I sat at the cemetery this morning. I don’t visit there too often anymore. The cemetery can either be a place of comfort or a place of difficulty and lately, it’s been tough. It’s time to change the flowers from summer to fall foliage. I doubt people ever realize how hard this is for a mom who has lost a child. The simple fact we have to change flowers on our child’s headstone is nauseating. I know the holidays are right around the corner. This means we will face another year of the empty chair at the family functions. This means the anniversary of Ashley’s death, Christmas Eve, is not far away. This means I will have to force myself to smile and be normal as everyone else celebrates the holiday spirit around me. There is a great deal of pretending when it comes to parents who have lost children. We are all masters of wearing our mask well. I sit here today, just staring at Ashley’s headstone. I read the scripture over and over and it brings me comfort. But I struggle to know what to pray at these times. Sometimes all I can do is sit in silence. I think God understands these times. I don’t think He expects us to know how to navigate some moments of our lives. It’s just important for us to trust and rely on God’s promises.
I don’t say any of this to gain sympathy. I don’t need or want that at all. I say this to bring awareness. You see, unless it’s talked about, people don’t realize. This is why I speak publically at every opportunity I can. I want others to hear the truth of what our world is facing, and hear the things they need to pay attention to. I don’t ever want anyone to have to live through this internal pain. I am on a mission to educate and do all that I can to prevent another parent from burying their child.
People often ask me how I keep going, how I have the energy or how I maintain the crazy schedule I have. It is this passion in my heart that keeps me focused. It is me, turning my pain into purpose. As I continue to pursue my vision through Light of Hope, I see the fruits of the hard work. Ashley’s memory stays alive in my nonprofit. We are educating children in such a way they are becoming equipped to face life. We are helping parents, grandparents, individuals, family, and friends walk through difficult life journeys. We are helping people see the hope.
As I press through the beginning of this week, I thank God for all He has carried me through and all He carries others through. Life isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. People need us, they need you. We need each other. May this week and each week to come, be full of purpose and persistence. One day at a time, one foot in front of another, we can make a difference. Even if it’s the smile you give someone as you are passing in the street; you make a difference. You will never know how much your smile made a difference to me when I could not make sense of anything. Thank you world. I am grateful today, and on a mission to love.
“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” DANIEL 12:3
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” I CORINTHIANS 13:4-7
God is with us.
Author of HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE and Layla’s Light
All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 669 Claremore, OK 74018
Facebook – Layla’s Light
Twitter – @laylaslight
Layla’s Devotional Book available for purchase at the following:
HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE – $9.95
AMAZON – Hope In the Struggle