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Six Months Later

Six Months Later

My sweet Phoebe got her headstone today. On Saturday it will have been six months since I last held her in my arms.


I don’t even have the words to communicate what it feels like to see your little girls name and dates on a grave stone.

These profound and deepening levels of grief never cease to amaze me as God’s grace to bear it never ends.

Although it is a beautiful memorial to her short life on earth. I am so grateful for the assurence that Phoebe is not under that stone, but living life to the fullest.







The first week of last October we said goodbye to our Phoebe Lucille. I can still see her sweet, chubby little feet in those pink, sparkly sandals. The first week of this October, we will welcome baby Fair #5 into our family. Will it be a girl? I don’t know, I just used some of Phoebe’s baby doll shoes for the photo 🙂 This might be the only authentic “We’re expecting!” message you read today on April Fools…but I assure you, it’s no joke. Looking forward to what’s ahead for our family.

~ Amey

I dreamt of her last night


I dreamt of her last night for the first time. She was running like I have never seen her run before. I kept expecting her to fall because she’s never run so hard or fast, but she didn’t, she kept on running and laughing with a group of other children. A lady went and picked her up and I walked over to them. Just as I was about to talk to her and hold her, my son woke me up But it was beautiful to see her so strong.

Corners of My House



“In desperate hope I go and search for her in all the corners of my house. I find her not.
My house is small and what once has gone from it can never be regained. But infinite is thy mansion my Lord, and seeking her I have come to thy door.”
~Rabindranath Tagore

It is so obvious that death is wrong. Backwards. Simply not meant to be. The eternal in us cries out for continuity. Nathan and I sit and stare and talk of how surreal it all is. That she was here, so fully here…and now she’s gone. One might expect that things are getting a bit easier as we approach the five month mark, but those who have grieved deeply know that right about now the shock that sustained us the first three months or so has worn off and the reality and permanence of her absence feels like a new revelation. And the missing her, oh the missing her…

I remember the first night I had to spend away from her. She was 3 days post-brain surgery and I hadn’t slept for more than an hour or two in something like 72 hours. Things weren’t making sense and my nerves were shot, but how do you leave your sick child? I would never think of leaving her for the night with a small fever much less with surgery-induced tremors and a shunt pulling fluid off her brain. It was treacherous, leaving her that night to sleep at a hotel across the street. I could never have imagined that spending every night without her would become a reality.

At night, I close her bedroom door. I hate seeing inside that empty room at night. In the morning, the first thing I do when I get up is open her door. With the door closed in the morning it feels like she might still be in there asleep, so before those thoughts can come I open the door to make it real. She’s not there. She didn’t sleep in her bed. I start the day facing that awful truth each morning. But it’s necessary. I don’t know why.

I haven’t had the courage yet to do anything with her room. I let children play in there with her toys when we have guests and the boys will spend time in there every now and then, so I don’t feel the need to preserve it just as she left it. It’s more that I feel incapable of deciding what to do with everything. I can’t just load it all up and take it to Goodwill. Each item must be gone over and a decision made about what to do with it, and that is overwhelming because of the emotional toll. Her clothes will eventually be made into a quilt, but even that requires the hurdle of allowing them to be cut up. Moving forward is scary, and so is standing still. I’d love to know how others navigated this part of losing their child…

In other news, the big boys started soccer this week. They will be playing on YWAM’s private school team, the Christian Heritage Patriots and they are super excited. We had another batch of cold weather this week that has slowed down the garden prep, but we are hoping to get some seeds in the ground as soon as it warms up again. I know the next few days will be full of mixed emotions as we approach Phoebe’s “No Mo Chemo” day on March 1st. This time last year our lives were full of expectation and hope. Thank you for continuing to pray for and think of our family, and thank you to those who have sent cards or rememberance gifts, they bless us more than you know.


Here Lately….


I wish I had something profound to say today…I do not, but figured it was time for an update anyway. We have been plugging along with school and life and grief and getting the farm ready for the spring ahead. It seems that grief is one step forward – three steps back. It is marked by days that feel full of purpose and meaning where I’m certain that Phoebe’s life and story will bring glory untold. On these days I see beyond my pain and know that it will all make sense in God’s good time. And then there are days when crawling out of bed in the morning and brushing my teeth is an act requiring so much effort that I almost expect applause when I accomplish it.

Our Grief Share group on Monday nights has been good. It’s nice to be in a room full of people where pain is expected and I don’t have to be strong for a couple of hours. We usually talk for a bit, watch a video, and then have a short discussion time and every once in a while I get to see my Grandy on the screen which is always a blessing. I’m proud of Nathan, he accompanies me and participates although sitting in a group setting and sharing feelings isn’t really his gig. I find that attending makes me feel like I’m “doing” something about my grief and that’s something.

