • 2. citystreams  |  March 5, 2009 at 5:20 am

    {{Hug}} You’re an inspiration to so many women. God is holding you, just as you said. Thank you for being so transparent for us.

    Reply
  • 3. Gretchen  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s been almost four years since we lost our daughter and it’s good to hear that I’m maybe not the only one who is feeling much of what you described so long after our loss. I don’t have anyone besides my husband to really talk about my grief with so I think I push it down and often wonder why I feel so uninspired in life and with God now. Maybe I should start journaling…

    Reply
  • 4. Laura  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:31 am

    Thank you! Drinking painful cups of loss and going to the remote place of grief isn’t easy – praise God that only He can make it something beauitful, and we don’t have to…

    We are greatly anticipating the day when we no longer see in part, but we can fully see and comprehend the glory behind our loss, and yours as well.

    Waiting is difficult, and trusting that God has something for you isn’t always easy. But I am certain that God has something only for you in your loss and something only for me in mine. He loves you far too much to allow something so painful without having something glorious just for you.

    Reply
  • 5. rachel  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:45 am

    drinking down this painful cup – what a beautiful, scary and amazing word from a friend straight from the Lord. Thank you for sharing that – we can all use that in other situations in life.

    It’s sometimes easy to forget that you are still grieving even after 17 months – but it truly has changed you and Felicity will always be with you and will have always changed you. I pray God continues to shape you – you are already beautiful. Can you be anymore!? 🙂

    Reply
  • 6. Rebekah  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Thank you so much for sharing in your journey… I’m a few months behind you in my journey and I understand the anger, the feelings of isolation, and the feeling that while my faith is not lost, it has changed. I feel torn- wanting to allow God to refine me by this fire but really feeling burned and just wanting to escape the flames. Thank you for your vulnerability.

    Reply
  • 7. Kelly  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Thanks for sharing this, I know many women will benefit from reading your words. Praying for you.

    Reply
  • 8. Heather  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Thank you for sharing.

    Can I ask how you dealt with fear in your pregnancy after losing your daughter?

    Heather

    Reply
  • 9. Sarah  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 10. Debby  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I love you, Molly. I don’t have words, other than to echo others’ sentiments, especially Rachel’s. And an ache in my heart for you. I know this sounds trite, but I mean it: I am praying for you, sister.

    (And, would love to bring some chicken and rice by this afternoon or tomorrow, if it’s helpful, one less thing to think about in your life?)

    Reply
  • 11. Angie  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

    This post shows He is doing something beautiful. Praying even now that as you drain your cup that you would know His presence in the vacuum of grief.

    Reply
  • 12. Jennifer S  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I know another woman who has experienced great grief in the last year and it helps to read about how you’ve handled it. She has gone to Jesus too for her healing and even though she was beautiful before her husband died, she is even more beautiful now as the light of Jesus just radiates from every pore!

    Her story is posted on her husband’s Caring Bridge site.

    Reply
  • 13. Heather  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:04 am

    You have no idea what your transparency through this post has done in my heart. Thank you…I’ll try to say more when I find the words…
    I am praying.

    Reply
  • 14. kelly  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:05 am

    I’m new to your blog, but let me say, the Lord IS doing something beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  • 15. Pam  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:10 am

    You know how you described reading Ebe’s posts? Well, that’s how I felt reading this post! My son is with us but he has autism and he screams, throws things and basically cries all day. I totally know what you mean about shutting off, being angry and being a hermit. I try not to go anywhere because the stares from people are too painful and it’s especially painful to go to church because no one wants my child in their class. I know God is sovereign but I’m running from the reality of my life. Thanks for your post. I can’t see a counselor because there are no Christian counselors where we live but I will journal and pray. I will keep you in my prayers Molly. Amen! Lord, make it something beautiful!

    Reply
  • 16. No No Nanette  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:11 am

    This year is me and stillbirth 6 years later. I still miss her. But God has made it beautiful.

    And I am so thankful you have found a good counselor. I was helped tremendously by mine in the year after my daughter died.

    Keep up the good work, Molly. It is hard, hard work. His mercies are new every morning. I will pray for you today.

    Reply
  • 17. Marla Taviano  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I’m so sorry, Molly. Praying for you today.

    Reply
  • 18. Stephanie  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for sharing, Molly. I am upholding you in prayer.

    Reply
  • 19. Melissa Parnell  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:48 am

    you are so beautiful, molly! thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 20. Christa Hagler  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Thanks for sharing your heart. I am praying for you right now. This post reminds me of the scriptures Isaiah 61:1-3. The Lord has used these scriptures to speak to me about my own loss and a loss a friend experienced that was very similar to yours. I just wanted to give you those scriptures. I wrote more about them and my personnal experience on my blog if you want to read it. I am praying this scripture to prove itself true in your life and your heart over time. The post is here if you are interested: http://butavapor.blogspot.com/2008/03/over-past-several-days-i-have-been.html

    Reply
  • 21. Laura  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I can sympathize and pray for you. Almost nine years ago our daughter, Christine, was stillborn at 40 weeks + 2 days. She was absolutely perfect and beautiful. After her birth, I went through two more miscarriages and then our son, Sam was born. After Sam, seven more miscarriages, and then no more pregnancies.

