I found joy in the morning, I found love afternoon, I found hope in the evening and I found peace the whole day through.

Venturing out to find my office space today, the road led me here. Such wonderful memories I have of this place sitting out in a bass boat with my husband. As he trolled the waters and cast for the next big daddy fish, I inhaled the beauty, listened to the quiet and dwelled on the peace that this place brings to me. Little islands dot this body of water and in mid summertime the blueberries fill the many bushes that surround the tiny islands. I recall one summer outing where the bushes were heavy laden with blueberries but we hadn’t planned and thus had nothing to collect the berries.  Bob swam out to one of the bushes and loaded up his swim trunk pockets with the berries. I still recall in my mind’s eye him swimming back, pockets weighing him down, as he carefully got back into the boat without losing any of them. Ha Ha, it was quite the sight.

So as I escaped here with stolen moments, I savored the time to write.

This week my two friends Sylvia and Mary along with myself  started a group in our community called Hearts of Hope; a grief group for moms and grandmas who have experienced the ultimate loss, the death of their child / grandchild. I have to wonder how it is that I am at a place where God is using my deepest hurt to use it for good? But then I remember that our God is an awesome God, a God of restoration, hope and complete love. The women who attended our meeting came from different places, physically and emotionally. All have suffered immeasurably in their losses, whether it’s been fifteen years or two months, we found ourselves in the same place as we grapple to find our way, at our own pace. We are surrounded by new friends who understand exactly how and what we feel. I have to wonder if our children are together in heaven and have somehow orchestrated through God’s hands our new connections with one another. I like to think that our kids are cheering us on as we conquer this almost insurmountable “Mt. Kilimanjaro ” in our lives.

As I found the above picture to share here, it brought to mind a memory of Kenzie’s friend Adria and her climb up Mt. Kilamanjaro the summer after her graduation.   To hear Adria explain her physical and mental hardships as she climbed, I think on the obstacles that we as moms have encountered in the aftermath of our children’s  deaths. Friends and family expect us to move on or to let go, but as a mom who loves deeply, grief is not something that you can extrapolate yourself from and just start over. Grief changes its face with time, but it is there.  Adria told me about a dream that she had the night before she reached Kilamanjaro’s summit.

Adria: “On the night before I summited Kilimanjaro, I was secretly doubting myself; my physical ability to continue the climb.  We were expected to wake up at midnight to start our climb to the top. Previous hours had me fighting with myself to fall asleep. I had to remember to have my Makenzie Goode T-shirt ready to show off at the summit.  That was my priority. So I fell asleep with it next to me anxiously.  In my dream, I unexpectedly was experiencing Kenzie dancing wildly in a white room with a couple of other friends.  I remember feeling really confused about the scenario because I knew it couldn’t possibly be real. But I wanted so badly to be a part of it.  Kenzie was beautiful and happily dancing to no music.  I remember feeling less anxious as the dream went on. Makenzie’s smile has always inspired me.  And this time she looked directly at me, and without a word, I knew she was laughing at me that I even had a slight doubt in myself.  I woke up at midnight, pitch black and freezing, feeling so whole and inspired.  Makenzie had reignited my energy and self-belief, as I believe she does for most people who have had her in their lives.  I thank her every day for that experience”.

With her heart of Hope, Adria, with Kenzie’s Traveling T-shirt,  made it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  

So as we moms and grandmothers conquer our “Kilamanjaro “, we’ll discover the biggest lesson that is there for us, as we finally grasp our greater purpose and use it to better ourselves and even the world around us.

I found joy in the morning, I found love afternoon, I found hope in the evening and I found peace the whole day through.