Friday, February 25, 2011

The things they don't tell you...

Dear Sara,

Fourteen and a half years ago we promised we'd love and cherish each other "until death do us part."  I'm finding that even though plenty has been written about grief, grieving, and the processes we go through, no one seems to have come up with a manual, or a set of rules, for the real day-to-day stuff that one has to deal with when the parting happens far too soon.  I'm working on my list of things that I'm sure I'll need to do at some point, but it doesn't feel right to think about doing them now.  It doesn't feel like it will ever feel right to do them.

Will it ever feel OK to delete your phone number out of my contact list?  I canceled your cell phone.  It didn't seem to make much sense to keep paying for it; but, I don't feel like I can delete your number out of my phone.  What if I dial it on accident some day and someone answers?

How long should I keep your FaceBook account active?  People are still sending you friend requests.  Should I accept them?  Should I ignore them?  Will I ever find a day when I don't want to post on your wall and tell you how much I miss you?  Will it be obvious to me when I should change my status from Married to Single?  Do they have an option for Widower?

What about your email?  I unsubscribed to most of the daily "junk mail" type emails you were getting.  What if something legitimate comes through?  I don't send you emails, but what if I want to?  Do they have email in heaven?

Is there a rule about how long I should wear my wedding ring?  At some point will it make other people feel uncomfortable when they see it on my finger?  It feels right and good right where it is. When they took it off at the hospital to clean my hand and bandage my injuries it felt so wrong, so final.  It's comfortable and comforting...does it stay that way?

What would you like me to do with the kitchen?  You worked so hard stripping the cabinets and painting them.  I know you ultimately wanted to do a whole kitchen remodel, even replacing the cabinets.  It hurts to think about taking them out now, ruining all your hard work.  What about the bathroom?  I know you wanted to completely remodel it, too (and it really needs it.)  But you're not here to repaint the walls back to the way they look now.  If I have it done will it feel like I'm losing the part of you that's still here?

I guess that's all I have for now.  I'm sure I'll think of more as time passes.

I know I don't need to say it, but I miss you.  I miss Miranda.

Hugs and kisses,


  1. Yes, there are lots of things they don't tell you when your loved one passes too soon. You move two steps forward and the next day ten steps back. When you least expect it, waves of memories will come. Continue to have Faith and you will find the Strength until you see Sara and Miranda again. Praying for you daily.

  2. Thinking of you. I can't imagine. Know that you are being lifted in prayer.

  3. I think of you every day, mostly when I am putting my daughter to bed and praying for her. It only takes a few seconds, but I know God is listening and holding you in His hands.

    Still praying~
    Kris, SAU Alum

    Romans 14:8

  4. You're a strong person. I understand where you are coming from, and your blog has touched me in more ways than one. Losing my husband while he was overseas almost 2 years ago, I can relate..kind of. It's a day to day process. Things get easier with time. I stopped wearing my wedding band after 6 months. It just didn't seem real anymore. Finishing her projects shouldn't feel like you're taking away what she did, but simply finishing them in her name. I still have my husband's facebook and emails. I cancelled his phone about a year ago. You're doing an amazing job, keeping your head high and into God's loving grace. You're in my daily thoughts and prayers. Miranda & Sara are proud of you for being so strong, and they will always be with you, watching you, protecting you.

  5. I think of and pray for you on a daily basis, Chad.

    When things feel right, you'll do them. If not, don't. Think of what you would want Sara to do if she was still here and you weren't.

  6. So sorry for you loss. I have been thinking of you since reading your story.

    Everday tasks can seem so overwhelming. Thinking of the future becomes almost impossible. I really wish there was a manual. I have found an incredible amount of support here on the internet, especially through my blog. I hope you find the same.

  7. like most, i've followed your blog ever since i received a request on facebook to pray for miranda. i haven't written b/c, like most, i have no idea what to say. in 2003, my sister and 3 of her friends were killed in a car accident. oddly enough, the boy that hit them (he and a friend in another vehicle were racing) was the brother of one of the other girls killed. anyways, they were pulling out of the driveway when it happened. so, shortly there after they moved. (i say they b/c i wasnt living there at the time) it was hard to go in, so soon after it happened, and move all her stuff out from the way she left it, but it would be even harder to walk outside and see the burnt grass on the side of the highway where the car had caught on fire, and where 4 crosses now stood. but, when they moved, they (my parents) recreated her bedroom to look the way it did before. im sure some thought it was strange, but it just didnt feel right to walk through any house, and not see kasey's bedroom full of pictures, stuffed animals, her bed, etc. that was how we chose to cope. my dad use to ask "why?" all the time. "why would God let something like this happen to 4 of the most beautiful, smart, well-behaved girls?" the best response i have heard was "they're not bein punished, theyre not suffering, and we dont know what horrible things could have possibly been in store for them if they weren't taken that night" i guess what im tryin to say is, you should do whatever it is that makes you most comfortable. dont worry about what other people may think. i doubt this helps at all, but i wanted to say something. my parents recently went to New York to film for "On the Case w/Paula Zahn" my brother has ALWAAAYS wanted to go to New York, i feel like he got that opportunity from my sister! They also just filmed for a show called The Apology. i guess that's their way of coping. whatever works. anyways, im praying for you DAILY!! i think about you OFTEN!! there's the story about the wreck. here's my email if you ever want to talk!!

