Good Grief Blog

Amanda Probst started a very cathartic blog a while ago to help those of us dealing with loss to scrapbook our memories and feelings. She has several permanent designers who have been through a variety of losses who contribute regularly to the blog. And then she also asks guest bloggers from time to time to share their experiences/feelings.

Today it's my turn.

For those of you that don't know, I lost my son, Joseph, to colon cancer in April of 2007. He was thirteen years old at the time, our oldest child, and a wonderful boy! He was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at just 3 1/2 years old and suffered through that for many years. In addition to his stomach problems, he also had asthma which meant he would often have bronchitis and pneumonia. We spent nearly every year of his life in the hospital at least once. He was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2006. Joey was a trooper and had the most positive, lovely attitude throughout his entire life. He was a HUGE blessing in our lives, and everyone that had the chance to meet him found him to be a very special boy. (You can read more about his story by reading some of the entries with "Joey" in them. Here is one.)

I really struggled to write this journaling.

There is a large part of me that is still not yet ready to face the grief. I can only let little bits of it leak out now and then because the real and deepest grief is so large that it consumes me.

I miss him terribly.

Here is my layout:

The journaling reads:

One more day?

What would I do with one more day?

24 hours more with my boy—my sweet, sweet boy!

It would begin with an embrace so tight and so full he would grunt as the air rushed from his lungs. And we would laugh. He’d be taller than me. He’d tease me about that. And I’d love it and squeeze him again so afraid that he would disappear again. I would stand on my tip toes and whisper I love you, I love you, I love you until my voice becomes hoarse and he tires of hearing it.

Then I’d wrap my arms through his and pull him to the rest of the family letting them hug and embrace him, but I’d never let go.

He’d sit and tell us all he’s been busy with in heaven—who’s he’s teaching, if he’s seen Miss Jamie, what it’s like. We’d drink it in—hoping that he’s happy there, and knowing that he is—and knowing there’s still a pull to him there. Like he’s here but not quite here. It hurts to know that, but I also know our time together is just an interruption in the flow of life and the life after.

Jimmy would bring him Legos and tell him about the games he’s learning to play. He would crawl up on his lap and sit close and listen to his heart beating and try to remember every moment they shared together and wishing for endlessly more of it. He would smile shyly up at his big brother and fierce pride that this is “his” brother would wash over him and he would settle into Joey never taking his eyes from him.

Katelyn would hang back a bit. Shy to see her brother she hasn’t seen in three years. He wouldn’t wait for her. He would wrap his arm around her, look down at her and say, “I miss you, Kate.” Then she would smile, and she would cry. She’d cry that ugly cry she’s been holding back the entire time he’s been gone. And he would wrap her up snug and safe and pat her back and tell her that it’s going to be ok. And they would sit with her hand on his knee and she would feel calm and safe again.

And Brett. Oh Brett. He would weep. He would pick Joey up in a giant embrace and they would weep together. And Joey would tell Brett the words he’s needed to hear since he left us—that he really is ok and that we did everything we could for him and “It’s ok, Dad.” And Brett would want to believe him—want to believe him with every fiber of his being but being his Dad he can’t quite let it go.

It wouldn’t be a time spent playing games or revisiting an activity we once loved.

Rather it would be touch and smell and comfort and tears and peace and laughter.

And after 24 hours it would NEVER be enough!

You can read more about this layout and find other amazing layouts on the subject of "Daydreams/Dreaming" at the Good Grief Blog. I encourage you to check it out as we have all dealt with a loss in our lives: loss of a job, end of a marriage/relationship, loss of a loved one, loss of personal property due to calamity. Loss never quite escapes us. It really is a great blog, and I want to thank Amanda for the opportunity to share my heart (even when it's painful).


  1. thank you for sharing this. Beautiful.

  2. This is so incredible. I wept as I read it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your heart in such an open way.

  3. I have followed your story from a distance. It is very touching! You are a very giving person to be able to share your stories with all of us! Bless you!

  4. You are so very brave to share and I can't imagine what it took for you to write it. Your faith is so special.

  5. Jen,
    I have only recently found your blog (within the last 6 months). Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. It is truly a blessing and I can't begin to tell you how much it is appreciated. Your faith is a testament to us all and a reminder to hold everyone closely. Thank you is not enough, but thank you.


  6. what beautiful journalling - I couldn't help but wipe away the tears as I read it. And a truly beautiful layout to present it on too.

  7. Crying now. You have such amazing strength, Jen. Wish I could just give you a bear hug right now.

  8. I started reading your blog about a month ago. I can't even begin to comprehend what you have gone/are still going through. I'm not sure what I would do If I lost one of my babies.

    It will be 8 years this summer that I lost my brother in a swimming accident. Loss hurts. Writing about it always seems to help a little more, if not for anything but to remember.

    My thoughts are with you.

  9. Jersey Girl Anne7:13 PM

    So glad that you were able to share alittle bit of Joey with us. I knew that he had cancer but never knew what kind. My dad died from colon cancer but I have never heard of a young child having it. I have been reading your blog for quite awhile and you are a brave woman!!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing such an emotional page. Scrapping about life means not all of the pages will be happy and wonderful. You did an amazing job and we are all fortunate to be able to see and read it. I only started following your blog today through Shimelle's class and I have been so moved. Your strength is amazing.

  11. I can't believe it's been 3 years almost since you last saw Joey. What a beautiful layout and what beautiful journalling. My heart breaks for you and your family, and the loss you've experienced, and I pray that God's peace will fill your hearts and your lives.


  12. oh my word, jen. this is amazing. YOU are amazing. & so inspiring. & so very brave. i couldn't even bring myself to go there yet....major anxiety just thinking about it.

    ((((HUGE HUGS)))).

  13. My heart is aching after reading this. I just recently found your blog, and now...not only do I admire your crafting talent. I also admire your strength. Peace to you and your family.

  14. I'm just sitting here crying after reading this. Thank you for sharing and always being an inspiration!
    Katja x

  15. That was absolutely beautiful. I lost my sister and my mother 8 months apart, and my 47-year-old husband had a stroke six months later. It was all overwhelming to me, but I know it can't begin to compare to the loss of a child. May God's peace continue to envelope you and your family.

  16. I got through the first few sentences and had to stop! God bless you! You are AMAZING! I totally understand about letting grief out in bits and pieces...otherwise you whole being would just shatter.

  17. this is beautiful. you really are so amazingly strong.

  18. oh goodness...i started crying after the first sentence. I will have to try and read this later. ((HUGS)) to you Jen!!

  19. I am almost speechless. you have written with such a reverent love that I could actually 'feel' it. Tears in my eyes, a lump in my in my heart that because of Christ....our goodbyes are never forever!

  20. You are so brave and strong! I had no intensions to cry, but I couldn't hold my tears back. Reminds me how much more I should love my kids everyday.
    Just think about that amazing reunion that awaits ones who believe!

  21. Thank you for sharing very touching.

  22. My heart breaks for you.


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