Layers of Grief

As Mother’s Day approaches I tend to write the same post each year. Losing my mom was one of the most difficult times in my life. Little did I know that losing my daughter, my only child would top that.

When I reflect on the many layers of loss that I have experienced during my lifetime. Not unlike many of you, those layers can create various levels of response from us especially during holidays.

Understanding that the definition of loss means something very different to many. We often connect death=loss; however loss=can cross many lines. Loss of freedom; loss of one’s rights; loss of health; loss of a job; loss of financial comfort; etc. When you experience a loss of something, your response may be different each time but what we may not realize is it can accumulate over time. Blurring the lines from one loss to another.

Grief is a multi-layered process and experience. Each uniquely different from one’s experience to another. Grief’s layers can at times fold over unto each other creating a confusing and uncomfortable response. The realization that my reaction to a situation may be driven by a loss I experienced in the past.

Layer after layer of grief and loss have molded my beliefs even today. It has bearing on how I respond – which is usually walking away – the pain is just to hard to bare if I stood and faced it. That in and of itself is another form of loss. I’m not sure I ever knew as a child what normal was or should be. As an adult, It has made me grateful for the smaller things. Growing up I did not know if food would be on the table; or clothes for school or toys to play with. As an adult I have faced all of that and have been very successful in creating a great life. But in a dark spot deep in my memories lives this fear of losing it all, again.

Today, I am learning how to respond differently. To redirect my thoughts and feelings. I am grateful for the ability to work and provide those things that I longed for as a child. I take great care of what I have because I know what it’s like to live a life without as a young girl and to loss it all as an adult.

The lesson here is to understand and move forward. To look around, hug those around you. Do not take things or people for granted as they could be gone tomorrow. In this volatile world we find ourselves in – now more than ever being grateful for each moment has become most important. Being bitter and remorseful only brings more loss and misery. Gratitude will bring peace.

Until next time,



Writing a book about my journey of loss and beyond has finally happened. I am a published author. I’ve worked on this book for 10+ years now. It was birthed from this blog and represents my journey from beginning to where I am today. I have so many to thank who have helped me along the way. But mostly, I want to thank you, my followers. Some of you have been with me for a long time. It’s not lost on me that you stayed, you read and sometimes even commented.

I pushed a lot of this content over to my FaceBook Page (under the same name) to help others who may not have found my blog. I’ve gotten so many comments and notes of encouragement to write the book and now it is finished.

The hard copies will arrive Thursday. That will be a joyful, yet sorrowful moment. It’s taken me years to finalize my thoughts because I wanted to get it right for you. I wanted to make sure you found it helpful as I found many other authors before me.

In the meantime, you can purchase the ebook or print version from the link below. I’d be honored if you chose either or if you chose to just stay with my blog – that is ok too. There is more content and context in the book as I walk through my journey both past, present and future.

I’m forever missing my Brittany and she is with me always. She has guided me through and while at times, felt alone and she was silent, I waited patiently for the right time to push forward. Now is that time.

Until next time,


Broken Dreams

When a child dies so too does a parent’s dreams of what could have been. The dreams they had for their child. Dreams of success, dreams of weddings, dreams of grandchildren, dreams of a long-term relationship filled with great memories.

When Brittany died, I mourned so much more than her death. I mourned all the dreams that were not meant to be. That part of my mourning journey has taken the longest to work through and I find the most heartbreaking. I don’t think I’ll ever get through this part of the journey. Each time I see something on social media or in person about a mom and daughter’s relationship. Some event that occurred or a shared success, I fold into a mess.

The feeling that comes over me feels like a heart breaking all over again. I know some of you who follow my blog understand this all too well. We all had these dreams for our child(ren) and we live in a world where we constantly are exposed to friends, family or stranger scenarios where we dreamt one day we’d be. I continue to revisit this topic because it is the one area that I don’t believe will ever be resolved.

I’ll be honest here – this broken dream for my child died twice for me. When my daughter became deathly ill at 11 months of age, and the diagnosis and long journey back to health was the first of many dreams shattered and that life would not be normal for her again. A new normal began that day and those dreams had to be adjusted. As the years went on, it seemed that the dreams went through continual adjustment based on what was her long-term prognosis.