  8. Chad,
    My father-in-law died two years ago this July. My mother-in-law still wears her ring. Her answering machine still says Vern and Donna as does her mail, etc. Only recently did she finally clean out all of his drawers, uncovering lots of tiny folded up pieces of paper where he made lists of the names of his children, grandchildren... holding on to his memories as long as he could. This sent her through a whole new wave of sadness. Maybe there are no manuals about these things because getting through them is intensely personal. Who cares if other people are comfortable... did you wear your ring in the first place to make people feel comfortable? Maybe when it becomes more painful to have to see those friend requests than to let go of an account, that will be the time you will do it... or maybe when seeing the cabinets Sara envisioned becomes more important to you than seeing each stroke of her in them, you will consider making the change. The point is, there is no "right" way to grieve. I think you just make your way as best you can. I cannot imagine the depth of your anguish, but I can imagine there would be a sense of guilt associated with any thought of "moving on" or doing something that you'd enjoy, like somehow you aren't honoring your love for Sara if you do. It saddens me that I did not know Sara, but I cannot believe she would want you to be bound by any kind of "rules for grieving". I think you have to just keep moving forward. And when you fall, let others help you get back up. I pray that peace and healing find you as you navigate your way through this pain. - Jan

  9. My friend lost her 30 year old husband this fall and a lot of what you have expressed are things she has questioned. She ended up taking her and her husbands rings to jewler when she was ready & they sealed them together in a display that she has out at her home right now. You will know what's right for you when you need to. You are in my prayers.

  10. Chad, can I just hug you right now?
    Here's a BIG cyber hug from me.
    All your questions are legit...don't do anything you don't have to right now. Embrace what you had w/ things when YOUR ready.
    There is NO rush.
    love and prayers from Southern Cali

  11. Sometimes just putting it all in writing makes it easier. A little easier. You are right...there are no rules. You do whatever feels right for you at the moment. Wear the ring, keep the kitchen and bathroom the same. Wherever you feel comfortable, that is where you should be.

    Know that there are lots of people, people you and Sara never met, who are holding you close in their hearts.


  12. Do not deactivate her FB account! Accept the friend requests! Those requests are probably from people who already know what happened, and they want to help you grieve. Write on her wall all you want.

    Also, I know there is a way to memorialize a FB profile as a opposed to just deleting it. There are so many cool memories on there...don't erase them!

  13. I can relate to this on a much smaller scale. We were foster parents to a little girl for 2.5 years before she went home and her mother refused us any continuing contact. I struggled with seeing her toothbrush, her carseat in my van, random gloves we forgot to send, a favorite toy overlooked. It has been several months now, but I unexpectedly came across a pair of old shoes that no longer fit her yesterday, and I still don't know what to do with them. Do I pitch them? Throw them in a box in a closet? Donate them? I don't even want to see them...they still smell like her inside them.

  14. Chad You do everything when you feel the time is right. dont let what someone else says of thinks make you do something. My mom lost my dad 35 years ago and she STILL wears her wedding ring. sometimes she wears it on the left hand sometimes on the right! when the time is right for you is when the time is right!!!! Prayers to you.

  15. Chad, I don't expect you to remember me from the visitation but I am Paul's wife. I just want to say you're right, there is no 'rules' of right or wrong for situations like this. There is no official time line you need to follow. Everyones story is different (although some can be similar). You will take these steps in your own time and when they feel right for you. There is no need to rush to do anything you are not ready to do.

    My aunt died from an aneurysm almost 2 years ago. The first year was probably the hardest to go through with my uncle. He would call me out of the blue one and say "I want to clean out her dresser today" but we'd get there and he'd have changed his mind. So we would just talk and go through her stuff sharing memories, then put it all back. But then one day the call came and when I got there the boxes were there and slowly each item was reminisced over and boxed. That was in his time. Just as you will do in YOUR time.

    Please don't worry about what others are thinking or if it makes them uncomfortable, this is your healing process not theirs. (For the record, my grandmother wore her wedding ring until the day she passed - some 30+ years after my grandfather passed. That is what was right for her.) Take each day one at a time. Know that you have a huge community of people; friends, neighbors, family and strangers, praying for you, Sara and Miranda.

