About

My name is Denise Smyth. My husband, Phil, and I have two children, Philip and Natalie, who are (of course) the great loves of our  lives. On February 23rd, 2012, we found out that our son, who had turned 21 the month before, died. It was sudden and unexpected. I was devastated, heartbroken, terrified, none of which comes close to describing what I really felt. It’s just the best I can do at the moment.

And in my devastation, the “Who am I?” and “What am I here for?” quest that drove so much of my life ended. The essential question, the one that seems without the answer I’m so desperate to find, is, “How do I live in the face of death? How do I make meaning in the aftermath of the unthinkable?”

For this, there is no one answer; there is no one meaning. The first and obvious thing was (is, and will always be) Natalie. For the rest of it, I just don’t know. Most of the time I can’t even imagine. What if I could do anything, anything at all, I ask? What does it matter, if this is how life feels, I answer? But someone recently told me something Joan Didion said: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking…what I see and what it means.” And that just made some damn good sense.

Here, then, is my attempt at the same.

© 2013 Denise Smyth

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88 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aimee
    Apr 07, 2013 @ 23:23:05

    My heart goes out to you. I am so very sorry. There are no words I can say that will ease your loss. My son is nearly 21 and I cannot imagine what you are feeling. You’re very brave to be writing and sharing your story. Writing can definitely help you work out your feelings. I’ve found it to be truly life changing.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Apr 07, 2013 @ 23:49:17

      Aimee, thank you; I took a quick look at your blog and you are not only brave, you are touchingly compassionate. So sad that it’s the grief in our lives that makes us more fully human.

      Reply

  2. grannyscolorful
    May 07, 2013 @ 15:14:16

    I ‘know’, I feel your pain… my heart cares…

    Reply

  3. Joyce McCartney
    Jun 04, 2013 @ 20:48:48

    I love that Didion quote. Thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find yours.

    Reply

  4. Lucia Maya
    Jun 07, 2013 @ 12:12:07

    Thank you for finding my blog and leading me here. I’m sorry that we share the experience of losing a child, and grateful to have these ways of connecting. Thank you for sharing so beautifully from your heart. From my heart to yours…Lucia

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jun 07, 2013 @ 12:50:21

      Your daughter is heartbreakingly beautiful. The pictures of both her and the two of you together tell their own story; and from my heart, back to yours…

      Reply

  5. anna whiston-donaldson
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 17:30:12

    Dear Denise, I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for coming to my blog so we could meet. Anna.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jun 11, 2013 @ 20:46:42

      And yours; it threw me to read your blog. Your son – you can see how full of life he is, just from the pictures. My heart is breaking all over again.

      Reply

  6. Rachel
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 16:48:45

    Dearest Denise
    I’m so glad you liked our family’s mission trip blog so that I could find you. I think what caught your attention was the entry about our daughter, Grace. After coming to your blog, I see this is our common, tragic bond… one we share with many others I’m afraid. I actually have an entire blog devoted to this topic at http://www.embracing-grace.org. It is good to write about this and read what other grieving moms write. I think it’s part of the healing. I’m glad to “meet” you, and I pray we support each other.
    Love, Prayers and Tears,
    Rachel

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 19:18:01

      I know that in my world, Philip’s dying is an extraordinary event; then I raise my eyes and look around, and I see so many, many shocked and grieving parents. I am so sorry to have met you in this way, but this is exactly what Philip is doing for me – having people come into my life who care. Thanks for letting me know about your blog so I can hear your story. Our stories need to be told, to be heard.

      Reply

  7. Rachel
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 16:51:20

    P.S. I love your tagline “A Broken Heart is Open to Receive”. Such a perfectly worded statement.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 19:19:24

      Our love and grief come from the same place. It’s a hard truth to learn that you can’t be open to one without the other.