    Every morning when I woke up I said to myself, “God is good and He is sovereign. ” Throughout the day I constantly reminded myself of those two truths, and I looked for things to thanks God for. I also read my Bible through, and was comforted by the trials and consolation God gave to those suffering those trials. But grief does take time.

    I was blessed to have friends who had also lost children come alongside me and be there for me. As time passed, I found one of the best treatments for my sorrow and grief was to reach out to help others in dire circumstances, whether that was dealing with the loss of a baby or some other event that made them need practical help -like a meal, laundry done, or sit with them while they were ill and lonely in the hospital.

    I am praying for God to bring you joy again.

    Reply
  • 22. sumijoti  |  March 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Thank you for speaking to my heart, Molly. Your words could have been mine. LOVE the quote about draining that cup and asking Jesus to make it beautiful…amen, Lord.

    I tend to detach lately too – life is just soooo busy for me, but there is that part of me what just wants to take the time to sit and grieve. maybe during spring break… 🙂

    http://www.sumijoti.wordpress.com

    Reply
  • 24. emily  |  March 5, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I look forward to reading your entries about your grief because they are so validating. This is a desperately difficult journey to be on. Thank you for writing honestly.

    Reply
  • 25. Jess  |  March 5, 2009 at 11:09 am

    You amaze me. I am at a loss for words, so I will leave it to the great Spurgeon – this has encouraged me greatly. “Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, Divine Love would have put you there.”

    Reply
  • […] heart is heavy and yet rejoicing when I reflect upon the pain in my life and lives’ of others. and here     and here      and here.   This season has more and more been a time of […]

    Reply
  • 27. onewifeonly  |  March 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    like that waterdeep song…
    He turns all our desserts into gardens.
    He makes all our ashes into beauty

    Reply
  • 28. Kelly @ Love Well  |  March 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    One of the most amazing things about God, to me, is that if we offer our grief to Him, He always makes something beautiful.

    (The reverse of this, that we grieve but we don’t offer it to Him because of anger or bitterness or whatever, is that it doesn’t have any purpose. I can’t imagine a worse sentence than that.)

    Reply
  • 29. Kellie  |  March 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Molly- My heart hurts for you. On Owen’s third b-day, memorial whatever you want to call it – was when I finally surrendered some of what your saying. I know up to that point God was already using it but that is when I prayed something like – make it beautiful. I guess when I surrendered some more. thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 30. Sturgmom  |  March 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you for your transparency. I think many times believers don’t realize that talking about their grief with a counselor can be such a healing element. Instead, they try to deal with it on their own. GOod for you for getting it out there and being so real and raw about it.

    So many women are dealing with the loss of babies. I’m overwhelmed and heartbroken for each one of you. Praying for you (and others) today.

    Reply
  • 31. Andrea  |  March 5, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Sweet Molly, thank you for being willing to share from your heart. Even small life- disappointments continue to haunt me: what if… what would my life be like had it worked out as I had planned… So I can only begin to imagine your ongoing grief.

    I’m thinking of you, praying for you, and missing Felicity with you!

    Reply
  • 32. MrsMK  |  March 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    This is a fearfull, terrifying place. The grief eats away, leaving ugliness and sin, wounds and scars. He has me in his hand….even while I rant and rail against his work….I am at peace and confident, even, that he will never let me go.

    Prayers for you Molly as you contine to walk in the shelter of his hand. Heaven is not far, our reality is there.

    Reply
  • 33. Angie Prince  |  March 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Molly,

    I just discovered your blog today; I do not know you, but I appreciate your faith and your candor. Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerability; it is refreshing to read a fellow-griever and fellow-sister-in-Christ willing to be so real.

    We lost our 19-year-old-daughter thirty-one months ago, and like you, amidst the incredible pain, we are feeling held by our Heavenly Father. I would love for you to read some of our experience in my blog

    http://mothergrievinglossofchild.blogspot.com

    I have been writing in this blog just since February, 2009. Over the course of these two and a half years however, I have been writing a great deal, and it has been extremely therapeutic for me. God mercifully gave me the inspiration to write poetry to process some of the painful aspects of my grief, and we are working on writing a book about the loss of our daughter and God’s amazing comfort in the midst of a parent’s worst nightmare.

    As I wrote in my blog, I tell people, yes God is IN the grief; God is not an anesthetic to numb the grief–the pain is still there–but He meets me IN the grief, and walks through it WITH me.

    My husband and I are both Christian counselors, and our coping style sounds very similar to yours. Thank you for being willing to share your heart with hurting folks like us. Our prayers are with you.

    Angie and Tommy Prince

    Reply
  • 34. Anna Cirlot  |  March 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    My husband and I miscarried with our first child much to our heartbreak but then God blessed us with our beautiful little girl less than a year later… if we had not lost the first one, we could not have the little one we have now. God’s ways are higher than our ways. Something horrible has turned into something very beautiful indeed. I know I will get to see our first baby in heaven one day. God is faithful and good… thanks for your transparency.

    Reply
  • 35. april  |  March 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Hey Molly,
    In the lack of better words, I ditto your post.
    You are my “Ebe”. Your blog has been a comfort to me. It has made me feel “normal” and I have been blessed reading it. You said it well, I feel held by Jesus, but am so ready to see what is going to be made beautiful. I just started a bible study on 1st Peter that has been encouraging. Maybe, although I know this isn’t what you wanted, the something beautiful is your growth in Christ and the transparency that has allowed you to be such a help to others like me who are in the same boat. We just recently celebrated a year after losing our son Eli. I have changed so much since last year in many of the same ways you wrote about. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  • 36. mbarley  |  March 5, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Molly, Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Continue to rest in the arms of Christ. His ways are not our ways, are they?