    Yours in Christ - Rebecca

  16. There isn't a manual or rules because no two people grieve the same. There is no right or wrong way to do things. You will do them when they feel right. Or you won't ever do them...and that's ok too.

    I was about to post this when a song started playing in my head...Leaning on the everlasting arms. I know you are, and I pray that you find the peace and comfort enveloping you right now.

    Still Praying...

  17. Just a small note to say you are still in my constant thoughts and prayers.
    Take things one day at a time and do things when they feel right for you, not because anyone else feels uncomfortable or tells you that you should.
    With you, from across the ocean

  18. I continue to pray for you Chad. I think of you often throughout the day. I wish there was a way to take some of the pain away.

    I hope you continue to write. For me it helped.

    As Sara watches you grieve I'm sure she continues to pray for you and shower you with her love.

    God bless,

  19. Hi Chad, You don't know me, but even half way across the world I feel your pain. It comes through your words. Before I go any further I'd like to say that I will share your link on my website . I hope that this is ok, and it has inspired me to make a new page of links that are for Dads. Please let me know at if this is not ok. Err Sorry this is going to be a long comment - I'd have messaged you but could not see how to

    I sometimes hate blogs, for the very reason when you find them you start at today and work backwards. In the case of your blog it makes your words all the more powerful, and heartbreaking. I have read back through the questions, the wonders, the fears that there will be a time when your loved one ceases to have a part of your life in the same way they do, like when you change the bathroom will it feel like you lose them all over again? I have read back through the funeral, and sobbed and sobbed at the beautiful way you spoke of your wife. I reached the place where there was still hope, and past that to the last blog of pregnancy. I am afraid I could read no further. I will, but my heart is breaking with yours.

    I have not commented on all of the posts, tho I could. They have all affected me. I find that I dont want to take you back to those posts, not yet not when it hurts so much. You will come to love those posts, and read them over and over. They will bring you comfort.

    I see that your words will become a book, see it as clear as night and day. I would urge you when this comes to pass, to consider structuring the book in the same way From the present back through time, to a time when all was hope, dreams and wishes. There is a beauty in reading your story that way. When you have a loss, time does not work in the same way. a year ago can feel like yesterday and a minute can feel like a decade. It would be powerful to read a story which ends with the beginning - the beginning of everything - Life. I feel drawn to write to you, one of your blog titles is written with almost the same words I once wrote in my book. The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end is what i wrote.

    I am sure that you know that there is a bigger plan, I feel in the words you use a longing that a life as special and important as Sara's and a life so full of love as Miranda's should not be a waste.

    I tell you from my own experience, all will be well. Your faith shines through in your words. It's there even if you feel your life with your girls was cut short. You start this journey a step ahead of me. I had no belief in God, and no faith. My son has given that to me.

    I lost my son Finley August 2nd 2009. In time it has come clear that the beginning and end of things become blurred. Before I knew Finley, I thought life began at birth and ended at death. Now I am blessed to know that this is not true. He was there before, and he is there now. The form changes, but he is not gone. I hope that you too will find this, that though the form has changed your beautiful girls are still here with you.

  20. Chad... what you write about, it's so correct. The questions you have are very natural. I'm so so sorry for your pain and loss. Your grief is SO fresh. As a newly bereaved parent, my best advice (and I know you are probably tired of hearing advice) is just lean on the Lord. Oh, it's okay if you're mad at Him. He stil loves you and wants to hold you ever so tight! There is no rush on your grief. In all honesty, you will never and should never be expected to "get over it." Your loss is a very significant one, and on top of that, sudden and tragic. As for others, if they think it wierd you wearing your wedding ring (even 10 years from now), well then shame on them! You have the right to do whatever you feel best, as long as it's not something that's harmful to you or others. As for the remodeling...I'd pray on that and give yourself time to rest. But how wonderful (and you will know when the time is right, if it ever feels right) it would be to honor your wife's memory with a beautiful remodel of those things she so desired to be remodeled! :o) God bless you! You write so well...I can see years down the road you being such a testimony to the Lord, and helping others who will unfortunately lose a spouse and/or a child. As for now my friend, rest in Him. He WILL carry you. :o)


  21. It doesn't help, I know...but your Sara and darling Miranda have reached farther than they ever imagined...impacting lives even past their own...I grieve for you, still...

