About the Author

Heather is a brain cancer survivor who lives life on the edge. She loves her family, her bald head and, most of all, her Savior’s grace. She lives in the sunny yet very humid state of Florida with her husband, three children and 2 dogs, a miniature schnauzer named Bailey...

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  1. For what it’s worth, I have followed your story for years now and the one thing I know from what I’ve read is that you were a fierce Mama Bear on Emma’s behalf. Always. You fought for her every step of the way. And when Satan comes in and whispers those lies you stand in the truth of who and Whose you are. You were an amazing Mama to Emma. You are an amazing Mama to all of your kids. You are a light of hope and truth and plain-spoken realness that illuminates more of Christ to so many people. You have walked roads that most people can’t even imagine and done it with grace, and joy, and love, and compassion.

    I can’t imagine how much this one year mark must hurt. I have grieved, and grieved deeply but not for a child. I am praying prayers of comfort for you and for your family. I know you are joyful about Emma being with Jesus, but I also know that the ache of her not being with you doesn’t go away.

    I grieve with you, and I’m praying for you.

  2. My own beautiful Emma went to Heaven 6 1/2 years ago so I definitely know what you are describing. She was nine yrs old and we also had to make hard choices throughout her life. I still miss her every single day. And I miss the me I was when I was her mother. I wouldn’t say it gets easier. It just gets different. I have learned to live and breathe again. But some days I have to fight harder than others. I have definitely learned to live with an Eternal mindset and I thank her for that gift. I will be praying for you and would covet yours as we travel this journey through grief.

  3. Thank you for this post. I’m so sorry for your loss, and so grateful for your willingness to share your faith and compassion. Indeed, we all have our pain, and how desperately we all need HIM. This is a wonderful message for anytime, but especially wonderful at Easter time. (Pinned on our inspirational Christian blogs board — I don’t want to forget these awesome posts I’m finding here.)

  4. Part of my job is helping people who live overseas when a loved one dies. All death is hard, there is simply no way around that! Part is redefining “The line between then and now” (http://wp.me/p1Ut5W-1Y) and realizing that when we are with those who grieve we are on holy ground (http://wp.me/p1Ut5W-ar).

    Very sorry for your lose — and for those experienced by your readers. I am encouraged that the Bible doesn’t say we do not mourn, but that we do not mourn as those who have no hope.

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart. You have helped me in my grief. It’s only been 1 1/2 years since my sweet Thomas when home to be with Jesus, but the pain is as real as if it was just yesterday. Thank you again and my you be blessed for helping so many of us in the same shoes.

  6. Beautifully spoken words! I hope you are able to feel His arms around you extra tightly today!

  7. My heart weeps for your loss, Heather, and also for those {Brenda, Stacey} who have also lost a precious little one. No words for you. Just tears. I am struck that the one year anniversary falls on such a holy day such as this, when the deepest suffering of our Saviour a “man of sorrows, {and} familiar with suffering” took place.

    Peace to you in your grief.

  8. Felt the tug to read here first this morning.
    Now with tears in my eyes, I know why. In just a few hours we will say goodbye to a family member. The family/friends will all gather for her viewing and funeral. Yes, it will be hard.
    She was a true example of how to love others just as Jesus did. She always encouraged us to love Jesus with all of our heart & to read His word.
    Thank you for being so authentic. The words about you couldn’t pray ministered to me. He knows my heart. Sending you hugs on the loss of your dear one.

  9. Thank you for your courage and strength to share. It has blessed me tremendously as I walk through our own loss. I don’t know why there is comfort in reading the words I have felt so many times myself, but I think there might be healing in knowing someone truly understands…..I pray for you…I cannot even begin to imagine your experience, we only had ourson 5 short months in my belly and it hurts like this…..but I thank you so much for your words and your courage. And I thank God for ministering to broken hearts through you and your precious little girl. You have blessed and encouraged me today! May He continue to use you powerfully to bring love, courage, and healing to this world! You are a special gift.