    Reply
  • 37. Kendall  |  March 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Thankyou for sharing, Molly. You’re in my prayers.

    Reply
  • 38. Julie  |  March 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Molly, you may not feel it yet but God is making something beautiful out of your grief to us. Your writing is starkly beautiful, too, and your experience reminds me of the words to “Out of the Depths” that we sing at our church, one of my favorites as I have been waiting fourteen years for God to bring back my son who walked away from the faith. “The secret mysteries belong to You, we only know what You reveal. And all my questions that are unresolved don’t change the wisdom of your will. In every trial and loss my hope is in the cross where Your compassions never fail. So more than watchmen for the morning, I will wait for you my God. When my fears come with no warning in your word I put my trust. When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit, I will wait, I will wait for You.” (Sovereign Grace Music)
    I will pray for you tonight. I don’t know you, but I love you.

    Reply
  • 39. Kathy  |  March 5, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Oh Molly, I have copied this into a word file so that I can read it often. What an amazing post, and what a comfort to me. I lost my first daughter Madison. I’ve written to you about it before. This summer she and I would have been entering the teen years. Each year has brought heartache for all of the milestones we have missed. This would have been a BIG one. I read your post tonight, and even after nearly 13 years, STILL feel the same way. But I too feel HELD by Jesus, and that is ALL that gets me through the seconds/minutes/hours/days/months/years that I have missed with that precious girl. This month it is compounded by the loss of my dear pastor from cancer. I am reminded that goodbye for now means a lifetime, and that seems a long time. Your friend’s comment spoke VOLUMES to me tonight, and it is something I will put in my Bible, and speak to myself often. “I’m gonna drink this painful cup all the way down, just drain it. And I’m going to ask the Lord to make it something beautiful.”

    Those friends that you are linking arms with, and that counselor are GOLD for you now. God did not choose to bring that about for me until I had already gone to a very dark place in my life. It was almost too late, but God never lets one of His own get away. The “bringing me back” process was hellish, and the worst pain of my life, ALMOST more painful than the loss of my sweet baby, but God brought beauty out of ashes. You keep clinging to Him, and white-knuckling it on those hard days…I’m still doing it. You are right that God would not have taken Felicity if He didn’t have a reason for it….I still haven’t gotten the reason for my own loss, but I’m trusting, because I’ve seen Him working, and I KNOW something beautiful is going to come of it.

    Thank you dear girl for being transparent with us instead of frivolous tonight. So many needed to read this tonight, including myself. We are sisters in suffering, and now I know how to pray for you…the same way I pray for myself, as it is a pain that will be with us until Jesus puts those dear little ones back into our arms.

    Love to you, and prayers for you tonight

    Kathryn

    I’m your friend on Facebook too 🙂

    Reply
  • 40. Rose  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Thank God for your transparency. God is giving you a gift of trust and hope in Him. It’s so good when He reminds us He loves me this I know. For the bible tells me so.

    Love and grace to you this evening,
    Rosie

    Reply
  • 41. Dina  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for your post. Life after a child goes to be with the Lord is so challenging. Small things can bring me to tears or give me joy but I can never predict. A baby crying in church about a month ago brought me to complete sobs.

    I appreciate your ability to put these emotions in to words. I was not ableto do that after Hannah was born. It is a gift for your healing and the healing of others.

    Our Hannah’s third birthday is coming up on the 20th. It is such a bitter sweet time. I have not been able to bring Seth to Hannah’s grave. I pray that this year I can bring those two events together in my life. Without Hannah’s life we would not have Seth. Such a bitter sweet reality. I LOVED the picture of Morrow at Felicity’s grave site. It was so beautiful! I pray that I will be able to take a picture like that soon.

    It may sound strange but I find comfort in celebrating her birthday. It is a small thing that I can do to keep the memory of her short life alive. We released balloons on her first birthday and I think we may do that again this year.

    Thanks again for being vunerable and sharing yourself with all of us. I appreciate your posts about Felicity so much. Thanks also for giving those of us with babes in Heaven to have a place to safely share and to glean from others who are also walking this long difficult road.

    Reply
  • 42. Ebe  |  March 5, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Thank you, Molly. Thank you for your transparency, and for walking alongside me and so many others.

    There are so many times that I just want to crawl into a hole and not talk to anyone and ignore the ‘elephant’ in the room, but it’s just too exhausting to do that.

    I’ve never thought about losing Owen and wondering if God will make my grief and pain into something beautiful, but that, friend, is truly beautiful. I will be praying that for you and myself…and all of us who grieve.

    Reply
  • 43. Shannon Archer  |  March 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Some of the things you said make me think about what our children do for us as far as who we become. Sometimes that is revealing things in us that we would rather not know were there and sometimes it is a pleasant surprise when we are given grace and actually love and serve our children as Christ would have us.

    It never really occurred to me until now though that Felicity is doing that for you even though you God took her when he did. It seems as though God is using her to make you beautiful just as he is using Orison and Morrow. That makes her a significant, real, and precious member of your family and that makes her life and existence impossible to diminish and forget as long as you are living.