      Reply

  8. lenwilliamscarver
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 00:12:20

    I appreciate that you stopped by my blog and sad that when I visted yours I found you too are a member of the ‘grievng club’. My loss was Feb 19, 2011 my daughter was murdered through domestic violence. I feel your pain I will hold you in my prayers.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jun 30, 2013 @ 01:02:51

      As I will hold you in mine. Losing a child is a special kind of hell; I know I need faith, but it is so hard to find in the hole where my heart used to be. These last few have been rough; I can’t think about him without crying. I miss him, I miss him, I miss him. I know you feel the same and I am so, so sorry you have to go through this. You’re not alone, if that helps at all.

      Reply

  9. Aimee
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 14:08:44

    We interred my Dad’s ashes in the memorial garden at church today 🙂 I had you in my heart during the prayers, Denise. We were waiting for the nice weather, and God came through with a mild sunny beautiful day. Now Dad’s resting right where we can walk by and see him every Sunday.

    Reply

  10. Denise
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 15:42:28

    Oh, thank you for thinking of me. I have Philip’s ashes in my room. And I do know that’s not “him,” but it’s what I have, for now. Maybe I’ll scatter them one day…or not. Sending you so many blessings.

    Reply

  11. afichereader
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 22:52:47

    Thank you for reaching out, Denise. I’ve read through your blog entries. My heart is here with you, suffering and open to whatever comes.
    –Kathleen

    Reply

  12. Elyse
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 20:32:45

    I have been remiss in visiting your blog when you have been to mine. But I didn’t know I would be so moved wheN I came.

    My heart-felt sympathies to you, Denise, your husband and your daughter for what is a heartbreaking loss.

    Reply

  13. elisariva
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 18:50:33

    Thank you for checking out my blog today. My heart breaks for you yet encouraged that you are sharing your story and journey. There are no easy answers to your questions. Life just isn’t that easy.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Aug 13, 2013 @ 09:53:41

      No it isn’t. We each have our own portion, and I well know that no matter how devastating Philip’s death is to me, there are many ways it could’ve been worse. The more I write our story, the more I see it.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Reply

  14. Mona
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 19:53:56

    So sorry we share the loss of our beautiful sons. Writing is therapy for me.

    Reply

  15. Mona
    Aug 21, 2013 @ 19:57:20

    Denise, I am sorry we share the loss of a son. For me writing is a form of therapy.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Aug 21, 2013 @ 22:14:35

      Yes, it is. And I’m sorry, too. I’ve met the most wonderful people through this insidious pain. I want to ask, “why?” even though I know better. All I know is there are so many of us suffering and I’ve never understood. My thoughts and prayers are with you; may you find the peace you’re looking for, because if you do, maybe I can, too. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

      Reply

  16. tric
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 18:52:34

    My sympathies to you, your husband and daughter. Time really changes very little for you I am sure. Your loss still a huge hole in your life. I have read some of your posts tonight and you write of your journey eloquently. I think having been a small bit wild that sometimes it is only luck that is the difference between some of us making it through and others such as your son not. Again my condolences to you.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Aug 23, 2013 @ 19:35:08

      Thank you for your kindness; I’m so raw and vulnerable and it matters that people reach out. I know one of your children were born at home. My kids were born at home, too. I wrote a post (here’s the link if you want to read it: https://forphilip.com/2013/08/12/wantings-and-warnings/) about giving birth at home, and how I thought doing all the “right” things would yield certain results. Like two kids who lived longer than me. More and more I realize it’s not for us to say what’s right or what’s wrong. There is only learning to live with what is. Time is an odd creature; it’s a year and a half and I still get dizzy when I think of Philip. Sometimes I just cry, “My son, my son.” I know he’s with me – he’s everything but visible. That is the grace that’s the other side of this grief. Thing is, grief trumps all right now.

      Again – thank you.

      Reply

      • tric
        Aug 24, 2013 @ 04:40:10

        One of my closest friends has a young 13 year old son who was diagnosed with leukemia at christmas. He is currently recovering from a bone marrow transplant. I have seen on her face the trauma of discovering her young boy might die. We have at times discussed her fear of not knowing how she would go on if in fact he didn’t get better. He is doing okay at the moment but not out of the woods. He is not my child so I could never ever say I know how she feels, but to know your child’s life is not guaranteed is a very frightening experience. I am again so very sorry for your loss. It is unimaginable.

