Letters to Taylor: On Tension

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Oh Taylor,

Here we are in the emergency room, a place I try my hardest to stay away from. When you lost control of your eyelids and your eyes shone like glass underneath, I knew I had to make the call. You had been vomiting even after there was nothing left in your system; I knew you needed more help than I could give. Thankfully, after a second try, we found the right medication for your nausea. Now, we’re waiting for the IV drip to re-hydrate your body so that we can go home. This is the plan, but I never know when you might change it.

And change it you did. This morning I’m continuing this letter from your hospital room after you were admitted at 12:45am. Sweet T, my heart aches for your suffering. There is a madness you are living right now. I would call it “tension.”

It’s a place of unknowns and mystery and lack of understanding. It leaves me wishing that you could look at me and speak your feelings, both physical and emotional. Tension is a place of in-between.

My in-between is trying to figure out what is best. Long ago, I made decisions for you based on how I thought you were feeling or responding. Since your responses have slowly diminished, I’ve had to make decisions on intuition. Really, it’s just gut feeling. And honestly, I’m not good at gut choices. I used to be, but after having others guess or frown or ponder my decisions, I gradually have become less confident. Tension.

I’ve had to move from trying to figure out how you feel, to thinking about how I would feel in your situation. It might not make sense to folks who’ve never cared for a loved one who is losing all grasp on life. But the responsibility of making decisions for someone who can’t make their own has never been more all-consuming.

Tension is what results when one parent processes grief and suffering with one set of thinking while another processes a different way. Tension is when one friend thinks one way and the other believes a different way to be better. It’s when there are no hard and fast rules to go by. It’s when the lines of life get blurred and no decision is guaranteed to produce a certain result.

And yet, here you are. Your fingers curled around the stuffed animal given to you in the hospital is a precious sign that your spirit is still alive and well. That even amid tension, your heart is beating, and your lungs are moving air. As long as you are breathing, life has meaning. God provides your breath. His love is inhaled and exhaled each time you breathe because you are His creation.

The tension we both feel in these scary moments won’t be resolved by kind gestures or words. It can’t be relieved with medicine or bandages. While all those things are wonderful and well-appreciated, the only true relief for tension is  the presence of Jesus.

Girl, I consider it a spiritual victory that I have not used any foul language in discussion with medical professionals through the last two days. No joke. You know your mama. There’s nothing that makes me more passionate than fighting for the best of my loved ones. Exasperation and exhaustion have threatened me, but when I look at you, the one who has so much more to be exasperated and exhausted over than I do, I’m reminded that this tension puts us in a place we truly long to be- closer to Jesus. He’s using the tension to pull us even tighter into his arms. I’m pretty sure you’re going to see Him face to face before me. I’m throwing myself at His feet again and asking Him to help us feel His hand holding you up and holding me together.

Looks like we’ll be going home soon.

I love you,


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 Dementiae


  1. Rachel
    The words that come to me right now after reading this is I can only imagine. I’ve watched sibling slip away and I’ve watched my parents who gave me birth slip away and yes those moments were painful but I can only imagine my own child … Husband and I have been through rough times with both our kids but following your story I can say it was only for a moment… but this for you has been a season of emotion and strength and love and decisions and thoughts and maybe days of not thinking…
    As I read about your words to Taylor that it’s Gods breath that breathes life that’s lift in her are still speaking scripture into her process of this life into her next as she leaves your arms into the arms of the one who created her. Your an amazing mother and woman of God and I pray as you walk through these last days that Gods love surrounds you and comforts you and he holds you in his arms as he takes a part of you (Taylor) unto himself. May be allow such you a connection from heaven as never before and let you see Taylor whole again as she walks the streets of Gold…
    God bless you and your family.

  2. I am so sorry for your pain. I am so grateful for these posts. This one particularly blessed my life as I could relate to much of what you said as I fight for my child in a different way. Your words give me comfort and hope. Thank you.

  3. Kary Spencer Ross says:

    Thank you for writing to Taylor. She is blessed by you every minute of her days. God bless you as you carry her through these hard days. He is taking care of you both and I’m sure He is crying with you and hugging you both. Take care and know many of us are praying for Taylor’s well being and your stamina and strength.

  4. Thank You, for sharing your own personal journey with Taylor to the world. I had been dwelling on my son’s leaky heart valve, have wires on his chest, not being able to go to high school, sports, friendships, then I read your letter to your daughter. It was moving….Christ Jesus is touching lives through your letters from the heart. May the LORD Jesus, continue to bless and strengthen you both!

  5. Cecilia Kirkman says:

    Lord Jesus, be so very close to Taylor at this time particularly when her reliance on Your love for her is at its peak….be close to Rachel as HER reliance on You, not just for Taylor, but also for herself, just cannot even be quantified … please Lord, be her strength but please come with Your peace on them both, also on Matt & the rest of the Family…!

    Please be close to Taylor, Rachel, Matt & the entitre , for in Your Name, we ask, Lord Jesus,

    x. X. x.

  6. Paula Gershoony says:

    May you feel Jesus in everything you do! He is peace! I pray Taylor does not have to suffer anymore than God’s will!!! You are an amazing Momma!!!! He will tell you sister all He wants..trust
    I will keep him in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Me for he trusts in me.
    Isaiah 26:3

  7. Heidemarie says:

    My heart goes out to you all. The strength God must have given you to keep doing what you’re doing for your precious little girl. May the Lord hold you both close in his arms.

  8. Praying for you and Taylor as you face these unknown tensions ?

  9. Pray for God’s love and mercy to surround all of you. And that you will His presence.

  10. Prayers. There’s nothing more agonizing than decisions you must make on behalf of another who’s incapacitated. I had to do it for my father. Those of us who have walked this road know that the right decision is the one you make. We all choose differently and we all choose according to our beliefs. God will guide you and your decision will be right. He has promised to walk every step with you and you will know His will because He will show you. Praying for peace and faith in the Holy Spirit to be your guide.

  11. Sending prayers to Taylor and you and the family… Asking healing from our physician in heaven. In Jesus Name Amen

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