    Reply
  • 44. beautystars  |  March 6, 2009 at 5:59 am

    website beautystars.co.cc

    Reply
  • 45. ashley  |  March 6, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Wow. Thanks for sharing all of this Molly. You are so right; it is easier to shut down, shut off than face the reality of loss. These are very inspiring words for me. Again, many thanks.

    Reply
  • 46. » Grief  |  March 6, 2009 at 10:30 am

    […] blog entry about what happened.  I came across a blog post written by Molly Piper entitled: What does grief look like at 17 months?  I don’t know Molly, but I wept with her as I read this. I was encouraged by her honesty and […]

    Reply
  • 47. Holley  |  March 6, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Thank you so much for this post, Molly. I wrote about grief on my blog yesterday and quoted you in my follow-up post today so more people can come to your site and read your powerful, beautiful words.

    Reply
  • 48. shawnda  |  March 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    *tears*. I’m so thankful for you, sister. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. I continue to pray for you and look forward to continuing to watch God’s perfect plan for ya’ll unfold. BIG hugs….

    Reply
  • 49. shawnda  |  March 6, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    so sorry…one more thing. I know this is way different. But Jason and I are going through Galatians together. It talks about how we’ve been created in Christ for good works, etc.

    One of the things that was extracted from the study that we are doing is how everything in life has significance. The particular day I was studying, some old stuff…..OLD stuff had crept into my heart, and I was just smacked in a new/fresh way that as hard as that stuff was…..as ugly as that season was…..it was his purpose….for me to be who I am today. It’s the part of the painting where you are an onlooker thinking ‘is he messing that picture up…did he just make a mistake b/c that doesn’t look like what he said he was going to paint’. Then, as it all comes together, you realize the genius of the painter. Had he not put the distinct strokes and color in the specific place, the painting would not be nearly as beautiful, brilliant, unique, and enjoyable.

    You are right…there HAS to be beauty that comes from this because our Lord promises that He works all things together for good for those who love Him. We know you love Him, and we know that He’s a faithful God. Oh, to believe it fully and freely!

    His grace is evident, sister, in it all. And the faith He has given you to hope in His promises has stood out to me through every word you have shared with us! You have honored Him through this – He is more glorious to me b/c of how He has proven faithful to you!

    I love you!

    Reply
  • 50. springsnoopy  |  March 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Even where you are right now is clearly something beautiful.

    Reply
  • 51. Deron Arnold  |  March 6, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    What I and my family are going through right now in no way compares to your extremely difficult situation, but I am encouraged by your honesty.

    I have similar feelings to what you describe much of the time and it’s nice to hear from someone who is willing to share the thoughts she struggles with.

    I had a friend who lost her 3 month old girl from complications of a surgery that was supposed to go well. Later, inexplicably, she told me she didn’t think she could go through what I was going through.

    I was flabbergasted as I told her I didn’t think I could possibly go through what she was going through.

    For me, the toughest times are when I have too much time to think. Saturday’s are bad and on Sunday church surprisingly hasn’t been helping me much. Everyone seems so “normal” with 3 or 4 healthy kids, and a seemingly carefree mom and dad.

    Molly (and Abraham), don’t feel guilty about your grief. Especially don’t listen if someone says you should be getting over it. It lasts and lasts. It will come and go for an indefinite period of time–like a sine wave.

    It doesn’t go away. The acuteness of it will likely diminish somewhat, i.e. the sharp pangs that make you breathless. But it will always remain a heavy burden.

    And you don’t want to be free of it. Of her. She’s such an important part of your life. She always will be.

    You will most likely carry this burden with you all the way to heaven until the Lord introduces you once again to your daughter.

    I frequently have to tell myself, “Just make it to the end of this day.” Or I see life as a series of hurdles and I only let myself focus on the one immediately in front of me.

    You can do it. You can endure this with Christ’s strength. You can endure this struggle and after awhile you will have some breathing room. Then when the grief comes roaring back, Christ will be there, not letting you be completely overcome.

    “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”

    Reply
  • 52. Marc  |  March 7, 2009 at 7:54 am

    I read your blog and several others regularly. Here is a newer one from my hometown. If you have time maybe you could offer this woman some encouragement. Thank you.
    http://patriceandmattwilliams.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  • 53. abigailsleftovers  |  March 7, 2009 at 8:47 am

    I am joining the army of folks praying for you Molly– lifting you up to the Father, regularly and frequently.

    Reply
  • 54. rocksinmydryer  |  March 7, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Sweet Molly, thank you for your courage in writing this. God has really taught me some things through your words, time and time again.

    Reply
  • 55. MrsMK  |  March 7, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Molly,
    I just had to come back and thank you again for posting this. I have struggled so much with anger at God these last 6 months (so much more so than the first 6 months) and that is a really hard place to be. I WANT to love my God, not be crying tears of anger at Him. In just the last month, that anger has slowly dissipated and what relief I feel! The aching, hollow sadness remains, but it is soo much more manageable without the anger! Thank you for being honest….sometimes it really helps to know that others find this not just hard, not just difficult, but truly heart-breaking, a brutal storm that has left nothing untouched. I feel as though I have been locked in a life/death struggle…..over my faith and my family. While I feel weak, weary and worn, on the other side I have blessed peace knowing that even in my rebellion, sin though it is, God has me, and even HER death can’t take me from Him.

