Letters to Taylor: On Loss

Letters to Taylor: On Loss

My Taylor,

Life has been so strange this week without you here. On Monday, I thought that perhaps once we laid your body to rest at the cemetery, I would feel like we could find a “new normal.” I’d heard others who have lost loved ones use that term before. It seemed that the fog we had entered in the last few weeks of your life might start to lift. I was wrong. It has only thickened with each passing day.

One of my dear friends who lost her husband years ago had texted me and said she will touch base in a few weeks. “Because life will go on for everyone else and you’ll still be wading through concrete.” I can see how she is right about that.

Your brothers and sisters didn’t want to go to school today. We are all exhausted and it seems it has been years since you left us while it was only been 9 days. I was tempted to crawl back into bed once everyone was off to work and school, but since I had coached and texted the kids to try to harness their energy and thoughts into focusing on what must be done, I figured I should take my own advice.

I have a large list of things to do and many more issues to think through but accomplishing any of it seems completely overwhelming. There are things that no one talks about when you lose a loved one.

 Things like the lone bag of clothes you were wearing when you died just sitting in the back corner of the funeral home when  we arrived for the viewing. Things like sobbing brothers and sisters who are met with the reality of life without you when they see your body lying in a casket at the front of the room. Things like folding your clothes fresh out of the dryer and moving to put them away in your drawers, only to realize that they won’t be needed ever again.

There are simple, everyday tasks that have really made your mama reflect this week. I opened the mail to find an insurance claim rejection deeming your last hospital visit as medically unnecessary. I came to the cemetery to see if your temporary nameplate was posted and instead, I found deer and the remains of your sister wreath. (I had to wonder if you told those hungry deer to have at it.)

While I was sitting here at the cemetery writing to you, I heard a car approaching. In an effort not to block the road, I started the van, only to hear the obnoxious honk of an impatient driver who felt her need to pay respects to the dead was more urgent than mine.

The truth is that life is just as unfair as it was when you left. I’m so glad you are in Heaven, but I’m sorry we must do life on this earth without you. It’s not going to be easy; I’m so grateful we have Jesus. His grace and strength will see us through as it always has.

For today, I will hug longer, smile sweeter, talk kinder, and pace slower. Maybe a few others will join me in seeing the importance of those seemingly small values and a movement to shift the unfairness of the world can be made visible.

I love you. But more than that, I especially miss you.

Your Mommy

Letters to Taylor: On Battles

Letters to Taylor: On Adoption

Letters to Taylor: On New Beginnings

Letters to Taylor: On Christmas

Letters to Taylor: On Tension

Letters to Taylor: On Acceptance

Letters to Taylor: On Grief

Letters to Taylor: On Suffering

Letters to Taylor: On Heaven

Letters to Taylor: On Control

Letters to Taylor: On Expectations

Letters to Taylor: On Anger

Letters to Taylor: On Gratefulness

Letters to Taylor: On Dementia

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21 Comments

  1. I just heard some of your story this morning on the radio. After getting off the train and into work where I had reception I googled you. The last part of the broadcast that I heard, you were saying that Taylor probably wouldn’t be here much longer. To read your letters to her and to hear how you pushed through despite what felt better, is truly a blessing to my life. We sometimes find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Thank you for inspiring me to Trust God in all His decisions for my life. And for the things happening around me. Thank you for being so brave. And Thank you for being the vessel through which the world got to share Taylor and Gods hope and blessings for our lives. May God’s Peace Always be with you! ?

  2. Dear Rachel, my heart goes out to you and your precious family as you walk walk through this time of grief. May you continue to seek and experience peace in Christ that surpasses understanding. I hear your call for us to see the importance of seemingly small values. I too, will endeavour today to hug my loved ones a little longer, smile sweeter, talk kinder, and especially pace slower. Big hug.

  3. Liz Couper says:

    Hi Rachel, on the 10th January it was my dear Mum’s anniversary. A day i will never forget even after many years have passed. I found a little tribute that i loved and would like to share with you.
    ” Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure,
    You are loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure”.
    I know your pain is raw right now and nothing seems to heal or soothe that wound. Given time though, wounds do heal. The scar is left but the wound heals.
    Our Heavenly Father is taking care of your precious Taylor now and He won’t fail you or her. May God bless you and sustain you and comfort you (and the family) each day until the wound heals and you feel strong again. Much love and prayers for you all. ?❤

  4. Jaci Myers says:

    Continuing to pray for you and your family. You are not alone.