The boys have been doing well, each one expresses their sadness in unique ways, just like the individuals they are and we talk about Phoebe and our story a lot so that everyone feels comfortable to just say what they need to say or feel what they need to feel or pray what they need to pray. Nathan and Benjamin are winding up their season coaching Upwards Bound basketball for first and second graders at our church. Deacon and Averic just completed several months of gymnastics and now soccer season approaches. I look forward to Saturday morning soccer games and working in the garden this spring.

It doesn’t escape me that March 1st is fast approaching. March 1st of last year we were celebrating Phoebe’s last day of chemotherapy. The van was shoe polished with the words “No Mo Chemo” and Phoebe clutched a huge bouquet of balloons as we loaded her in to the car for that celebratory drive home. A tunnel of friends lined our driveway as Phoebe waved out the window. These anniversaries are inevitable, I know. I am just praying for grace and strength to navigate them all.

I am working on writing our journey into a book. Some days I write and write, and then I’ll have nothing for a week, so it is slow going, but I am trying not to fret about it and accept that God will guide me through the process. We have been getting a lot accomplished by way of pioneering the agricultural training with YWAM. We were blessed with a donation to be able to purchase the large greenhouse we needed as well as a tractor which is really exciting. This past week the team cleaned out and readied the aquaponics system for more fish and plants and we seeded for the spring gardens that will be planted here at our house and at the YWAM base. This next week we will focus on preparing our family garden beds and plowing the training garden bed. It feels good to be moving forward with this and spring brings so many opportunities for newness of life.

Thank you to all who continue to think of us and pray for us as we press on,




Even when I knew she was dying it was impossible to soak her up fully. Impossible to save her up for a lifetime of love to draw on.

There came a deep desperation to memorize her smell, record her mannerisms-
Every head tilt, dimple, her shuffle-gait-the heavy weight of her in my arms-the small hand that curled around mine.

I would squeeze my eyes shut as she lay tucked in my embrace and plead with my senses “DON’T FORGET THIS!”

It was something close to panic
g r a s p i n g
for what was slipping away

And the terrible knowing that this would be it
for a lifetime

On days like this I am haunted by loss~

Spiders Revisited


It seems fitting that they left too soon, the baby spiders. Phoebe, the boys and I watched their mother spin her beautiful gossamer egg sacks in the spring. I have watched them through my laundry room window through the fall and then on past Phoebe’s passing and into the winter. Each time I start a load of clothes or grab the broom from the laundry room, I look up to see if they are safe and intact, and they are. Until this week.

A warm blanket of sunshine broke through the chill of the former weeks and graced us with a 70 degree day. The spiders had their cue to hatch, break free of their cocoon and float away on the wind to find new homes and grow. So they left. Too soon.


My heart was a little broken when I looked through the glass and saw the tattered egg sacks flapping in the wind. I half expected that somehow, some way, I would be there at just the right moment to watch them climb on tiny legs out into the sunlight and float away. Maybe I would go to turn the garden hose on at just the right time or peek out the window just as they began to emerge. It would be triumphant, a moment coming full circle. I would witness the fullness of the miracle that Phoebe and I had marveled at as it commenced. The boys and I would take pictures, I would post them on the blog and share the beauty of the moment.

I sighed to myself as I peered out the window and folded a towel, disappointed that I could no longer look forward to their emerging.

But then I saw it…

A little piece of hope up in the corner. One remaining egg sack waiting to hatch in the spring.

And I thought of the sparrows,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” ~Matthew 10:29-31

And the sparrows made me think of the ravens,
“Who provides the raven’s food when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?” ~ Job 38:41

And the spiders that left too soon made me think about Phoebe and how even departures are ordained. Who can thwart His good purpose in everything? I cannot see the over-arching good yet. In desperation I would trade it all to have her back.

But I see through a glass dimly. And this I know very well.

His infinite-ness and His intimate acquaintance with me; for even the hairs of my head are all numbered, make me know that He will heal and bind and that this all makes sense somehow and somewhere.
Who can understand the delicate balance that He keeps or why He allows what He allows? But I have seen His goodness in the land of the living and I have known Him in the deep waters where the only refuge is Him alone. And I remember the words of Job, “Shall we accept goodness from God and shall we not accept adversity?”

He is good. Yes, He has been good to me.

Sometimes that statement is a sacrifice of praise, and other times it is my heart song.
I hope the little spiders stay put until Spring and that I have the opportunity to watch their crowning, but if it isn’t to be, it was all a miracle anyway.

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver


It’s been a good couple of days following a rough couple of weeks. Remember, as a child when that one older boy would give the merry-go-round his strongest running push? You would hang on for dear life as the centrifugal force would try to rip your little hands from the bars and you couldn’t wait to get off.

Grief is a merry-go-round.