    Again, thank you for sharing…..you bless me and I am praying for your continued healing.

    Reply
  • 56. Chris K  |  March 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Have never commented on your blog before but felt a connection here. After losing a best friend to suicide – in my grieving I went through all the stages you are talking about. Usually desiring to be around people all the time, I now desired (and even craved) ALONE time. Where I used to be the first in line to go to an event, I now needed LOTS of nudging or would say “No, thank you, not this time.” I visited my doctor and she said I was having panic attacks caused by post traumatic stress. She convinced me that the attacks would not kill me and that eventually I would be able to work my way through them.

    I know I can not compare the pain of losing a friend to suicide to you losing a child that you carried – that has been a part of you – for nine months . . . but I have to tell you what helped me the most to deal with my loss . . . I memorized Psalm 139. All of it. It took me a while but I did it. I can not tell you how God’s Word ministered to me in ways I could never have imagined. It was a constant reminder to me that there is NO WHERE I can go to get away from God.. . . . that all the days ordained for me were written in His book before one of them came to be. Nothing is a surprise for Him. How precious is His Word . . . alive . . . and working in our hearts and minds.

    My heart aches for you, but I know the One who knit you together in your mother’s womb and He holds all of your tomorrows. And Who better could know your hurt than the One Who gave up His own son. . . . . . . . . for our good and His Glory.

    From ashes to beauty . . . . . . . .

    Reply
  • 57. jennapants  |  March 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Oh Molly. I love you, friend. I’ve read this post a few times now. I’m so glad you have a blog because your thoughts are here, laid out, organized. I can’t interrupt or inadvertently steer the conversation in another direction.

    I am reading these comments, tears streaming down.

    I can’t help, but to remember Felicity. I cherish her. I miss her with you. My favorite posts are when you write about her. I love her as much as I love Orison and Morrow. I tremble at the thought that one day, she will escort you to your good King who she knows and loves and trusts so well.

    Reply
  • 58. Amanda  |  March 8, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Molly,

    Thank you for always sharing of yourself and for your honesty. It has now been 10 months since I lost Gavin and there are so many days that I feel so alone. Tonight you made me realize that I am not. I will continue to pray for you as you go through this difficult season.

    Blessings,
    Amanda

    Forever missing Gavin

    Reply
  • 59. Danny Lucas  |  March 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

    My mom died. I remain the sole visitor to her grave, nearly every week (actually almost every day) since last May, 2008.
    My siblings are more “Snap out of It!”.
    But I cry instead.

    I have learned that grief shared is cut in half, while joys shared are doubled.
    (Excuse me a moment for the teardrop ).

    Our heavenly Father is so artful as He weaves grief and joy. In high school, I travelled internationally with a musical group. Someone I knew from High School on the road contacted me about 5 years ago. She now lived in Chile. Her best friend lived in Amsterdam, an atheist.

    He worked with folks who helped African Aids orphans, and spoke of a woman who teaches. Her students stopped coming to class. She went to their home and found them wandering aimlessly, with dad and mom dead of aids.

    She took in a dozen on her own, and now has over 500 to care for. Mr. Amsterdam asked me to escort Elizabeth, the Zulu teacher and lover of children in grief, through NYC, as I lived nearby in Bethlehem, PA then. We sought financial help for Elizabeth to attend to the needs of so many.
    She is 70 going on 30.

    American Foundations like Soros and Clinton failed to deliver the cash needed, but we did obtain some help and became lifelong friends.

    Out of the blue, a year later, the Chicago Trib wrote of an orphan named Moali, an orphan, raped and abused. Schooling was free, but boarding was atrocious. She was trapped. Elizabeth the Zulu teacher, was trying to help get her out of the horrid home of abuse.

    A woman in Illinois read of this child, Moali, and was determined to help. In Google, she found my name attached to Elizabeth from my writing of our effort to obtain philanthropy help. The Illinois mom wanted to verify Elizabeth, and I did that, as I knew her personally. Contact was made and Moali successfully gifted, and lifted, out of extreme danger.

    A year ago or so, Illinois mom emailed me to pray for a mom who lost her baby. She gave me the link to read.

    I have read your husbands, 22 Word blog, but your headline on Grief moved my eyes over here.
    The mom who lost her child writes a blog on it called Bring the Rain. Her husband is Todd, a member of the group, Selah. This is her story for you:
    http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/2008/01/beginning-of-story.html

    Last month, Illinois mom wrote me anew. Her mom has cancer and will die. The woman who saved a foreign child from rape and loneliness, now faces the loss of her mom, as I did last year.

    We take off our shoes in prayer as Moses was told: “Take off your shoes! This is Holy Ground”.
    We hold our arms aloft and ask others to pray since arms grow weary and the battle against grief is lost when arms are lowered.

    When I visit my mom, I scoot over to the children’s section across the street. There, I see my twin sisters Diana and Donna, who got sick at age 6, and died at age 10 and 11 respectively. My mom was intimately familiar with the loss of children and bore a miscarriage as well.

    In 5 pregnancies, I find myself a father to two daughters. Three children are in heaven.

    I will pray for you often Molly, for my shoes are often off my feet and arms already raised.

