Yesterday was my kids last day of school. As I said good-bye to one of my son's retiring teacher's she said this to me "I want you to know that you have a really happy boy, he is very joyful." She knows my concerns for my kids little hearts this year, how I've wondered how much they hurt from losing a brother so young. She knows I wonder even if they fully understand how to process it all and their feelings that go with it. So when she said this to me it meant a great deal. But then she followed it with this, "You have 2 very happy boys actually."
It made me think, isn't our children's happiness and well being what is most important to us as parents? We hurt when they hurt, we cry when they make poor choices, we get discouraged when they disobey. But never because we want it for us, we want it for them. Happiness, comfort and most importantly a desire to know God. And my two sweet boys (and daughter) have all those things. But ultimately, Matthew is as happy, comfortable and close to Jesus as will ever be possible. And I am happy too, that I can know that. So my sadness for that boy is just for me. My heartache is just in the length of time until I will see his smile again or feel his hugs. Nearly 11 months has not taken that pain away, I am learning to cope with it better but missing him is just as strong. As his mom, however, I must rejoice in his ultimate peace and comfort and focus on the fact that I will be with him again. That is a beautiful gift of peace.

How many children do i have?

I have 3 kids. Matt, Mya and Hudsen ages 10, 8 and 6 at the moment. Trouble is, I can only see 2. I can only talk to 2 and I can only hug 2. So what do I tell people who ask? The question comes up all of the time.  I pause every time and still don't know the best way to answer.
My dad says he has 11 grandchildren, (my brother has 5, my sister has 3) then he shows his favorite picture of Matthew (his screen photo on his blackberry) and says to people "this one is in heaven". Twice in the last month I have met people who ask how old my children are. (8 and 6)Then we talk and they ask how long Doug and I have been married. Then they say, you waited awhile to children! Nope, "actually we didn't, we had a son in 2000 who died when he was 9". Silence.....
I talked to my dad about it. He said "You have 3 children, just one doesn't live with you."
I don't want to be dramatic, I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable but how can I leave Matt out?
I have 3 children. Just one doesn't live with me, he lives in heaven.


I'm busy, too busy. I feel pulled in a million directions. Starting a non-profit organization is difficult and political and it takes fight. I believe in it so passionately that I keep moving forward but I'm weary. Maybe it is good to be busy so that I don't drown in my own sorrow. Right now there is at least 5 other things I should be working on but I just feel kind of empty. Today I listened to a song that reminds me so much of Matthew.  ('Come to Jesus' is its unofficial title, by Chris Rice) When I heard it today I wanted to scream, I wanted to cry, I wanted the world to stop so that I could jump off this crazy ride for awhile and just mourn. Mourn for a beautiful life that was tortured from birth. Mourn for my son who never spoke words. Mourn for him because he never walked or was free of pain. Cry out and ask why, despite my prayers, God chose to take Matthew home instead of heal his broken body here. I want to be able to sense him, to catch a glimpse of his beautiful face, to dream of him running and dancing. But I don't and I haven't. I want to understand why I wasn't given the chance to say good-bye. I want to hug him or hold his hand. But I don't and I can't. I know all the true stuff good people say, that he is free now, that he touched lives, that God has a bigger plan for him than I could ever know. I know it all in my head but will someone please tell my heart?


Dear Matt

It's been nearly 3 months since you left this earth. There is hardly a moment that passes that I don't miss you. It's not getting any easier living without you. It's so strange to me how life goes on, even though logically I know that is the way of the world. People have their stuff, but sometimes it seems somewhat meaningless to me. Probably because I'm almost convinced that there is a real hole in my heart and the pain I feel must be it trying to heal itself. My heart physically hurts, like someone is squeezing it all of the time. I feel lost and I constantly feel like I am forgetting something. Because something[one] is missing and I can't get it[you] back no matter how bad I want to. I am struggling with the sorrow and guilt of not being able to say goodbye to you. I just need to tell you how sorry I am that I wasn't there. I have to believe that Jesus was with you, you did have a smile on your face! But if there was a moment where you were scared and wondering where your mom was, I am so sorry my son. That scares me to think about. The other day I was busy in the kitchen and I sensed you near me. Was it you? Do you know how much I adore you? In heaven can you see and know that you are still the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing on my mind before I fall asleep?
You were brave and beautiful. You were heroic and you are missed in more ways than I can even try to express.
Forever your mommy