Always believing that she could still live somewhat of a normal life, however what surrounded us was what we understood could not be. Death brought it all to an end. With the stopping of her heartbeat so did the dreams. A part of my life’s dreams died too. A part of my heart ripped to shreds.

Sixteen years have passed and those dreams still remain a painful reminder of what I lost and what she could have been. The pain is finding its way out through the stinging tears streaming down my cheeks.

Until next time,


A New Year

You may have noticed I haven’t posted over the holidays. I typically post some healthy information to help grieving parents get through the holidays. This year, I took some time away from this blog to heal.

It’s been 16 long years since my Brittany passed and the raw emotion of it all got to me this holiday more than the last few holidays. During this time I realized everyone who grieves needs a break from grieving. A time to focus on yourself and your healing. We all know that grief doesn’t take a break. It relentlessly pursues us and follows us wherever we go. Grief seeks us out in the most unpredictable places and reminds us of our loss(es).

When I look back at the years and years of posts, I am in awe of my journey and the places grief has taken me. I have met some of the most amazing people who are now my “framily”. Framily is the label we give to those we have chosen to be in our inner circle. Our confidants, our mentors, our sisters and brothers in life, those who would give you the shirt off their back and show up at your doorstep just when you need them. Sometimes even before you need them. I am forever grateful to those who I’ve known who have gone the distance with me. To those who met me where I was and listened to me endlessly talk about my Brittany. It’s not lost on me their love and support these many years.

This year I want to be a year of taking action to help others more. To be there for them in their moments. To walk the walk. I would love to hear in your comments below what topics you’d like for me to write about. This is your blog now, it is my story woven into the how, the why and the what of grief. My book is in the editing phase and I hope to have that complete soon. I’ll keep you all posted on the progress. Here’s to 2023 and may you find healing and support with your “framily”.

Until next time,


Grief Closet

I was thinking the other day how unconditional a mother’s love is. I’ve had the great blessing of knowing it from both sides. I had the most amazing mother who worked more jobs than I could ever imagine to make sure we had a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs. We were poor but we had love. As my mother passed away from breast cancer, my daughter was growing inside of me. I began to love in a way I had not done before. To myself I thought this must be how it felt for my mom to love me. When Brittany was born, I was in the midst of grieving the recent loss of my mom and all that meant to a new mother. I grieved that she did not live long enough to see Brittany in person. The most she ever saw was the ultrasound photos and rubbing my belly when I was able to get home from Dallas to see her. I grieved for all the times I would need her to ask questions about things I wasn’t sure of. I grieved over and over every time I needed a hug from my mom. Even today I miss that unconditional love expressed in so many ways. As Brittany became sick, I truly needed my mom because I did not know what to do. Everything I did or every decision I made about her healthcare was made from a nurse perspective and as time grew it evolved to a mother’s perspective. I grieved over who I knew my daughter could not become – a mother. I truly never believed that one day she would die from her illness because not many do; however I knew she would be unable to have children given the medications she had to take every day to keep her illness under control. I wanted so much for my daughter to understand what it meant to be a mother and to experience that unconditional love from a daughter’s perspective and a mother’s perspective.

Closet Door

A grief closet…. My daughter died just shy of her 18th birthday from a fatal grand mal seizure. In 12 hours her life was over and so was mine. At least the life I knew for the past 18 years was over. While I have come to understand that the unconditional love my mom had for me and that I had for Brittany is not gone from my heart – it is gone from my life. The hugs only a mom or child can give are what makes me cry quietly in my grief closet while I’m alone. In this place of my life I am so alone. And where I quietly fight my battle of grief. I believe this will always be my quiet battle to fight for my remaining days. Since her death I have worked hard to rebuild my life, while different, it is a rebuilding process. I have found love again. I am loved by so many friends and family. I am blessed to have some close friends who have helped heal that place in my heart that for so long bled sorrow. And yes, sometimes it still does bleed; but I am comforted by the strength of my faith and the love of my family and friends. My new “framily” has given me the strength to keep pursing love and joy. Each day, with just the smallest of things like text messages or hand written cards – a breath of life is given to me. But make no mistake I am still quietly over here in the corner of my grief closet missing my girl and my mom more than I could ever put words to. I say to my mom and Brittany – “with each passing year, I feel the distance between you and me grow more and more”. And that creates a whole different type of grief I have to learn about and manage. With all the love that surrounds me, I am confident I can continue to mold that into something that can help others.