    A Christian blogger in Arizona wrote me a note to ignore my siblings and their apparent renewal and moving on. She said to grieve as long as I need or want. I repeat that to tell you it is ok to do.

    I will return from time to time to see that you are ok.
    God will do the same.

    The only time you have to worry is when there is no more hurt, for there is no more hurt……
    when there is no more heart.

    God bless you, your husband, and children abundantly Molly.

    Danny

    Reply
  • 60. Abraham and Ashley  |  March 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I am only 19 and I lost my son too, his due date just past in Feb. I feel very much the same way. Thank you for your words they help pave the road for me. I trust that God will make both of our cups produce the good he has promised us. Romans 8:28

    Reply
  • 61. Annette  |  March 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you Molly. You don’t know me and I am much older than you, but I found your honesty eye opening for myself. I am facing a very different kind of journey, but my natural responses are the quite similar. I appreciate the boldness it took to write it as I pray it helps me continue to go to places I don’t want to go in order to see a beauty I cannot imagine.

    Reply
  • 62. karla  |  March 9, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I love you. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Reply
  • 63. Tonya  |  March 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

    I love your blog. I came to it after my son was stillborn in Nov. I decided to start my own and I’ve found it to be very helpful. Thanks for being so honest with your feelings. If you want to read about our baby, you can go to my blog, click on archives for Feb. and the title is Glory Baby Grady. Just wanted to say hi and introduce myself!

    Tonya

    Reply
  • 64. Chris  |  March 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks for being such a good far-away friend.
    Your messages bless us in many ways.
    Praying for you always…

    Reply
  • 65. Jane Swanson  |  March 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Molly,
    Praying with you that God would continue to make this incredible loss something beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    ~jane

    Reply
  • 66. Rachel  |  March 11, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Molly,
    My heart aches, and I am so sorry for your loss. It took character and guts to write what you did- I thank you for your honesty and living faith.
    with love and prayer-

    Reply
  • 67. Angela Williams  |  March 13, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Molly,
    I can’t tell you how much I have identified with your story….I don’t think you can ever get over it or move on completely….I too suffered a loss but in the second trimester and this was so very hard. It does help to talk about it and I am glad that you have people in place to help you….for me, time doesn’t take away the hopes, desires and memories even though I am in my third trimester of pregnancy again two yrs after the loss. It is hard and I just want to encourage you to stay in the word meditating on the character and nature of God. I too wanted to shut people out and sometimes it is hard for me to rightly handle my feelings regarding our first little boy…..and being detached and in fear during this pregnancy thinking I could lose this one too was challenging but as you know, our God is faithful even when we aren’t …I think one of the hardest things to do is to bury your child and even though we may have many more children….. our hearts can still ache for the one we lost… but the hope is that we will see them again in glory as we worship at the feet of our wonderful Savior…. thanks again Molly….Angela

    Reply
  • 68. liw  |  March 13, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    hey molly,

    i hope you don’t mind if i share this link on my facebook page….being single, i know not the kind of suffering that you must have felt (and still feel, sometimes…) but i think suffering comes in many forms and shapes according to the purposes our loving God intended them to be…your blog is a blessing and by sharing them on my account, i hope it gets to minister to my friends who may never have heard of the Pipers, desiring God and yes, even the compassionate, just, loving God of the Bible. 🙂

    Reply
  • 69. pam  |  March 14, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Molly~

    Came here from Rocks in My Dryer. So glad I did. Thank you for your vulnerability and transparency. Your words touched my heart.

    Reply
  • 70. Tammy W.  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Molly – I came here from Rocks in My Dryer, too. Thank you for sharing. I miscarried our first baby 6 years ago before I knew the sex. So, occassionally I catch myself wondering who my baby would have been. It’s been so long, I don’t really share with anyone that there’s still a pain in my heart. God bless.

    Reply
  • 71. Allie  |  March 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hi Molly,

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Came here from Rocks in my Dryer and so glad I did. God has something beautiful ready and waiting for you. I will be praying that into your life and for it to come quickly. I know that this post is touching people and will continue to do so. Again I thank you.

    Reply
  • 72. Shawna  |  March 14, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you….

    Reply
  • 73. Lori  |  March 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    God bless you as you traverse this rocky path. Know that you are inspiring others as you deal with these feelings…

    Reply
  • 74. Emily  |  March 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    You are beautiful my friend, and He is making you more so.

    Reply
  • 75. Simply Sara  |  March 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    You are absolutely beautiful.
    Thank you for being so completely transparent and for sharing the deepest parts of your heart. You have truly touched mine.

    I am so thankful we serve a God who will continue to give you strength and peace.

    Bless you and your family.

    Reply
  • 76. Carly  |  March 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t know you at all. This is the first time I’ve read anything you’ve written – I stumbled here from Rocks in my Dryer. I never comment on a blog after reading just one post. Yet today, I feel compelled.

    I cannot say I know or understand what you’re going through. But I’m praying for you, right now, in this moment and as you’re reading this.

    One of my favourite non-Christian bands wrote a beautiful song called “Something Beautiful” when a close friend lost a dear family member. Your post reminded me of that song…

    “I know you’ll never count the tears you’ve cried
    Though you’ve asked a million questions
    No one could tell you why
    A single soul is chosen to be the one put to the test
    But there will be some consolation for a heart that never rests

    Move along I believe there’s
    Something Beautiful to see
    Move along I believe there’s
    Something Beautiful
    Just waiting for you and me”

    http://www.greatbigsea.ca

    Lest there be any misunderstanding, I want to be clear that I would never presume to tell you to “move along”. I just thought the song spoke a lovely Truth about there being something beautiful in every trial the Lord brings our way.