how to say good-bye

My beautiful son passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, August 14, 2010. We are still in shock and struggling with our sadness. We had a memorial for him on Friday, August 20. A letter to Matthew came quickly from Doug, my husband and he decided to have it read at the service. This lead me to write one as well but it came much slower to me then it did for Doug. It's pretty tough to find the words to say good-bye.  I still have many moments of disbelief. But that said, I thought I'd share my letter to him on here as well.

Dear Matt

I have tried to write this letter to you so many times but words seem so inadequate as I try to express how I feel about you. You see, your whole life my heart has been conflicted. Even before you were born the knowledge of you gave me so much happiness. Your beautiful face delighted me from the first moment I saw you and I was hooked forever. But you started to hurt right away and your pain caused me great sorrow. You have suffered so much in your too short life and although being your mom was my favorite thing, I ached with your every cry. Each doctor appointment came with grim news and I knew that your life would be hard. 

I prayed everyday that God would heal you, but He had some other big plans for your life and you were so tough and up for the task. I need to tell you that I'm sorry, I'm so sorry that I couldn't make you well. I'm sorry that you never walked or talked or rode a bike. I'm sorry that you never got to do so many things that most kids get to do. But you know my sweet boy, God used you in ways most people couldn't dream of in their lifetime and I am more proud of you then any mother could be. You inspire, you change, you make us all understand what matters most in this world. You made me dream bigger, love harder, live richer and believe more faithfully. You were the most wonderful little boy, and why God trusted me enough to be blessed with such an amazing son, I will never know, but I will spend the rest of my days thanking Him for you.

And now my most precious little pal, your suffering is over. I'm so happy for you but I'm really sad for me. I bet my old grandpa's and good old Mr. Heppel were really happy to see you, it's comforting to me knowing that they are there with you. I will miss our Sunday mornings and our after-schools. I will miss you in my kitchen visiting me while I bake or cook. I will miss the way you sparkled when your wonderful Papa Paul came to see you. I will miss your beautiful smile and your happy sounds, especially when your daddy had you on his lap. I will miss you in my arms, I loved when you would hug me the best way that you could, thank-you for hugging me. 

I'm holding onto the knowledge that I will get to see you again some day. I'm waiting for the day that you greet me with wide open arms and a great big hug. Thank-you for being you, It was such an honor being your mommy. Please know that I love you deeply and that I really really miss you. 

Love from Mommy 


New Body

My daughters teacher was away from school the other day because she had to go to a funeral. This sparked a conversation about what exactly a funeral was. My daughter didn't realize that our bodies would be left behind when we die and go to heaven! (try explaining a 'soul' to a 6 year old). She was a little upset about this, so I told her that we would be given a new and perfect body. I told her that this was especially comforting to those who are sick or who were injured enough that their bodies didn't work well here on earth. She took a moment to think about this and came back to me with this. "When we get to heaven we'll get to meet Matt with a nice clean body. And we'll get to talk to him and hear what his voice sounds like! I can't wait until I get to see Matt like that."
I love the way Mya thinks so much about Matt. How her pure little heart is always so full of the positive. She has said many amazing things when it comes to her older brother and the struggles he bears. One day she asked me if I thought God would ever heal Matt. I said that I sure hope so. Then I asked her if she thought so. Her response "I think God has him be exactly how he is suppose to be." Quite a lot of insight for a little girl.
It is comforting to know that one day Matt will be out of pain and running free from all of his limitations. I too can hardly wait to see him like that. But how beautiful and comforting to know that for now, God has him "exactly how he is suppose to be." I believe that God can use the most painful things of this world and turn them into wonderful gifts. Our prayer is that Matthews House will be that positive gift to Abbotsford's special families and that we as a community will support them.