  5. Praying for you and for your family, Rachel <3
    7 years ago my grandma went to Heaven after battling brain cancer that slowly took her from us before she breathed her last. Her husband of 61 years, my grandpa, came to live with my family in the months after it happened because he couldn't stand to sleep in their house alone. I could hear him cry at night because his bedroom was right beside mine, and bearing his grief was even harder than carrying my own.
    Winters are difficult. My grandma's birthday, her heavenly birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas come in quick succession in two months. I'm so glad God gave you one more year of holidays with Taylor before calling her into His arms in what is for her truly a New year. Towards the end of her life, my grandma was entirely dependent on us for everything. My grandpa's entire world revolved around her, and everything else was put on hold as he cared for her. "Finding a new normal" for him wasn't just a shift; it was an entire reset of his days and mindset. I think he would agree with others who have commented that it doesn't feel like life is normal anymore, even now. But I think that phrase merely means finding a new routine to our daily life. Before her passing, my grandpa's waking hours were devoted to my grandma, and the majority of his thoughts were centered on her. When she was healed in God's hands, it was a painful transition for grandpa to redirect his time and his thoughts to other people and matters that needed his love and attention and focus.
    I've learned something about grief. When we first lose someone (and everyone knows the Hollywood cliche of "they're not really gone as long as you remember them" is all crap; even if we sometimes feel their presence as if God was allowing their spirits to interact with ours somehow, they're not here in the way we want them to be and remembering does not erase the terrible ache of missing), when the void spawned by their absence first gapes open, there are a lot of triggers to the pain. Our hearts and minds expect to see them and expect them to still take part in our lives, and when that doesn't happen, it hurts badly. We miss them so much. There are lots of triggers that vividly and often suddenly remind us of our loss and grief. As time goes by, it's true what others say – you never stop missing them, no matter how many years pass. What I've realized is that grief changes, and I think one of the main way it changes is that our expectations change. I don't step into my grandpa's house at Christmastime and expect to be greeted by my grandma anymore. It hurts to have that expectation change, but it's necessary to align myself with reality. When my expectations gradually changed, the triggers that made me think of my grief over my grandma changed and many disappeared. When I do think about her, I miss her just as much now as the night she left to be in Jesus's presence. But she doesn't consume my thoughts like she once did, so the missing isn't all-consuming of my days. Expectations change. Missing doesn't.
    People handle grief differently; like most of life, there's no formula that applies to everyone. My grandpa visits his wife's gravesite often. I never have except on the downpouring day (she loved rain) when we laid her body to rest since its work was done and her spirit no longer needed it. Visiting her grave doesn't help me or my father (she's his mother), but it does my grandpa. After she went to Heaven, my grandpa filled his house with pictures of her and tore his heart into pieces looking at them. One of my uncles counseled him to take them down and stop triggering his own grief, and grandpa did. For a time that seemed to help. Now his house is filled with her pictures again, and he likes walking down memory lane of their lives together with anyone who visits.
    Praying for comfort and wisdom for you all and that His grace would overflow. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  6. Sylvia Lafond says:

    Thank you all for your comments…somewhat overwhelmed at times and led to this site this morning. Tears brim & flow but hope restored via all the sharings.

  7. Your letters have been such an inspiration to me! My mom recently went to be with the Lord. She was my best friend and my spiritual mentor. The void almost seems unbearable at times. It’s those times I get alone with Him
    and sometimes cry until I can’t believe I have any tears left. Other times the Holy Spirit comforts me in knowing that she no longer knows pain or suffering, alive now in His presence and seeing all the splendors of heaven.
    We had a similar experience at the grave site. But the Lord spoke to my heart and said this is only a temporary holding place for the body. Soon it will break open and perfect resurrected bodies will rise to meet our Lord !
    Taking one minute, one hour, one day at the time with His comfort will walk you through this. God bless you and your family!
    Much love and prayer!!

  8. Rachel, my heart just breaks for you and your family. I don’t know who coined the phrase “new normal” but since the day our daughter passed away (twenty years ago in April), we haven’t had one “normal” day of any kind. You see, the natural order of things on this earth is now out of whack. Children aren’t supposed to pass away before their parents. Thank you so much for sharing your letters to Taylor. They are beautiful. However, it was heartbreaking to read some of them because it was apparent you really had no idea of what was coming. No one could. The way God helps me everyday started the first morning after our sunshine girl passed away. I told God I could not go on and He told me He was going to help me one minute at a time. So that is how we began this journey, literally one minute at a time, then five, then ten, then…until we have come to today. It still seems like everything happened just yesterday, but from that first minute I learned to be thankful every minute for the time we had with our daughter, to talk about her, to laugh at things she said and did. Tomorrow morning Jesus will help me get out of bed again and we will celebrate our daughter’s life yet we yearn to hug her again.
    God bless.

  9. Glenda Pugh says:

    I am definitely feeling the pain of your grief and your loss I lost my husband 6 years ago So you would think that would have Some good advice for you all I can really say is go easy on yourself. Don’t let anybody rush you or make you do something you don’t want to do. If you feel like to staying in bed… do it. Some self care does a world of good. I cry and pray for you… with love.