  10. Thank you for this post. Every word pierced me to the core–because I live it, too. Next Wednesday will mark 6 years since my own sweet daughter passed away. She was 28 and no longer a little child, but she was my firstborn and still my baby–no matter how old. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this in my Saturday Shoutouts post this week. Blessings to you and your family.

  11. This is beautiful Heather. Thank you for sharing your story. Once again, you touched my heart. While I have not lost a child through death, I know the feelings of grief and guilt all too well. You captured my heart. Thanks again and bless you this Easter.

  12. Oh my. My mom died seven months ago, quietly starving in a cancer-induced coma, and I am experiencing many of these things you write about. It comforts me that I am not the only one who has felt this way. Thank you for sharing, and giving hope.

  13. Sitting here with my tissues and stained face it still amazes me how a person I’ve never met can open the doors to her heart wide on a blog and I can FEEL you. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve always been embarrassed by my sensitivity, hiding and avoiding any emotional event because I cry so easily. Am touched to the core by happy, sad, mad and glad and CAN NOT help it. I’ve been told “you’re too sensitive” or “get over it” or “why are you like that?”……but it’s moments like this ….when I totally connect with another soul that I can smile and thank Him for the gift. Joy and pain live so close to one another – Emma was blessed beyond words to have had you as her Mother. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  14. Heather,
    Your post was so validating as we lost our daughter almost six months ago. I’ve often wondered what it will be like once we get past all the “firsts”. After 22 years with her, she was wound into every fiber of my life and there are very few moments when the vacuum of her absence is not at the forefront. We too had to make that decision to stop but that’s not what has plagued me. What Satan used was the week before it all went south – the shoulda, woulda, couldas that would possibly have prevented this horrible loss but really, how can I let guilt win when she has the most glorious prize? Would I really want to take that away from her? What it’s really about is me…not wanting to be without her. When the snake comes around – I remind him there’s no need for guilt because she won and that settles it. It’s been a mental battle but so far, I’m keeping him at bay. Thank you for sharing your heart…it is a precious privilege to be let into this process and God is using it!

  15. Heather, a friend just sent me a link to this post. It is beautiful. I too know the pain of living life in the wake of a child’s death. Five and a half months ago, my three-year-old son died suddenly in his sleep. I wrote this post today, http://settlemonroe.blogspot.com/2012/04/good-friday.html, about experiencing this Good Friday with a heart drawn to Jesus’ mother Mary. Peace to you.
    Love, Settle
    settlemonroe.blogspot.com

    • Ohh – settlemonroe, you are an incredibly talented writer and your story floods off the screen with grace and the gospel and your honesty ministers to me so much.

  16. Thank you for your honesty. There are so many hurting mamas out there that understand the depth of your pain. We lost our precious Evie, five years ago and I love sharing her story. I love that you want people to mention Emma and talk about her. It reinforces her life, doesn’t it? The battle is won and we can focus our eyes on things above. One day we’ll hold our babies again!

  17. You did not walk away, you were the awesome mother who knew how to love your Emma in life and in death and you have the promise of your faith: a restored Emma in heaven with you knows at.
    We know that God is with us!!!

  18. I don’t usually read the comments on most blogs…but our God drew me to these this morning. Our mutual grief and sadness and loss that ties us together is somehow an encouragement…knowing there are others that understand, and how God’s family is so big and so wonderful and we have so many sisters to share with…..Yes, I lost a daughter when she was 21 in a car accident….The first’s are hard…the second’s and third’s were harder because you feel so many have moved on. I have an amazing friend who continues to ask me about my daughter, and we talk and laugh about memories, and feelings, and cry together if needed. I pray you have that person who will always ask about Emma and remember her with you. Blessings and hugs to all of you who have posted a comment today. Our God is good…and our God is with us.

  19. My heart grieves for you. Thank you for weaving some of your story here for us, in a beautiful and hope-filled way. Bless you as you continue to walk out your days remembering your precious child. Your courage and love come through so very brilliantly. I am touched deeply by your words this day. God’s peace and and God’s continued healing touch this Easter weekend.

