Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Life is Like

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Cole's journey to Heaven. Two years. Eric and I differ on how that time has passed; to him it seems like it happened a long time ago, and to me it feels like it happened nearly yesterday. It is still surreal, and while I think we both have moved forward in our grief, neither one of us will ever completely get over losing Cole. But life is good, and God continues to teach, challenge, and bless us. We live our lives with hope and faith, along with big doses of laughter and twinges of sadness and fear. Hey, we're human, after all. We pray daily for another child, but as far as we're concerned, no other child can replace our precious Cole. If my mind goes to that place of thinking about living the rest of my life without Cole, it overwhelms me. But I know that once my earthly life is done, I will finally get to see my son again. How awesome will that be? It's incomprehensible.

Speaking of Heaven, I wonder all the time what Mr. Cole's life is like now. I'm certain he's just having the best time. Perhaps he takes turns sitting on the laps of his great grandparents, including the one he was named after. Maybe he's still a baby, or maybe he's a rambunctious 2 1/2 year old. I'm sure he's still cute. I know for sure Cole's life is free of pain, sadness, and trouble of any kind.

My sister-in-law, Melanie, was in town for three weeks in August. We went to lunch one day, and we talked about Cole like we often do. We pondered his Heavenly life. Melanie happened to be in town for my birthday, and she gave me the most beautiful gift. She is an incredible artist, and the gift was inspired by our conversation about Cole. I opened it, and was literally speechless.

This sketch of Cole as a toddler gives me a whole lot of joy. Not only did she capture Cole's features perfectly, but she surrounded him with things that have special meaning to us: a pinwheel, tulips (my favorite flower), and a little stuffed lamb that resembles the one we have in Cole's room and the identical one that is "with" him. And did you notice the little bird? We have two little zebra finches and enjoy birds in general. Cole looks so peaceful, happy, whole, and perfect here. What a sweet depiction of what Cole's life might be like.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Gosh, it has been awhile. It seems like this is the first time in weeks I have had a chance to sit down and actually write something here, yet I still need to head out the door in about an hour. Life has just been very busy lately. My parents moved out of their home of 21 years into a new home just a few minutes down the road from where I live. I started a new business that I'm pretty excited about. Eric and I took a last minute fun trip to Indianapolis last weekend. And the list goes on. Baby Cole is always at the forefront of my mind. No matter what each day brings, I think about my son. I still miss him terribly, and I know I always will.
Since my last post, Mother's Day and Father's Day have come and gone. They were good days yet bittersweet, of course. Also, the Lord put a family in our path to receive Cole's Gift, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Cole's short life continues to have purpose and bless others even though he is not here with us on earth. How cool is that? So proud of that kid. So thankful for what God is doing.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Years


Today is your birthday, Cole McKee. Two years ago, you entered this world and changed my life forever. You were so tiny and sweet. You were beautifully unique, and your little spirit left an imprint on many, many hearts. We almost lost you when you were born, but God wasn't quite ready to take you just yet. He had a plan for you from the moment you were conceived, and although I don't fully know or understand it, I trust it and know it is perfect. For 4 1/2 months I watched you struggle, fight, and grow. Each day, I loved you more and more. You were amazing, and God worked some big miracles in your life. I miss you so much, my baby boy. Although your birth was scary and brought such uncertainty, YOU, my love, brought me such joy. Happy birthday, Cole. I love you.

2 weeks

4 months

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


I haven't been here in awhile, and to be perfectly honest, I feel like I am not okay. My head is swimming, and physically I am run down. I miss Cole so much, and it just hurts. I remind myself repeatedly that where he is now is wonderful, but as his momma I want Cole to be here. I miss his skin, his cheeks, and the blonde fuzz on his head. I miss giving him a bath and the funny little shimmy shake he would do when I tried to clean his neck. I was never sure if it tickled or if he was annoyed. Whatever it was, it was just one of the qualities that made Cole unique and so very special. I miss how he would pull his knees up tight when we would change his diaper. We even had to go up one size sooner than necessary to make changings easier. For a baby who wasn't supposed to have much awareness of his surroundings, he sure would let us know that he didn't like to be messed with!