  17. Denise
    Aug 24, 2013 @ 06:41:59

    Thing is, none of our kids’ lives are guaranteed; no one’s life is because we’re all going to die. But who thinks about that – it would drive us crazy. While we all live with that uncertainty, it becomes terrifying when it gets narrowed to down to a specific, like “leukemia.” My thoughts and prayers are with your friend. She needs your strength, for sure.

    Reply

  18. Denise Hisey
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 11:16:00

    It must be the deepest pain imaginable; to lose a child. I’m sorry for your family’s loss and admire your desire to continue the healing journey publicly. No doubt many others who have experienced this will find comfort in your words and story.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Aug 25, 2013 @ 13:16:37

      You know, every parent will say there’s nothing worse, and it’s true. But you really don’t know what you mean unless it happens; and thank God for that because if we knew the risk we take…but we grieve as deeply as we love. Two sides of the same damn coin. I’d give anything to have Philip here, but God knows I was graced to have him for the short time that I did.

      Thank you for your kindness.

      Reply

      • Denise Hisey
        Aug 25, 2013 @ 19:11:19

        “We grieve as deeply as we love.”
        That is very profound, and so true.
        I’m so glad you stopped by my blog so I could discover yours. I look forward to getting to know you better.

  19. Denise
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 21:38:16

    As I do you…

    Reply

  20. cherylfoston
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 21:24:29

    Denise,
    Thank you, for reading my blog. I am sorry for your lost. As a mother of 3 sons my heart goes out to you. Starting your blog and writing about your experience and feelings may be the best thing you could have done to help you through it all. You have such strength and I shall pray that your strength and courage to share your deepest feelings with the rest of us remains.

    Reply

  21. seeker
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 00:34:32

    I’m sorry for your lost.

    Reply

  22. Denise
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 07:45:23

    Thank you; every bit helps.

    Reply

  23. Monique
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 00:54:39

    I’m confused? Is Phil you’re husband? Or was there a divorce? I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 13, 2013 @ 04:37:33

      Phil is my husband, who I’m separated from. Now that you’re saying this, I guess it can be confusing; I tend to call him my husband because we’re not yet divorced, and because in looking back to write this, the trauma of losing our son makes him feel more like “husband.”

      Reply

  24. sureshshaw
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 03:57:44

    LIFE IS AN ILLUSION…DON’T GIVE IT TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE…

    Reply

  25. Denise
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 04:23:57

    It’s our life-situations and the drama and stories around them that’s an illusion. Life is real and eternal and doesn’t end with your body. But to get that in the face of such loss? It’s work, my friend; the work of being human.

    Reply

  26. merrysusanna
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 10:20:39

    Very sorry to have discovered your wonderful writing this way. I have a friend who lost her son when he was 14. So hard to help with the deep grief when it rises to the top despite her efforts to cope. She like you, is strong and resilient. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 13, 2013 @ 12:03:33

      Thank you, and please tell your friend I’m sorry for her loss. Never have I understood just what people suffer in this world; and I do know mine could be worse than it is.

      I appreciate your kindness.

      Reply

  27. lensgirl53
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 19:05:11

    I lost my son to suicide 4 yrs ago. I know the pain of deep grief. My condolences to you although I know it is hardly comforting. I have found that writing a blog to inform others about suicide and mental illnesses somehow makes my son’s death have a purpose. I don’t readily accept that purpose but it’s all I have. I do hope your writing is helping you cope with your grief. God bless you and your family. I found your blog through another blogger (tric) who directed me here.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 19:25:36

      My God – I am so so sorry, so very sorry. What can I say? Every time I hear another child dies, another piece of my heart breaks. There has got to be another side to this anguish. We hurt because we love them so much, but we can’t save them. They are who they are. I miss Philip; I miss him so much it makes me feel sick and I know you know what I mean.