Until next time, M

Holiday Message

Grief and the holidays

Over the years I’ve written about the holidays and how my grief journey has played out especially during these very difficult days.

The holidays have always been and I imagine always will, the most difficult for me.

Unfortunately, my mother’s angel anniversary starts off the season in September followed by my daughter’s angel anniversary in October and capped off by her birthday in late November. By Christmas I am spent grieving OR avoiding grieving.

I have come to dread the holidays. Even though I have learned to live in the reality of loss and grief, I have tried to find some joy during the holiday season. AlI I can say that it just seems like a different life. My old life ended October 13, 2006 and after the fog lifted, my new life began somewhere down the road. As I look around the room this morning there are few signs of the life I had with my daughter. I keep my daughter’s memory close by up on the shelf in my office and in my heart.

It’s easy to look away or stay busy to keep the swell of grief that sits in my throat on any given day. For the most part that has been my way of avoiding the gravity of her absence. No one realizes just how hard it is to walk through the holidays without her.

Visiting family celebrations knowing she won’t be there or that she isn’t even a fleeting thought. But that was my old life and I am very aware that I can’t stay there nor can I afford to ignore what is in front of me. Love is all around me and I am forever thankful for that because it has given me a breath of life.

I have found balance in both worlds and it works – but it’s hard, don’t be mistaken, it’s extremely hard. I stay busy, I work hard and I play hard – why, because it is better than the misery I’m sure would exist if I did not. Ninety-nine percent of the time I am not miserable, I am happy – love and joy has brought me to this point. I am forever grateful for that. I am also grateful for the life before because my time with Brittany, yes, her name is music to my ears. She taught me so much about life and love. I am a better person because of her time here on this earth.

As you navigate this holiday season as a griever, it is my hope that you take pause to say their name, to smile at a memory, to write it down and then to take in a deep breath and let it out. Step into the present and love on all of those around you who need you to be present. It is the greatest gift we can give those who are walking along side us.

Until next time


The Grieving Stone

I find myself today, October 13th, the date my daughter left this earth at the age of 17, pondering the journey I’ve been on since her passing. The evolution of who I am. Who I used to be. They are not the same.

In the early years, I would stay in bed all day and cry myself to sleep. Eventually I began to do “other” things on this day to distract myself from the what I like to call “grief swirl” that whirled around me the entire day; hell, even months. As the years pass and my life has changed, I grieve differently. The “grief swirl” still comes but I’ve grown weary from grief. I’m tired of feeling the sorrow that sticks in my throat as this day approaches. This is the burden we grievers must carry until our last breath but we don’t have to like it.

As I think back at the process of grief, I feel its starts out like a rock with hard edges covered in dirt. The feelings and emotions are hard and so difficult to see your way clear of the fog that has fallen over your life. Then as you begin to learn about grief and how to manage through the learnings from experienced grievers; books written by experts in the field of grief; the rock becomes less dirty and a little softer around the edges. The hard work is smoothing out the rock into a smooth, beautiful stone. Perhaps this is why, I’m fascinated by smooth black stones when I happen to come across them at the beach. It represents the hard work I’ve put in over the years.

Yes, while I may be tired of this grief, I understand it will always be with me for the rest of my days. It’s been harder than I ever imagined, still is; but the person I was needed that polishing. Preparation for something else, another role, a different life – to be a light for others. I’m not sure why God entrusted me for that and I’ll be sure to ask when I meet Him one day. 

To my darling daughter Brittany, I spend every day looking forward to seeing you again. Until then rest peacefully with the angels.

Until next time,


The Cost of Grieving

I haven’t written in a while as I’ve been dealing with the need to have three surgeries in five months; and life has kept me from finding time to write. I hope you are all doing well and the new year brought you through the holidays with cherished memories of your loved ones.

I had to clean my office today and I know what comes with that responsibility which is why I avoid it often. I think my wife thinks I’m just messy or my office is disorganized; but in all reality organizing and going through the office to clean creates anxiety in me that I don’t really want to talk about. When I admit it; the memories flood bad and the pain in my chest increases and I exhaust myself in grief.

My late daughter Brittany’s photos, mementos and ashes sit on a bookcase in my home office. I have probably 10+ Willow statues that were hers or those I received after her passing in 2006 as well.