  10. Hugs to you all…I can’t begin to understand and yet somehow feel so connected to you all through your letters…I cant wait to meet Taylor in heaven one day….

  11. Praying for you and your family. I can relate on some level as I lost my husband July 12th, 2018 due to cardiac arrest. There’s the tension of Joy…that they are in heaven with Jesus…yet sadness that they are no longer here.

    The fog for me and brain exhaustion is lifting…some 6 months down the road. I’ve been blogging and tracking my progress more as mike markers on my journey. Although this was not the plan I thought would be ours…it is…so I’m pressing into Jesus…knowing my husband is happy and whole with Jesus. And I’m daily standing at the gate…eyes fixed on heaven knowing this old world is temporary….and eternity….forever!

    Praying much for you!

  12. i feel your pain Rachel. a couple things that really helped my husband and I cope with the loss of our daugter were…….1. a couples grieving retreat with Nancy Guthrie in nashville(respite retreat) and/or While We’re Waiting retreat in Hot Springs, AK
    2. two FB grieving groups. While We’re Waiting and Heartache and Hope
    I pray for Gods healing as u walk thru this excruciating journey?
    blessings and hugs,
    kristin philipps
    Lookingforeternity.com

  13. From one bereaved Mum to another, my heart goes out to you Rachel
    It’s been four years since we lost our Darling Daughter and our lives are forever changed. You’ve been so courageous and I have admired your strength throughout. Please take care of yourself because it’s now that you will need God more than ever. May he give you the strength to carry on without your precious Taylor, God bless.

  14. There are things no one talks about when you lose a child, not just a loved one. The following days, weeks, months, years, and even minutes and seconds will be filled with tears, joys, laughter, and sorrow so great you’ll wonder how you and your body will be able to bear it, let alone your family. But, as you say, you have Jesus and He IS our strength. It has been 20 years this year for me since my first son was stillborn and I still have days that bring me to my knees. Since that horrible day, I’ve suffered two miscarriages as well. And just one year ago, I lost my dream job. I fight daily to CHOOSE JOY. Your ministry has been a true blessing for me and I thank you for it. As you journey through this path that none of us walks with open arms, you never walk alone, my precious sister friend.

  15. I feel your pain. As I read this letter it is so real to me. I lost my son on Dec 12. Everything you write is what we are going through as well. I have been praying for you and I will continue to. Thank you for writing these letters and sharing them.
    Love

    1. Faith, I am so sorry to hear about your son. When I pray for Rachel and her family i will also pray for yours. God bless you!

  16. tears and hugs. it is so hard to find that new pace. Allow the grief – it brings healing. Get rest, seek quiet.
    your letters to Taylor have been a blessing to so many of us.

    praying for you and your family.

  17. Thank you Rachel for such an honest post. I was going through what seemed to be “a lot” today and I was so angry and had such a wrong heart about all that had gone “wrong” for me today. By reading your post, it made me realize that so many people, you in particular, in the world are going through a great deal more than the small fraction of what felt like the end of the world to me today. I am very sorry for your loss, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Thank you for your continued faith in Jesus no matter how “wrong” it felt to lose your child. It’s not actually a loss, but heaven’s gain. I know that you and your family will all see her again although its a trying time now. Thank you for continuing to be faithful in doing what God has called you to do — to reach other women. You’ve reached me today and your unwaivering faith has inspired me to continue trusting God no matter what. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    May God bless you and your family !

  18. My dear sweet friend; the ebb and flow of life will continue on and there will be times when we need to step into our grief and embrace it while holding the hand of our Lord and Savior; odd I know but 7 years of living through it after losing my only Son has taught me many things that only in the last while can I even think of sharing. People will tell you many things and you may feel that you need to move on but you need to guard this time with yourself and your family; you will feel many things, it is okay, HE is with you and HE is able to sustain and comfort and HE can take anything you need to tell HIM. We as a family continue to grow and learn from each other; we support each other and have a healthy sense of what grief is; so far removed from anything I have ever experienced before. I just cannot explain it fully sometimes but the Holy Spirit is amazing. Hugs to you and your family; this is a journey.

    1. Katt, you worded that so beautifully. I have found so much comfort, even in the depths of grief, knowing that the loved ones that I have “lost” are all in Heaven. Both of my parents, several siblings, and a son that God blessed me with, but took him back into Heaven before he even had a chance to meet me and I, him. When I feel sad and the feeling of loneliness overwhelms me, I imagine what they must be doing in Heaven. I even get a little envious of them. I long for the day when we will all be together again, never to be separated again. God bless you Katt, and God bless you Rachel, you all are in my thoughts and prayers continually.

  19. My heart hurts for al of you. May God wrap his arms around you and give you peace, comfort and strength.

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