      Thank you for commenting; I don’t mean to be dramatic but I’m breaking down right now, for all of us. There’s too much grief in the world; but it has to mean something, it has to. I wrote in a post that the only thing that would satisfy me is Philip rising from the dead. Someone commented that my words made that happen for her. Everything stopped for a moment; this is how I’m keeping him alive, I thought. It’s not the way I want it, but it’s the way it is.

      Know my heart is with you.

      Reply

  28. Chris
    Sep 15, 2013 @ 09:06:38

    I am very sorry for your loss. Losing someone very close to you like a child summons incredible strength.

    I lost my fiance in January to cancer and my struggle has been great. Many people have told me things like, “There is a reason for everything,” and for the life of me, I can’t figure out a good one. They tell me too that I may never know and that time heals. Well, after almost 8 months some of the fog has cleared and the pain isn’t as debilitating, but I don’t believe I’ll ever heal from this loss. Like you, I’ve sought connection with my beloved and have visited with a medium, find signs from him, and talk with him everyday. Though friends and family encourage me to move on, I won’t because I can’t let go because to me that means he doesn’t exist and to me, he does.

    Just want to let you know that your words here help others such as myself. They let others know they’re not alone in carrying on after a loved one leaves this plane. Your words comfort like balm on a wound. Thank you for creating “Forever 21.”

    Best Always!

    Chris

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 15, 2013 @ 15:11:55

      My dad died earlier this year, and the priest at the wake said, “They say time heals all wounds. Don’t believe them.” What a relief to hear that from a holy man. It’s true grief changes. But there is no such thing as “moving on.” There’s figuring out how to make meaning in your life; and I don’t mean ONE BIG meaning. I mean daily, in the things you do, the people you meet. I think people are afraid to face their own grief and so urge you not to feel yours. You don’t move on; you move as you can and take you loved one with you. And if you get shaky because people say things like that, come read my blog, as well as countless others who talk about this. You can start here. She lost her husband and she’s a terrific writer.

      I linked two of my posts because I talk about what you wrote. Know that I am so very sorry for your loss, and my heart is with you.

      Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 15, 2013 @ 15:13:12

      ‘Scuse me; I meant one of my posts. The other link is the link to another blog.

      Reply

  29. mrsallscrewedup
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 11:18:32

    As a mother of three children myself, I can imagine the loss you have experienced, can almost feel the pain….Dear God, the intense, all consuming, unbearable pain…caused by losing one of your children. I want to curl up in a ball and scream into the pillow just at the thought, and yet I know what I feel is nowhere near anything like what you have gone through.

    You have strength and courage to write about your experience. By reading about other peoples experiences, it makes me more grateful for the life I lead, and more forgiving of the silly stuff in life.

    Mrs ASU

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 21, 2013 @ 15:12:00

      Thank you – writing about it keeps me sane, and having others read it helps so very much. I know what you mean about gratitude. Nightmarish as this is, I’m well aware of how much worse it could be. I have a daughter – she’s saved my life, whether she knows it or not.

      Reply

  30. mreid918
    Sep 27, 2013 @ 10:53:44

    I actually started tearing from reading this and I am not even a mother. I do however how a two year old nephew and he is the light of my life. I could not imagine the devastation I would have if we were to lose him. I never knew I could feel so strongly about another human being.

    Although he is not even my own child. My heart goes out to you, I can not even begin to imagine the devastation. You truly are very strong to be able to write about it and I hope that it brings you some comfort.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Sep 27, 2013 @ 13:24:42

      Thank you; I’m not sure what you’ve read of my blog, but my niece, my brother’s daughter, also died, when she was four. My parents lost two grandkids; what are the odds? It’s life, is all. I’ve never realized just how much people suffer.

      Thank you for your kind words. The blog helps, if you will, because as I write about Philip I’m there with him, and I’m sharing him with others. It’s devastating, though; thank God for my daughter. In her – and my son – I’m blessed.

