I’m Alive


As I sit here, the song “I’m Alive by Kenny Chesney is on my heart. Songs, I guess seem to be speaking to me lately. You see my husband communicates through music. He is not a man that expresses verbally his feelings often, but if I go through his playlist it really tells his life story – what he feels and his grief.  See this song was added to his playlist quite a few years back when the market was going south and work was harder to find (he is a self employed contractor), pay for jobs was at a low (supply and demand) and people that owed us LOTS of $$$$….went under. Stress was almost insurmountable! However, he was still able to be THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for what we had. I on the other hand was a bit bitter, and angry at the people who left us high and dry and scraping by (I now have learned you can’t hang on to anger, it only hurts you and no one else), BUT I have ALWAYS been thankful for the blessings in my life.


Never could we have imagined what we were about to be face……..the death of our sweet, beautiful, funny, joyous Ellery. I can honestly say in the first few weeks I wasn’t thankful to be alive, neither of us were. I will never forget sitting in bed both sobbing in each others arms and saying we have two choices…… a) we kill ourselves (don’t judge for most bereaved parents this thought pops in your mind)….. or b) we survive, we “fake it till we make it”. We both knew option A. wasn’t really an option and we made the decision quickly that we had to survive this with the hope to one day thrive.

Last Christmas together

Nothing can prepare a bereaved parent for the Holidays….. NOTHING! The first holidays were quite a blur to us. The first Halloween we walked like Zombies (how fitting) in our neighborhood trying not to make eye contact with anyone, but our excited children brought us joy! Thanksgiving we left to visit my cousin. She bought a candle and stickers for the kids to decorate in remembrance of Ellery! We got to light it and acknowledge our daughter and sister. That my friends meant the world to our family. We kept insanely busy….. which was a great distraction for us and the kids, but the cement block was still there compressing our hearts. Christmas was dreadful we kept the same tradition of going where we were “expected” to go but we were different people. So being in circumstances like holidays where “business is as usual” was very difficult for us. Our exposed, broken hearts were so raw and the mention of our sweet girls name …. Ellery… was barely spoken in fear of hurting us more…….. I believe. We thanked God for carrying us through the holidays and were grateful for January.




Now…. here i sit….. almost 16 months later…. almost 4 months into year 2 of learning to live without our precious daughter Ellery. I was told year two could be worse than year one and to be honest I kinda scoffed at that. How could that be possible??? But now I can see that is VERY possible! Year one you are blessed with the “grief fog” lots of support and the blessing of looking back at what you did a year ago with your precious child. Year two….. the fog lifts and the raw air hits, the overwhelming support is gone (only a few beautiful souls left to weather the storm with -I am beyond thankful for their comfort) and you are left with the what if’s, what would be’s and the eternal missing and aching. I still can not say that year two is worse for me, it’s different…… meaning, it’s not easier, less painful or hard it’s just different. I cry a little less, the anxiety has subsided a bit and I feel like I am starting to be able to tame this wild stallion of grief a bit and I am beginning to understand it a little more but it is STILL terribly difficult.  The loss of Ellery  has caused my heart to be broken  open and holds so much sorrow, but it has also allowed me to experience overwhelming gratitude and appreciation for what I do have in my life.   As the song would say: (I’m Alive: by Kenny Chesney)

“So damn easy to say that life’s so hard
Everybody’s got their share of battle scars
As for me, I’d like to thank my lucky stars that I’m alive and well…
It’d be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you sat and watched go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me…I’m alive

And today you know that’s good enough for me
Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing can’t you see
Today’s the first day of the rest of my life and I’m alive
And well…I’m alive and well”

I can honestly say thank you Lord for my life and the blessing that surround me.. big and small! Thank You for our family, friends and new friends that have continue to stand with  us. Thank You for opening my eyes to see the grandness in life while holding my fragile heart in the palm of Your hand.


I am still riding toward the very front of this rollercoaster of grief…. where it’s scary, unexpected and takes your breath away but one day….. I too will be sitting in the last seat helping others with their ride. As for now…. “today you know that’s good enough for me. Breathin’ in and out’s a blessing can’t you see” !


10 thoughts on “I’m Alive

  1. To you, all of you, the beautiful mothers of angels, I can’t imagine how you do it .With these heartbreaking stories , so close to home, I often allow my mind to wander, and morbidly, I wonder, what I might feel in even a remotely close circumstance. I can’t. I am a mother, and my heart and my brain seemingly know to protect me from even being able to fathom that horror– unable to truly wrap my mind around that possibility … We can’t put ourselves in your shoes, we can’t know what you’re going through, and we certainly can’t offer any helpful advice, as outsiders. But we can love you, support you, never judge you, always remember you’re beautiful angels, always speak their names and tell their stories, and never forget to be understanding about the small daily things that you’re missing, the great big exciting events that you wish that you could share with your child, and we can try and reign in our expectations of what should be, and just try as hard as we can to make your new ‘normal’, not to feel so unnatural. And at the end of any given day, where we have gone to work, gone to the gym, spent time with our children, and just continued to breathe in and out all day , painlessly and effortlessly LIVING…unaware of how seemingly impossible that was for you today …at the end of any given day, no matter what, there’s nothing we can for that pain. It’s everlasting in a way that seems devastatingly comforting, because although your child is no longer physically with you, the pain always will be. How on earth can we help you deal with that? As fellow mothers, our only thoughts are how to take away that pain , but we are as capable of taking away the pain as we are to take away the memory, the love, the bond ….feelings so everlasting, so ever present, so completely overwhelming. Can we help you stop loving and missing your child? No… that will never be . That raw, open wound may be somewhat cauterized by the day after day after day flames of life, but it will never heal . So to all you strong, beautiful, hurting Mommys, thank you for letting us try. Thank you for talking so we can listen, thank you for asking us to do Anything!!!-, so we can feel like we’re helping, thank you for accepting our invitations and continuing to be a part of our lives, even though yours feels as though it’s been completely destroyed. Thank you for understanding that we can’t possibly understand. Thank you for remembering any big or small event happening in our lives, and thank you for forgiving us if and when we forget those same moments in yours. Thank you for allowing us to try, and probably fail, but try again, because we love you and we just want to help. We just love you and we hope and pray that that’s enough. ❤️💜💚

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  2. Sister, you are beautiful. I thank God for your gift of being open and the gift of your words to encourage others as you ride that coaster up front.
    Beautifully written! Praying for you! Love to you all!

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  3. I know the feeling of that judgement and expectation that people have after a year has past. Some even say “my goodness it’s been a year, you have to move on, get over it find a new normal” I heard that so many times after my daughters car accident and we were grieving all the kids, the one who died that day and the others who died in the days and weeks after. When you are 17 this is not suppose to be your life. People even thought it was some how her fault even tho she was just a passenger. I now understand that yes we don’t cry as often as time goes on and the “what if” anxiety fades over time but the deep sadness of what could be never goes away. Allison I am so glad I met you that day in Walmart and I do pray for you and your lovely family often. You are helping so many others by just being you in this heartbreaking circumstance. Thank you for sharing and I pray the holidays are different this year, that family and friends talk about Ellery with you and put her picture out. Love to you my friend.

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  4. You are an amazing mama and human being Allison. I wish I didn’t have to read your heartbreaking story or that of so many others, but as I read them, it keeps me focused and grounded in all my blessings and my favorite word…..grateful! I pray that one day, Joy and Peace, of an altered fashion, will be put back into your life. God Bless you and keep you.

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