Sometimes I get to exit the ride for a day or two, but my stomach still churns from the after-effect.
Nathan and I have been attending a grief support group called Grief Share the past two weeks and it’s been a comfort. The first night we went to group we introduced ourselves and all shared who we have lost. After this they turned on the video.

And there he was, my Grandfather, sitting in his living room. The living room I got married in, the living room of my every Christmas Eve and family memories. And he was there, talking without Alzheimer’s, his memory fully intact, looking into my eyes and telling me to embrace the grief and allow it to show, for by this I am demonstrating the depth of the love I have for the one I lost.

I wasn’t expecting him that night. Hot tears sprang to my eyes and rolled down my cheek in the dark room. Nathan searched for my eyes from across the room and shook his head in amazement. I had forgotten; years ago my grandfather was a contributor to the Grief Share ministry. He lost his eldest daughter, my Aunt Suzie, when I was a senior in high school and subsequently wrote a book called ‘Confessions of a Grieving Christian’. His personal walk through grief moved him to be a part of this project, and here I was, years down the road benefiting from it.

By the time Phoebe was diagnosed my grandfather was declining rapidly from Alzheimer’s. Sometimes he would recognize me, other times not. He loved my children and held them on his lap and teased them without fully realizing they were his great grandchildren. The last time he saw Phoebe in the hospital, she was septic and intubated and I could tell he felt uncomfortable and like he was intruding on a private situation. He didn’t realize that it was his great granddaughter in that bed.

Always the encourager, and one to share wisdom and direction; I know my grandfather would have had something to say to me that would give me hope in the midst of my journey had he not lost his memory. This was a familiar journey for him and he would have imparted strength, empathy, compassion and love.

That night, in the grief group in darkened room he was doing just that.
He was speaking into the future without ever realizing that I would need those words so desperately. I’m thankful for his obedience to do what I know what painful for him.

He passed away last year shortly after Thanksgiving, and one of the thoughts that comforts me daily, is knowing that my Phoebe is with my Grandy. I know what it is to be loved by him, and I know what it is to be loved by her. It’s hard for me to imagine two people more loving than these, so I can’t begin to fathom the love they are sharing with each other now. It makes me smile.

There are more sweet moments with God’s fingerprints all over them that I want to share, and will when I get a chance. I am finding Him faithful and steady even when I am not. It is often hard to hear His voice over the raging storm that is grief, but I keep my ears open.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14




Deacon went to collect the eggs from the chickens this morning. Minutes later, muffled pleas for help made their way to my ears. I threw on my galoshes and ran outside to find our dog Sadie with her teeth around a rooster’s neck and Deacon flapping his arms like a chicken screaming at her. Our other dog Howdy was running around barking and the scene was chaotic. The door to the chicken coop was still open and as I wrangled the rooster free of Sadie’s jaws another one escaped. I wrestled both dogs to the ground, pinning them under my knees while Deacon tried to corral his crowing subjects back into the coop to no avail.

All this while still wearing my pink pajamas and polka-dot rain boots mind you.

In our front pasture, mid-morning.

I just knew the neighbors would come outside to see what all the ruckus was about and there I’d be. My cheeks reddened at the thought.

It soon became obvious that the rooster was outwitting Deacon and I needed to step in. So I drug the two reluctant canines to the house, yelling and jerking them towards the front door as they tried to back out of their collars. This was not the peaceful Saturday morning I was anticipating.
When I got back to Deacon we worked together and finally corralled the birds back into the coop. I locked the gate and we made our way back to the house so I could finish my coffee.

Fast forward a couple of hours and Deacon and I are on our way out the door to go to the garden supply store. I slide into the driver’s seat when I notice that ALL of the chickens and roosters are having a meeting by the neighbors fence-line. They are not in the coop. They are staging a coup.
Madness ensues, all the big boys are away for a morning with Dad, and Deacon and I are responsible for getting all of these birds to go back. At least this time I have clothes on.

After several unlucky attempts at trying to bait them with food and herd them toward safety, we give up. All of the birds are now tucked into the brambley bushes that line the fence-line and they are not coming out.
In a moment of frustration I put my hands on my hips and look up. And that’s when I see it.

The wind is blowing the clouds so fiercely it looks like they are tumbling over one another. They move so fast that it’s striking and supernatural and other-worldly. And I cry a little, because my tears are always near the surface these days. I cry because I’m reminded that He is still BIG and He is still HERE and I had forgotten that for a minute or a day or more.

But there’s no denying it. Chance doesn’t make clouds like that with a flawless blue backdrop, and order doesn’t magically appear out of chaos. And Phoebe wasn’t just some happenstance of cells coming together. His fingerprints are suddenly on everything and for a moment I’m drawn out of the abyss with the stark raving beauty of it all.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
~Psalm 119:1-3~