Dusting each of them is a process and it almost always leads to crying. I’m not sure now after all these years that act of cleaning would bring such a wave of grief over me. I spoke to Brittany as I dusted each one of the Willow statues and asked her why she hadn’t visited me in a while. That is a whole other post to write.

As I picked each one up, I looked at them as I cleaned was reminded of that time. The time that broke my heart into millions of pieces. Never whole again. For those (like myself) that need a visual, healed but not whole as if I have a bandaid cross over my heart.

The cost of grieving is that there will always be moments when you have to do the hard thing and it will break you. I cried uncontrollably for what seemed like five straight minutes. I felt heartbroken as if I was placed back in on that early morning, October 13th 2006.

There are other things that bring me to my knees and those too I try avoid when I can. The pain is just too profound. And for those who don’t understand – well I imagine you couldn’t if you had not lost a child. Don’t get me wrong many of the 365 days of year I am laughing and living life. But there will always be a hole left by her death that will never be filled; despite my trying.

I miss her beyond words and some days I can’t speak her name or I’ll breakdown (like during this very moment as I write this post). There are times when it’s just not appropriate to do that given I work from home. I’ve considered moving all of the reminders out of my office; but that feels wrong so I won’t. I’ll keep doing what I do to find moments to remember and just sit in the quiet space that only I can enter which is where my brokenness and grief resides.

Grab your loved ones and love on them because tomorrow is not guaranteed to any of us.

Until next time,



This week I learned of the passing of someone who had a strong influence on me. Ken, a music director (at the time I knew him) created music that spoke to my faith. I have always leaned towards more gospel type of christian music as it spoke to me in a different way. I gained so much encouragement and reinforcement on my faith journey.

When my daughter Brittany died in 2006, I found myself swirling, my head filled with so many thoughts as to why. I knew the only way I could reconcile anything was to be at church. A week later, I was at church. Not at my usual front row seat. I just couldn’t return to that because I wasn’t who I was before. I sat in the back row and cried most of the service. I could barely sing. Songs that spoke to my heart in the past only made me cry. But being there was the only place I wanted to be. Where I felt closest to God.

Ken had a gift for music and music that would encourage, make you think, and often times challenge you to be better. If only I could sing, I would have been in his choir. I had a friend in the choir and I know she will forever be grateful for the time she spent working along side him at church.

One particular Sunday after service we were invited to stay while the choir recorded a live album. It was exciting to be a part of the process. I know I got a lot of out of it because the music included in the CD were some of my all-time favorites.

Ken, while he may have been unaware of it, helped me heal after the loss of my daughter. His music soothed my broken heart and reminded me that our God is an awesome God indeed.

Ken – I know God greeted you with open arms and said welcome home son. Well done.

Until next time,



My dad passed a few days ago. My dad and I had a relationship that most would call estranged; but I would call it normal. He really wasn’t part of my every day life; however we did talk occasionally. My dad left my mom when I was 6 years old. Never really knew his side of the family nor was he around much afterwards. He moved on. Created a new family. That is an entirely different post (book).

Regardless I loved my dad and appreciated that he was responsible for why I’m here on this earth. I began grieving my relationship with my dad many, many years ago. It was far from the relationship many of us long for. In fact, it was fairly non-existent. As I grew into adulthood, I took the initiative to go visit; but each time regretting it. We’d usually fight or he would have something negative to say that would piss me off. I’d become accustomed to that. It was the relationship, the only relationship we’d ever have.

Grieving takes on many different facets. Loss doesn’t always mean death. It means loss of a relationship, a job or a life you once knew. Each time grief presents itself from a new episode; the downfall is the same. The emotion is raw. Old grief resurfaces and it all has to be hashed out again. Over and over until it is banished again back in a small place where it resides waiting to be released again.

When someone dies; I feel the loss of my mom, grandmother and daughter all over again. I am reminded of the chronic absence they left behind. I wrestle a little with my faith and in the end I always come back to things happen for a reason and I don’t always know, understand or comprehend why. I find my faith helps me reconcile it. But let me be very clear; it does not go away. Grief will always reside in my heart and my life. It is part of the fabric of who I was and who I have become.

My dad loved me in his own way. It was not enough for me; but in the end I did not have a choice but to accept it was his way and not mine.


Until next time,