    Blessings!

    Reply
  • 77. Beverly  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you for a beautiful post. It’s been almost 3 years since I lost my 28 year old daughter. Except for the anger, I’ve felt everything you have. The only anger I might feel is toward myself for not being a better mother. I can certainly understand the part of you that wants to be alone and avoids people. I’ve laid on my bed in the dark and listened as a friend rang the doorbell, then finally went away. My most common way of dealing like you is not thinking about it. If I don’t think about it, it’s not real. The Lord has buoyed me up and held me and kept me sane. The pain has dulled and Shana’s memory has gotten sweeter. It’s easier now to remember the good times and not focus so much on the “should haves”. Thanks again for your honesty. My prayers will be with you and your family.

    Reply
  • 78. satyask  |  March 14, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Oh dear! Thanks for sharing, I know the symptoms, my cause is something else. I am glad that you have faith. God bless you!

    Reply
  • 79. Passer By  |  March 15, 2009 at 2:00 am

    If you are still thinking, talking and writing about grief, anger, being hermit, etc., after 17 months, may be you could try Buddhist Mindfulness (or Insight) Meditation.

    Reply
  • 80. ryanrike  |  March 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I am a college student at the University of South Carolina and one of the elder’s at my church and his wife were pregnant with six. They had kept a blog for everyone to be able to be connected and know what to pray for. Today we were grieved with the news that all six have now gone to be with the Lord. Please join Columbia, SC in praying for the Tipping Family! Thank you so much for your vulnerability.

    Here is their blog:

    http://www.thetippingfamily.com/

    Reply
  • 81. yanina  |  March 15, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Love & Light & Blessings to you Beautiful Woman.
    Thank you for sharing a story of working through trauma, using simple steps & allowing people to support you.
    (A recent post on my blog covers some other simple techniques both myself & my clients have found useful.)

    May your journey be one of future Happiness & Contentment.

    Reply
  • 82. When babies are taken : withpurpose  |  March 15, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    […] whose baby went to be with Jesus 17 months ago.  She allows us in on her grief in her latest post, What does grief look like at 17 months?.  This is amazing perspective: I wish every day that I would get to hear Felicity’s new words, […]

    Reply
  • 83. Tara  |  March 16, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Thank you for sharing.
    This is a recent blog post by Beth Moore’s daughter Melissa. Be encouraged.
    http://livingproofministries.blogspot.com/2009/03/melissas-theological-wrestling-match.html

    Reply
  • 84. Caryn  |  March 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks Molly for sharing your heart! I pray for you often!

    Reply
  • 85. wanda  |  March 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    You’re an inspiration! Thank you for sharing such personal and painful truths from your life. There is not a parent walking this earth that covets your position. Only God can heal your broken heart and it amazes me how even in your pain…..you are willing to cling to Him.
    So many don’t! My heart hurts reading your words. I pray that God will bless you and fill you with purpose. Sending you a BIG HUG from me in Indiana.

    Reply
  • 86. Ashley Elizabeth  |  March 16, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    My words, oh my words are so futile.

    In the midst of this midnight of my soul, I now will start praying for the strength to drink this cup and for the Lord to make something beautiful.

    Thank you so much for sharing your midnight with me.

    -Ashley Elizabeth

    Reply
  • 87. Kara  |  March 16, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    It’s the 3rd time I’ve tried writing in this comment box after reading…and then rereading this post.
    Again, I’m fumbling….we’re nearing the 12 month mark…and so much of what you wrote hits home.
    …Maybe that’s a little glimpse of the beauty He’s making through it all…your words pulling…reminding me (and I’m sure others) to trust Him while we wait on His ending to our story.

    Reply
  • 88. Top Posts « WordPress.com  |  March 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    […] What does grief look like at 17 months? Since September I’ve been wading through some really difficult, ugly, deeply painful aspects of the grieving […] […]

    Reply
  • 89. Andi  |  March 17, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I don’t know if you’ll get a chance to read this, you have so many comments to wade through, but I just wanted to share with you a little of my experience with losing a child.
    I had 4 daughters when the Lord blessed us with a boy. At the first ultrasound 4 months into the pregnancy we found out he had a severe brain deformity but I chose to carry him full term rather than abort. Jonathan lived for 20 days and we brought him home to die peacefully. It has been the most painful thing to go through as a mother. I felt empty and broken. Thankfully though I had my girls to take care of so they kept me busy enough that I had no choice but to keep on going. I tend to shove away memories and pain, it’s too hard to think about most of the time. But I can say that now, 5 years later, (plus another daughter!) it gets easier. The pain isn’t as intense as it once was. We wrote on his tomb stone “God is Good.” If I were to share one piece of advice, the truth that I clung to the most, is that God is sovereign, He has a perfect plan and a purpose in this. I may not know “why” right now, but I will one day when I see my Lord face to face. Then I will be able to hold my son once again in Heaven.You’ve probably already heard of the book by John MacArthur “Safe In The Arms Of God,” but if you haven’t read it I strongly recommend it. We were given a lot of warm fuzzy (crappy) books, but MacArthur’s was the only one that we came across that was grounded in the truth of God’s word. So there you go, hang in there, have more babies if you can, they truly are a gift from God!
    Andi

    Reply
  • 90. Michelle  |  March 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    What a beautiful post! I love your heart!