  22. Dear Chad,

    I happen to come across this after a friend on face book posted it and all I can say is my heart is broken. I feel your pain, I truly do. I am a bereaved mom of 2 baby boys (Lukas born at 15 weeks and 4 days into my pregnancy May 2007 & Noah born at 15 weeks and 5 days into my pregnancy September 2008) I have also lost my sister in September 2009 so I understand the deleting her phone number,her email and face book. I go on my sister's page and I see she has 3 friend requests but I don't know what to do so I leave them. It's been almost 2 years and it still hurts. Just know that your girls will always be with you and your wife and daughter are both very proud of you for continuing with this blog and for taking baby steps with life after loosing them. My heart goes out to you, it truly does.

    Take care of yourself best you can Chad.

    Another grieving mom/relative.

  23. Dear Chad, first and foremost, still thinking of you and both your families. You will in time know when or if it will be right for you to do any of these things that are in front of does not matter what anyone else thinks, it is all about what will make you comfortable...just like your question about your ring...I think anyone who knows your story will never be uncomfortable because you are wearing your ring...I wish I had words to say that could help you feel comforted...just know we are all here for you, if ever you need anything...we continue to hope for peace, calm and healing for your heart.

    Take Care

  24. Chad: There are not "right" answers, but your questions are all very legitimate. Your answers and responses may differ from others and that is okay. I find it so very touching that you are willing to share your thoughts in your blog and really get real about what's happening and what you're thinking and feeling. Your wife/daughte will understand any actions you take or don't take because your love for eachother runs so deep. Others had said this, but I visit your blog at least once a day, and cry at your new posts. You are thought of and prayed for by me and many others.

  25. Dear Chad,
    Please keep writing. Selfishly, it's helping all of us deal with the sadness of this tragedy. If you can, get a copy of the group Selah's CD titled "You Deliver Me." Song number 15, "I Will Carry You (Audrey's Song) is about the loss of an infant daughter. There is so much sadness, and yet, so much hope in this song. I believe it will somehow help you heal.
    Praying for you.

  26. Dear Chad, I have been following your blog and you show yourself to be a courageous, loving man of great grace and deep faith. You have an extraordinary gift for writing; the way you put words together deeply touches the very core of anyone reading them. I am also very touched by the responses of the very loving and supportive community that is surrounding you now in your time of learning how to carry on without your darling Sara and Miranda around. I love that your post today is a letter to Sara. I hope you continue to write letters to Sara and to talk to her and tell her what is in your heart and on your mind. Hopefully, there are things that come up about Sara that cause you to smile and even chuckle. Sara's and Miranda's love for you is a part of who you are and is ever in your heart, as your love for them is ever a part of them. May God bless you

  27. Chad, My heart goes out to you. I just wanted to say that right now, your grief is too new and too raw to make any major decisions. You may make one, and 6 months down the road, regret it. Take it one day at a time. Cry whenever and whereever you want. You don't know, now can you control when and where that huge wave is going to crash on you.
    I still have my daughter's number in my phone. It's been 3 years, and her number hasn't been given to anyone else. Her room is still her room. I've changed a few things, but her bed, her stuffed animals, everything that was "her" is still there. I'm not ready to change that yet.
    I can't tell you things will get better. They will get more managable on down the road. Everyone grieves differently..You do it on your terms, and you will know when. God Bless you and your family!

  28. So sorry that you have to face life alone. I just marked the 3 yr "sadiversary" of my husband's sudden death at the age of 38. It took me 2.5 yrs to take off my ring. And I still felt lost without it so I now wear a ring with our birthstones in it on the finger next to my left ring finger. As for Facebook, they do have a widowed status. You might want to check out these websites. They have been very helpful to me:

  29. Chad, I know I don't know you personally, but I was in class with your brother. My sister was in your graduating class, we both follow your blog since this happened. It touches our hearts dearly. We lost our mother in Dec 08 to cancer. these questions go unanswered and you will decide in due time. Death is the hardest thing you will ever experience. Bad thing DO happen to good people, it's just not fair. I still find days I want to pick the phone up and want to call my mom, or wish she would just come home from "vacation"... What to do with everything is a difficult decision, but I'm sure you will figure it out in time. Everyone says it gets easier, but when it's this close to your heart, I am still trying to find the strength daily. My mom was my bestfriend and my rock. I know you have the strength Chad, by your words and wisdom you write here. Sara and Miranda are watching over you and you serve a purpose to still be here. We are all envious of your extreme strength and power to just keep stepping forward through each day Chad. You have lived through everyone's worst nightmare, and are a true hero for being able to write and share your deepest inner thoughts about each step of the way. Thank you.


  30. Dear Chad, I know you only through my daughter, Krisdee's post on FB to lift you up in prayer. I have no words of wisdom nor understanding of what you are going through. I just want you to know that I lift you, Sara and Miranda in prayer. I believe that Sara and Miranda shower you with their love from heaven. They will live on in your heart and in the prayers of all who they have so deeply touched. God Bless. Rose


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