      Reply

  31. gracielynne62013
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 00:34:04

    Wanted to let you know about a book I just recently read. It was called Color of Heaven. I kept thinking of you when I was reading it. It was about losing a child also. If you read it, it may comfort you. I think one of the problems I have had as a single mother is the feeling that I am isolated. To read someone else’s story that is similar to mine would make me feel less alone. I don’t know if reading this book will help or not. I can only hope and pray it does.
    You are in my thoughts and my prayers.

    Reply

  32. Denise
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 08:10:02

    Thank you for thinking of me. I know what you mean about isolation; so many people have reached out to me through my blog, so many people have lost children; still, I’ve a sense of isolation, like a barrier no one can remove. It is as it is. Still, I’m grateful for every connection I’ve made. Like with you – and I’m going to Amazon now to look at the book.

    Reply

  33. behindthemaskofabuse
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 12:17:48

    Hey Denise, I wanted to email you but forgot your email address, my stupid memory, I wanted to mention that the book I will be marketing with this new job is about a man who lost his 22 year old son. I thought you might be interested.

    Reply

  34. Denise
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 12:28:09

    I AM interested – my goal is to turn my blog into a book…my email is dsmyth693@gmail.com. So is the book’s finished? It has a publisher, or you’re trying to get him one? There’s so much I don’t know about publishing…

    Reply

  35. gatito2
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 19:47:56

    You write for the same reasons I do. To try to figure out how to live after the death of my 23 year old daughter. Only mine was to suicide from a depression I didn’t even know she had. Writing is my only outlet. I’ve been writing since she died 6 months ago. Though I have learned many things, I still don’t know how to live anymore. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Oct 18, 2013 @ 20:00:21

      Yes, writing is helping me survive this. That, and my daughter…but part of me is gone and I don’t know how to live with this hole and I know you know what I mean. Philip is my heart and my guide and my muse.I wish I could tell you how truly sorry I am that you have to go through this. You not only have to deal with her death, but with the fact that she took her own life. You must be thinking you could’ve done something, but you couldn’t. You didn’t know; it’s not your fault. I’m only saying that because I know how guilty I feel – it’s because we’re their mothers. We’re supposed to protect them. It’s biological, it’s psychic. We can’t be “reasonable.” These are our children, for God’s sake. But this I know is true: people die, relationships don’t. Which is part of what I’m writing about in my next post.

      I’m glad to have met you, and so sorry it had to be for this.

      Reply

      • gatito2
        Oct 18, 2013 @ 20:09:54

        Oh everything you say is so true. My Kaitlyn was my heart and soul and now there’s this huge hole, but yet its not empty, it’s filled with horrendous pain. I feel guilty I didn’t know. I feel guilty I should have seen SOMETHING. But my daughter was brilliant and brilliant people with everything going for them don’t get depressed much less suicidal. WRONG. And I thought I knew so much. I’m a nurse. I know about depression. I HAVE depression but I never knew someone could be severely depressed and suicidal and show absolutely no signs to anyone. I should have, if nothing else, felt that something was wrong just because she was my daughter, we were close, we were so very connected. But I didn’t. I never saw this coming and she was the last person on this earth I would have imagined taking her own life. My gosh this is a horrible experience. I’m so sorry for us all. How do we live?

    • Denise
      Oct 18, 2013 @ 20:27:41

      I was very close to Philip, too. And I do wonder why I didn’t realize he had something going on. My second post was about how he was calm, happy, well-adjusted and those kind of people don’t die. He was a light – WHAT DO YOU MEAN HE DIED?? It just didn’t compute.

      For whatever it’s worth, I know there wasn’t anything you could’ve done. Sometimes you just have to let others think it for you. And right now, I’m thinking exactly that for you.

      Reply

  36. gatito2
    Oct 18, 2013 @ 19:49:00

    And I’m also very, very sorry about the death of your son. No parent should ever have to go through this.