    Reply
  • 91. 2feetonearth1inthestars  |  March 22, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    You get so many readers that I know I won’t stand out. But I wanted to let you know I feel for you. In July 2007 I lost my daughter at 23 days old. I feel so much like you do it’s not even funny. I’ve got 2 living children too. I hope it’s ok if i subscribe to your blog

    Reply
  • 92. Latika  |  March 26, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Hello…I also lost a child, Viktoria, three in-a-half years ago to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). I know exactly how you feel as I felt the same emotions right after I lost her. I am so happy that you have comfort in God. He is the only person who can heal you from this pain. Continue to “lean upon him, he will make your paths straight…”

    Reply
  • 93. Robin  |  April 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I am so sorry- I am grieving for you-
    Grief, at 19 years, does not look much different- forever changed- forever with an empty place- but knowing that our Kara is cradled in God’s arms.
    We lost Kara, and a year later lost Aletheia- both of them home with our Heavenly Father.
    A year later we adopted Katharine, a joy and blessing to us- every time I looked at her, joy at God’s gift- but still I miss Kara and Aletheia.
    I wonder what they would be doing, what their joys and sorrows would be- When Katharine has a milestone, I rejoice with her- and wonder secretly about Kara-
    I remember that on Katharine’s second birthday, I realized, with a physical jolt, that she and Kara would have been almost exactly the same age- only days apart (Katharine was almost 2 when we adopted her)-
    and knew that God had seen both of them at the time of our grief, seen Kara leaving her warm nest for heaven, and seen Katharine preparing to leave hers for a hard world where noone treasured her-
    and I realized that God treasured them both- and hugged Katharine tighter- and hoped for the day I will hug them all Today Katharine is 19- I hug her and know that God hugs Kara and Aletheia- I still miss them.

    Reply
  • 94. Stefanie  |  April 7, 2009 at 5:10 am

    As you share your experience and thoughts with us there a quit a lot of us reading it and learning from it.

    Thank you for sharing, as it’s also encouraging to see that we will be able to rise above the storm, and that there are so many people out there who carries us in there thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 95. John  |  April 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. I’m finishing an amazing book by Brian Hogan, “There’s a Sheep in my Bathtub,” which describes their work in Mongolia and on-the-field loss of a two-month old son, their only son. Incredibly moving. If you haven’t found it already, perhaps it could be helpful.

    Reply
  • 96. Thomas P. Elderville  |  April 18, 2009 at 8:26 am

    The subject of grief is always so difficult.

    Reply
  • 97. Jody  |  May 8, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Molly, I loved that you included the “where I’m going” portion of this blog. It is so great to hear you say that you are looking for the beauty that God will bring from it all and that you understand that this is what God has for you now and you aren’t fighting it. I think so many in our society feel that it is bad to feel sad and/or that bad things don’t come from God or that they aren’t for our good. We live and move and have our being in God; how can anything come to us apart from Him?

    15 years ago my daughter (my first born) was still born two days before her due date, and I wanted to die too. But I didn’t and now I thank God always for the good work that He did in my heart through Emily’s life and death and memory. I could go on and on….

    Our daughters were treasures from the Lord and they are safe with Jesus. Hold on for the beauty, Molly, in due time you will have it. with sincere love, Jody

    Reply
  • 98. Larae  |  July 27, 2009 at 10:47 am

    hi, i know this is a little late, but i just stumbled onto your blog and had to share this song with you called “make something beautiful” by laura story (she wrote “indescribable”). you have to buy it (Itunes)!!! i have not personally experienced your loss, but i know this song will minister to you and i know that God WILL make something beautiful in you and through you.

    MAKE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
    When I’m at the point of breaking at the place where I resign,
    And I’m at the stage of shaking my head as I look back on my life,
    When I’m halfway through the grieving, but not quite through the ache,
    When I cannot see the ending, or which road I’m supposed to take.

    All I know to do is lift my hands to You.
    Take all of my life, all of my life,
    And make something beautiful.
    I open my hand, trusting Your plan.
    Make something beautiful
    So all will see your work in me,
    How You make something beautiful

    When I’m tired of pretending and I can’t recall my lines.
    To say I’m barely breathing, or to say I’m doing fine.
    I admit there is a yearning for the hurting to subside,
    But not at the risk of missing what You’re doing in my life.

    another song you should here is ginny owen’s “if you want me to” (also on itunes):

    IF YOU WANT ME TO
    The pathway is broken
    And the signs are unclear
    And I don’t know the reason why You brought me here
    But just because You love me the way that You do
    I’m gonna walk through the valley
    If You want me to

    Cause I’m not who I was when I took my first step
    And I’m clinging to the promise You’re not through with me yet
    So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
    Then I will walk through the fire
    If You want me to

    It may not be the way I would have chosen
    When You lead me through a world that’s not my home
    But You never said it would be easy
    You only said I’d never go alone

    So when the whole world turns against me
    And I’m all by myself
    And I can’t hear You answer my cries for help
    I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through
    And I go through the valley If You want me to

    Reply

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