Carried By Love

Today I'm reflecting on the messy and unpredictable grief journey.

Five months ago tomorrow was the worst moment of my life, when I got a text from my brother Paul that simply read, "Call me ASAP." Well, that can't be good, right? First of all, Paul never texts me. Second of all, it's mid-morning and he's probably farming. Third, ASAP means urgent.

So I ask my mentor teacher to cover my class 
because I suspect that there's an issue with our mom.

And even though he said that Mipps was unresponsive this morning, I heard him but did NOT understand what he was saying. Mipps was often unreachable through his work as a salesman and his sense of wanderlust and travel. Wasn't he in Maine with his new girlfriend? Perhaps they're out of cellphone range. Just leave a message, I was about to advise. He'll get back to you. He always does. What I wasn't ready for was what came next. "Maybe you didn't hear me. Mipps was unresponsive this morning." Like in the hospital? Because there's no way that the beautiful human in this kayak taken just a month earlier is gone at 53, right? If only .... 

And if you've been reading, you know what happened.
Heart attack during his sleep.
Went to bed and woke up in heaven.
Best night's sleep ever.

It's what he had prayed about since childhood:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
And this I ask for Jesus' sake. Amen.

His reality has left this reality for us in its wake:


By a student who emails to ask if she can pray for me.
By a friend who flies in from Chicago to sit with me.
By a colleague who makes soup and brings it for dinner.
By a counselor who sent wind chimes for my back patio.
By a PenPal from childhood whose comfort card was spot on.
By a cousin who sent a book and a succulent.
By family who cry with me when I'm overwhelmed.
By people who've also lost a sibling and know this pain.
By my illustrator who asked how I prefer to be comforted.
And by others who've spent time trying to heal.

Carried. By love. And so much more.

A brace when I can't walk unaided.
Oxygen when I can't breathe.
Understanding when I cannot speak.

What a brutal five months it has been missing Mipps.
Sometimes I'm sure that I could drown in my tears.

And yet, rays of sunshine stubbornly peek through,
carried by love. Lots and lots of love.

Continued support of his Compassion International kids.
A Gift Ark of animals donated through Heifer International.

Mark was like an animal whisperer.

Seed money to a local high-school band student.
Scholarships sending two teens to the Nat'l Leadership Academy.

Aide for a mom who, at her own brother's death, is taking in her nephew.
Many teachers' projects funded on Donors Choose

And more. So much more. His love lives on.

So as I meet tomorrow's five-month milestone of riding the
grief roller coaster, I'm here to report that I'm managing more
good days than bad, more hope than despair. For the most part.

I'm learning to lean into the pain and lean on those people
who lovingly choose to sit with me while I emote through
all the feels, the highs and lows of losing not only my 
youngest sibling but also one of my very best friends.

I have definitely never been this sad. But I'm learning that sad isn't bad. It's just sad. And I'm sure it's growing me. It has to be, right? Accepting that it's okay to not be okay, giving me strength to help carry them when they can't walk, and preparing me for when this happens to someone else. 

A few gifts, from this thing called grief. 

And in the midst of my grief walk, two joyful opportunities ... 

click the images for a post and a podcast episode.

Happy February, dear reader.


  1. I'm going to tuck that first quote away for someone who might need it in my life at a later time. I know you are being carried a lot, and I am so glad that you don't have to walk this road alone. HUGS.

  2. My partner shared an interview with you that she watched for an Entrepreneurial Class that she is currently taking at NEU within her EdD program. We then looked together at your books, picture book, and of course, your blog. The timing is spot on. I lost my mom on Tuesday morning, the date of Tanya's comment above. It was a three-week journey, from shocked diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer to passing, and to 'fall' upon you, your work, and these words that speak to grief are a blessing. Thank you.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss; the shock will carry you through these initial dark days of confusion and dismay, then the love of your village will be there to carry you the rest of the way. I am praying for your peace and provision as you walk the painful journey of saying good-bye, letting go, and finding your new normal buoyed by her legacy of love.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!