  20. I love you, Heather. You said, “I was astonished at how everything in the world went on without her.” I remember feeling the exact same way when my mother passed away, worried that everyone would forget. They don’t.

  21. God Bless You extra for what you do for all of us when you are going through so much yourself. What a precious Mom to Emma. I read about the spoons,and it touched my heart,when you let them lay. My son Joe suicided almost ten yrs.ago.I was walking around in a Godly Shocked way for quite a while. My first response at the news was to ask our God for strength.For over a year I left his skateboard sneakers where he left them.I left Jeans I was stitching brand tags onto for him.As mail came in his name I put the envelopes in his top bureau drawer.I couldn’t part with any of his things.I knew he was severely depressed,and I had done all that I could to help him.He was twenty but acted much younger.He graduated High School.He worked. I miss him every day.All this almost decade later.I hear his voice in my mind when I try.I try to let him have his candle to walk around Heaven with.He was sick with Mental illness,and I believe he went to be with God.God Bless You and your Family,and Emma in Heaven<3

  22. Heather, a friend directed me to this posting and I can connect with so much of what you’re feeling. I lost my 16yo in a car accident almost two months ago. The pain and everything about it is all still so raw. We are just starting to deal with our “firsts” and it is just plain hard. I liked what you said about finding the spoons around – I long for little reminders like that even as hard as it is to find them. I go into his room hoping to smell his cologne…the same cologne we told him he used too much of:-). Anyway, thank you for your thoughts on here.

    We are reminded every day that God is so good – and Easter is a holiday of such hope for us as believers. We will see HIM and our babies again.

  23. Thank you so very, very much. Your words are filled with profound expressions of grief. God bless and comfort you.

  24. Heather,
    God Bless you for sharing such a personal experience. Grief is something that many experience and few can articulate so beautifully. I have been walking this road for almost 5 years, and in my experience, the memories we have and the love we feel toward our departed loved one only grow stronger and deeper with time. I hope this brings you comfort as you continue your journey.
    In His grip,
    Debbie

  25. So true. Forrest Gump put it best when he said, “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.” I remember when I got the most horrid call that my uncle had very suddenly, very unexpectedly died and there just weren’t any words. There are just no words that capture the sorrow, the grief, the hurt, the loss that you have lived. Thank you for putting your loss to paper for us to share in your pain.

  26. heather,this touched my heart.i cry with you thru this 1 yr.the one thing that was screaming in my head was don’t let the desion to unplug her bring you grief.you loved her so much you new in your heart you were sending her home where she would be free from pain.you love her so much you would of switched placeses with her if it was possible.she is a part of you and that will never change.GOD was holding you when you made that choice to give her back to HIM.the yrs will never get easier you will just learn to move on until you too are HOME.my dad lost 2 fingers[wedding band and middle]to a farming accident.he had been married maybe 9 or 10 yrs.those fingers even though gone would twitch and act like they were still there{i learned that this is phantom fingers}.i’m telling you this because like the phantom fingers your heart will twitch like your sweet angel is there even if she is not.lots of love and gentle hugs sweet one

  27. Heather,

    Thank you for being sooo open & honest about a very private subject. So sorry for the loss of your precious Emma. I can’t imagine what you’re experiencing. Prayers for you.

    I do understand something about loss. My mother got dementia and sundowners. During the 2 years she had the diseases–I could feel & see her slipping away more and more each week. Alas God finally took her home 3 years this August. It was tough to lose her, but good not to see her suffering.

    My dad has taken 2-3 years to adjust to living alone and still misses her very very much–who wouldn’t at almost 58 years of marriage. He has grieved & cried a lot.

    I’m praying that as time goes on God will heal you & make each day a little better for you. Know that someday you will be with her in heaven & she will be perfect in every way!