    Reply

  37. thenameisviv
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 16:05:43

    I’m sorry for your lose Denise. I am very certain that you were a wonderful mother to your son, Philip and are still a great mother to your daughter. I wish no one to ever go through with this, but you continue to show parents that do, how the struggle is but more importantly how you can conquer this. I personally do not know you, and I am young but I would like to thank you, just for sharing your story and for being a fantastic mother. It’s something that you should be reminded of. I love the title of your blog, it is one of the many great ways to remember Philip.

    Reply

  38. Denise
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 19:46:53

    How very kind and sweet of you; to hear that someone your age thinks I’m a good mother is a grace. I don’t know you either, but I bet you’re a terrific daughter. My children taught me the meaning of precious. I’ve never known love or heartbreak like this; but I’ve said before that I’d rather have had my son for a while then not at all.

    Never forget how precious you are.

    Reply

  39. Greet Grief
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 10:50:26

    Hi Denise, I just wanted you to know that I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. There is no obligation to accept it but you deserve it!
    http://greetgrief.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=441&action=edit

    Reply

  40. Greet Grief
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 10:51:59

    Reply

  41. Denise
    Dec 18, 2013 @ 12:28:35

    Thank you – I’m grateful and honored. I’m kind of overwhelmed now – I’ll look and see what I’m supposed to do to accept it.

    You’ve no idea how good you’ve made me feel.

    Reply

  42. foxbeautyblog
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 14:22:53

    Denise, you are a true inspiration and your words are beautiful! I’ve included you in my list of inspiring bloggers, as although it’s not much, I just want you to know you’ve made an impact on me. You can find the post here: http://foxbeautyblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/very-inspiring-blogger-award-lovely-jubly/ ! Good luck with everything, my thoughts are with you x

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jan 04, 2014 @ 17:14:10

      It is very much; and your timing couldn’t be better. I’m so down right now I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hear anything I have to say – then I read this from you, and I could cry with gratitude.

      Thank you; really, really – thank you.

      Reply

  43. Renee
    Jan 04, 2014 @ 21:41:51

    Denise
    I know what you were feeling when you found out about Phillip My baby Cody 21 was killed in a single car accident in California on November 23, 2013. He had just bought his first car a piece of crap that he spent a lot of time and money fixing what was wrong with it which was a lot. He had just replaced the two front tires but not the rear two. He got up that morning of the 23rd and was driving into town and had a blowout lost control of the car ran off the road and hit a tree flipped his car hit a tree and flipped his car again after hitting another tree and car landing on its left side. Cody managed to climb out from under the car and climb up the embankment where passerbys stopped to help him. He walked around a little bit and then collapsed. He died on the way to the hospital of a head trauma and cardiac arrest. We live in AZ he was working in CA. When I got the call I couldn’t believe it was real because my child won’t die not ever. All I can think about is that I was not there to tell him to hang on and I love you very much and I am so proud of you and hug him and love him he died in front of strangers that he didn’t know. I’m dying inside thinking about it all. I don’t feel as if I will ever get through this my heart is so broken. The difference though between you and I is that I worried constantly about Cody while he was away in California constantly. Denise I wish I could meet you and we could talk and cry and hug because you know exactly how it feels to lose one of your baby’s. I have not been able to speak to anyone yet therapist I mean because of the holidays and groups is not working for me at this time. My heart goes out to you. Bless You Denise our boys at our home and have the best because they have eternal life.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Jan 05, 2014 @ 05:47:24

      And yet another mother suffers this – I am so sorry for you, for me, for all of us. And it’s so fresh for you; not even two months. I wish I could say something to you to help you with this wild, wicked grief. I know there wasn’t anything anyone could say to me; he is my son. What do you mean he’s dead?? That’s all I could think. It didn’t make me feel better, either, when people would tell me I’ll survive this. Why would I want to? But one thing’s for sure – you’ll cherish your relationship with Cody more than ever. People die, relationships don’t. Stay close to him and he’ll help you. Philip’s gone in body only; he’s a palpable presence in my life, which doesn’t mean I don’t grieve like hell for him.