I miss his fingers too. Two on each hand were fused. The fingers on Cole's left hand were contracted most of the time except for the pointer finger. We would laugh when it looked as if Cole was pointing at something or someone. It was just so cute! But those fingers were also a sad reminder of Cole's host of issues that would take him from us too soon. I miss Cole's physical presence, but if he was still here, his struggles would be too. I miss my baby, but he's okay now.

The holidays have come and gone, and they were tough for me, even more so than in 2011, the year that Cole died. I don't know. I was probably still in some kind of shock then. I am in the second year of grief now, and I have read and heard that the second year is harder. I'm beginning to think that it is true. Eric and I have six nieces and one nephew that we adore.They all live out of town, and were here with their parents for Christmas. We have been blessed and are so fortunate that since the beginning of our relationship, our families have gotten along very well, and we typically spend holidays all together even if it is just us and both sets of parents. While it was wonderful to see our three siblings and their families this past Christmas, it seemed to magnify the painful fact that Cole isn't here. My sister-in-law even said to me that when she first saw us, it didn't seem right that Cole wasn't with us. He was missing.

We miss you Cole,
but we know you are whole
and perfect in every way.
You brought us such joy
our sweet baby boy.
We want you here today.
We know you're just fine,
but we long for the time
to be with you in Heaven.
Until that day arrives
we'll cherish your life
and the memories we've been given.

photos courtesy of Keri Dummerth Photography

Monday, December 17, 2012

Comfort and Joy

Like the rest of our country, I am deeply heartbroken over the events of last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. I keep thinking about all those precious little ones who died. I also keep thinking about the parents of those little ones. I know what it's like to lose a child, but I can't help but think that my grief would somehow be different if I had lost a child in such a sudden, horrific way.
Since Cole's death, I have felt a true sense of comfort and joy. One might wonder how that is possible. How do you lose a child and then feel that inner contentment? Eric and I know that our help has come from the Lord. Our faith and belief in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior has given us the assurance that Cole is having a glorious, perfect life now. He has more in Heaven than he would have ever had here on Earth; more than we could ever imagine. Our faith also gives us certainty that we will one day see Cole again. I heard someone this morning on television speaking about joy in the midst of grief, and it confirmed how I have felt since losing Cole. Joy is not the same as happiness. When I am hit with a wave of sadness, my joy is still there. It's an underlying, peaceful feeling that is hard to describe. I believe it's a gift.
In the spirit of the Christmas season, I pray the parents in Newtown will find comfort and joy as they deal with their sorrow. I pray the same for anyone who has lost a child or other loved ones. The pain may run deep, but joy is possible.

Safely Home
Let your grieving be not long,
for I'm home at last where I belong.
Understand - if I were given a choice,
I'd remain here where I now rejoice.
It would be unthinkable to return to earth
from this land of matchless beauty and worth.
Gazing at Christ's loving, majestic face,
I know deeper dimensions of grace.
Do not think I tasted death 'before my time',
rather it was precisely in God's wise design.
At the appointed moment He opened the door
to wonders and splendors undreamed before.
It's all true - never fear,
and soon you will join me here
Where there's no more crying, no more sorrow,
with Christ the Lord in every tomorrow.
- Mae Fortson

Monday, November 19, 2012


Music has always had a profound effect on me. It can stir emotion like nothing else. There are certain songs, usually ones containing verses about Heaven and Christ's victory over death, that really get the tears flowing, especially since losing Cole. The music at my church is exceptional, and on several occasions I have been so moved that I end up shaking while trying desperately not to cry. Yesterday was one of those times. The last song we all sang was one of my favorites, "In Christ Alone". Not only is the melody beautiful, but the lyrics are profound. A sweet friend sang this song at Cole's funeral, so it holds extra special meaning in my heart.

I searched for the song on Youtube, and was surprised to find this version by Owl City. Listen to the words carefully, and enjoy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

And the winner is...

Cole's Gift by a landslide! With 80% of the votes, Cole's Gift will be the recipient of Finding Magnolia's October payment from their Give it Forward program. Special thanks to Mary of Finding Magnolia for including us on her blog, and to my sister-in-law, Melanie, for making it happen. And a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted!! You can read Mary's announcement here. I am beyond excited!