  28. Humble Heather, There is Something so inviting about your post. An authenticity. You wrestle well with a Good God Who knows. Luke 6:8 ~ He knows your thoughts. No one else does. And as you face this gigantic episode of losing your little one, Deut 20:1, you wage a war with a tattered soul and a tantalizing trust. Your heart may melt but it will never be as water, Joshua 7:5—there is such substance in your life, no matter what, you trust Him. No words suffice. I’ll never meet you in this life but this post made me so want to sit down and ask you all about your precious girl and make you tell me all about her and what this is really like for you. Oh, dear girl, may you find a little more comfort this Resurrection Day than you know even this day (how in the world does that happen in an instance) in the One Whose own dolorous procession just ended yesterday. He is so alive in You and you so honor Him in your own dolorous beautiful words. Happy Easter Heather. Bev
    PS – I’m an English teacher. Just taught The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and put your name on my bulletin board beside this quote from the poem: “My life is measured in spoons.” Tucking your spoon story in the file of my heart.

  29. Heather, my name is Bev. I left the comment before this one about God knowing, and your tantalizing trust, and the substance in your life, and your own dolorous journey, and the Prufrock quote: My life is measured in spoons. Didn’t mean to be anonymous. Just forgot to fill out the info before I sent it. Bev Brandon

  30. Thank you so much for this post today. I needed to read this today – that grief and guilt go hand in hand and be reminded that the guilt is satan’s weapon. I am a new incourage reader and this is only the second post I have read of yours but I have been so blessed as you have allowed God to minister through your family’s story. One of my favourite passages is Isaiah 45:3 where God promises to give us the ‘treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places that we might know He calls us by name’. I pray that in the secret places of your heart, in the dark times of your grief and pain that you would know God pouring into you His riches and grace, and that you would know that He knows you, sees you. Blessings and prayers x

  31. You’ve been on my mind and heart for weeks, with every thought of Easter and knowing the timing of Emma’s death. Her life was much too short from our point of view, but oh, my….how GREAT her impact through those few years! How you (and your family) share her story, how that relates to you, I KNOW has ministered greatly to those who are hurting. Your honesty, vulnerability and depth is a blessing Heather.

    I still grieve your loss and miss seeing Emma through your eyes, but when you share another glimpse I’m ever inspired.

    HUGS…prayers…and much love.

    xo

  32. truly inspiring message… yes, it’s not about us but about Him.. not about what we did and we’re doing but what He did and is doing…

    i am also still in pain of my father’s death.. everything’s so sudden and my family’s still coping up.. sometimes i dont notice myself spending a lot of time recalling every piece of memory about my father while he was alive and putting myself in a box of loneliness

    but God knows how hurt we are… He heals the brokenhearted… He knows our worries… and He could lift us up.. if only we’ll allow Him into our lives

    and He also use people to testify about faith and what miracles He can do
    just like yours Ms Heather… truly inspiring 🙂 God bless you

    thank You dear Lord for saving us…

  33. I’m so grateful for your heartfelt words. Just tonight I was so overwhelmed by grief…my father has Alzheimer’s disease, he is precious and a man of God. But tonight especially I felt so overwhelmed by the everyday emotions of the sadness that does not quite leave…your precious words were like water to a parched heart. God has been so good to me and I am reminded to lean on Him, and not to let myself live in the weariness of the day to day circumstances. Give yourself a big hug from me. I know we will probably never meet but we are joined together by faith and grace.
    Blessings to you.
    Debbie

  34. I love what you said here: “I finally had to realize that people are just that, people. It is hard when you are grieving not to take everything personally. Others do not know what to say, and often times they say things that they shouldn’t. (For example, someone told me with a smile on their face “At least now you will have more free time.”) It is so easy when you are in the middle of grief to become self focused and offended.”

    My first, my only, my precious daughter, Eve, was stillborn at 8 months of pregnancy this past November. There was no warning, and no cause could be determined. And now, 5 months later, I am angry — at God, but also at people for not being the perfect comforters.

    Except that they can’t be. How could I expect them to be? And yet I do. I am trying to learn. Thank you for the encouragement. Also, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Emma, but am so grateful that both she and Eve and all those dead in Christ are not dead at all but truly, vibrantly, audaciously alive. Love to you and your family.