      I’d like to give you my email address: dsmyth693@gmail.com. If you ever want to write, to rant, to flip out – I’m here to listen. I know I can’t exactly know your heart, but I know it’s shattered, and for the same reason mine is. As horribly alone as you feel, you’re not; I’m here, and there are (unfortunately) so many others. I can’t take your grief, but you will reach a point where you wouldn’t want me to, crazy as that sounds. But I’ll help you carry it. Love and blessings to you, Renee. You’ve a place in my heart, and today I’m crying right along with you.

      Reply

  44. Abby's Kitchen
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 00:00:34

    My heart goes out to you, Denise. I don’t know what I’d do if I were in your shoes. I have three teenagers that I fret about all the time. I can only commit and trust the Lord to watch over them. I know anything can happen at any moment in time. Life is fragile, temporal, and can be full of trials & tribulations. I have lost two babies at 31 weeks and empathize deeply with you. I can’t even begin to fathom how much more intense the pain would be if I lost any of my older ones now. I had my twin girls (Faith & Grace) and son (Joseph) after my two miscarriages. They were my miracle babies. In times of despair, the Bible has been my source of comfort and still is. My heart felt sympathies to you and your family. May the Lord comfort and strengthen you as only He can. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18

    Reply

    • Denise
      Feb 18, 2014 @ 09:01:39

      Thank you for that – and you’re right. All you can do is trust. Worrying changes nothing. In spite of what happened, I don’t worry about my daughter. I love her, need her, enjoy her, and work hard to stay present. I’m sorry for your losses – what a terrible time that must have been for you. But how wonderful for your three miracles. There is nothing, nothing like having children, nothing like the love we feel for them.

      And thank you for your blog – Natalie (my daughter) and I are vegetarians, and lately I’ve been cooking mostly vegan. I’ve got several tabs open to pages on your blog for recipes I’ll be trying – the last dip you posted, the cream cheese (God bless whoever discovered cashew cream ;o) and the “bacon” coconut chips. Not to mention the things I actually did make, which were yummy…

      By the way – you’re really beautiful ;o)

      Reply

      • Abby's Kitchen
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 09:40:31

        Aww, thanks Denise! I stayed up late last night reading some of your posts. Very raw, brave, honest, and heartfelt. I commend you for sharing all that with your readers. Keep writing from your heart..I will be looking forward to them 🙂

  45. Denise
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 10:46:31

    Okay – You keep up with the recipes, I’ll keep up with the writing ;o)

    Reply

  46. Abby's Kitchen
    Feb 20, 2014 @ 11:46:42

    Sounds like a plan!

    Reply

  47. mewhoami
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 18:00:00

    My heart is broken for you. Although I recently experienced losing my step-father of 23 years, I can’t imagine how losing a child must feel. I am so sorry.

    Reply

    • Denise
      Feb 25, 2014 @ 20:03:30

      Your kindness is so very much appreciated. Do you know “Streetcar Named Desire?” At the end, a wretched Stella says something like, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.” That line haunted me; now I know why. I didn’t know how true it was.

      Thank you.

      Reply

  48. John
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 17:10:40

    Our son passed away almost two months ago. It is an impossible journey. I am still having trouble believing that it is real. God will have to show me where we go from here — because I have no clue.

    http://johncrewsblog.blogspot.com/2014/02/broken-hearted

    Reply

    • Denise
      Mar 27, 2014 @ 20:28:07

      No worse nightmare than to lose a child; none. No matter how much you’ve ever thought how terrible it would be, you don’t know what you’re talking about until it happens. What words are there for this? For one year I couldn’t write a word. Not a word. But now my blog is the place I go to be with Philip, to share him, to talk about what I need to talk about. Because at some point you realize you just can’t keep talking to everyone around you.

      Go slow; and stop by often. I’m here, and there are many others. We won’t ever stop listening. We know too well what you’re going through. And feel free to email if you’d like.

      My heart to you and to your family. I can’t take this from you, but I can be here while you go through this.

      Reply

  49. ajcoleman13
    May 26, 2014 @ 07:38:54

    No words can ever describe your loss, may you find comfort through your story. Thank you for sharing… AJ

    Reply

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