Tuesday, June 5, 2012


We made it to day #365. 

The bad:
  • We have survived 365 days without her laugh.
  • We have survived 365 days without her spirit filling a room.
  • We have survived 365 days without talking to her or hugging her.
  • We have survived 365 days of grieving and yearning for her, every day. 
  • There are still thousands and thousands of days ahead with a part of our hearts missing.

 The good: 
  • She has experienced 365 cancer free days for the first time since 2006.  
  • She has experienced 365 days without any tests, scans, blood work, treatments bad news, pain or sadness. 
  • She has experienced 365 days of pure joy and happiness that we cannot even comprehend. 
  • She has experienced 365 days where she has been able to eat Wendy’s Frosties while remaining perfectly skinny.  :)
  • These 365 days to her have probably felt like only a second has past.

 What I have learned:
Grief is as unique as your fingerprint.  Yes, there are “normal” cycles, but you will react to grief, deal with grief and respond to grief in your own unique way.  What is comforting to someone else may not be comforting to you.  What works for you may not work for someone else.  And that’s ok.  And grieving the loss of child is the worse grief.   

When someone is grieving, they simply are not ok.  And we all need to be ok with that.  They will be ok again someday.  But for this season, they just are not ok.  And as uncomfortable or hard as that may be to watch, the best way to love that person is to be ok with the fact that they are not ok.

My grief hurts.  I miss my sister.  She was one of only three people who have been in my life from day 1.  She knew all of my ugly parts and still loved me.  But the pain I feel in my grief is NOTHING compared the pain I feel watching my parents grieve. 

Making those first bigger life decisions without that person is hard.  You feel sad.  You feel guilty. 

Grief is sneaky.  You will feel like you have turned a corner and then suddenly you get knocked over by something unexpected.

Children bring a unique hope and perspective.  My daughter is only two and I already know what her first purpose from God is and she is fulfilling that purpose daily.

I have an amazing husband.  Amazing.  He has loved me, every day.  He has been my punching bag when he didn’t deserve it.  He has been my rock even while he too is deep in grief.  He has never left me, even I when I pushed him away.  He has loved my parents and supported them.  He has never asked for anything in return from me over the last year.  He has gave and gave and gave.  He loves my parents as much as I love them.  How many men do you know who would encourage their mother-in-law to move in down the street?  My man did!  I love you, Jeremy.

My heart has softened to people.  I need to judge less.  I need to listen more.  That’s what Metisha did.  She was better at forgiving than I was.  She was more relational than I was.  I need to be more like her.

Mark Welsh is a strong man and a good husband.  No matter what, he will always be family.  And I will always be thankful for how he loved Metisha in health and in sickness.  I love you, Mark.

God designed our hearts to love each other in amazing ways. We have been blessed by people with amazing hearts. My friend Amanda Cain, thank you. You have been fresh air to my soul. I love you.

When you lose a child, part of your heart, part of your soul dies with that child.  No matter how old that child is when he or she dies.  You will never be the same without that child physically here.  You cannot be the same person.  And if you want to love that parent, you have to be ok with that.

Parents who have lost a child have a similar look in their eye.  You may not notice it, but if you look deep, you can see the hole in their soul there.  Now I can recognize it.  I wish I couldn’t. 

I don’t know if God allows bad things to happen, but I do know he can bring good again after the bad.  Will everything be good?  No.  But there will be good.

God promised us joy will come in the morning.  He has delivered on the promise.  Are we experiencing a season of joy yet?  Absolutely not.  But we have been given moments and glimpses of joy that remind me it is possible to have a season of joy again.

What have we done this last year?
We have made some BIG changes.  Hard Changes.  Good changes. 

Last September everyone was at our house in Sand Springs and when Mom and I came home from a therapy session (of the retail verity) Dad asked, “Do you want to go look at house we should buy?”  Mom and I looked at each other, laughed, and continued what we were doing.  But he kept insisting he was serious.  So Mom played along a bit.  “Where is this house?”  Dad happily responded, “in the back of the neighborhood.”  There were more shocked looks from Mom and I and I immediately gave Jeremy a look asking, “You’re ok with your in-laws living in the same neighborhood?!?”  We finally went to go look at it and while Mom didn’t fall in the love with the house, she did start to fall in love with the idea.  After they left I had a serious conversation with my husband to make sure he was ok with this plan before anything moved forward.  He assured me he had no problems with them living so close (and he stills feels that way).  And three months later, they sold their house in Fairview to a wonderful young family who we love, and Mom and Dad’s new house was under construction just about two blocks away from my house. It was big change.  It was hard to make that first big family decision without Metisha.  But it was a good change and the right change.  Logistically, Mom is here most of the time and goes back to Fairview every other week to take care of business stuff.  Dad splits his time between Sand Springs and Fairview for work and stays in his 5th wheel travel trailer when he’s at Fairview.     

I know this move shocked a lot of people, especially in Fairview.  Mom and Dad had lived in Fairview all but a few years of their lives.  They had lived in the same house since Metisha was two.  There were a lot of memories in that house.  And the Fairview community had (and still does) provided so much support and love through Metisha’s cancer battle.  I still call Fairview home.  But sometimes when you experience great grief, you need a major change.  And mostly, we needed each other.  Mom needed Emmory, she is her greatest source of joy.  I needed my parents.  I needed to be able to look in my mother’s eyes to see how she was doing.  We needed each other.  Fairview, please know how much we love you and we still feel like we are a part of the community.  But this move was the best decision we made.  None of us, especially Mom, would be doing as well as we are today if we were not together.  We needed each other daily, and God made that possible.    And to all of you wondering, Jeremy and I are still happy they are here and it has been a much smoother transition that we expected.  And Emmory quickly learned when Mommy says no too many times, she wants “go to Nanny’s house!”    

Mark had made big changes too.  He’s met someone who makes him very happy and that makes us very happy.  She puts an amazing smile on Mark’s face and we are so thankful for that! 

How are we doing?
I’m never sure how to answer that question.  For what we’ve endured since 2007, and for the loss we have experienced, I think we are doing well.  There are still really bad and ugly days.  For Mom and Dad, they still have a lot of years of adjusting and grieving.  But in the last month I’ve started to see them return to old activities.  We have good days.  We are laughing more.  And I am noticing that when the laughter ends, the pain doesn’t immediately take my breath away again.  And we are planning Emmory’s first trip to Disney World which we know would make Tisha happy :)
I think what I’m realizing is that when God promised us Joy will come again, he didn’t mean a season of unbelievable joy will come again and quickly.  He meant we will have joy again and we have.  We have moments of joy.  When Emmory acts like Metisha we have joy.  When we get to have dinner at my Mom’s every night, we have joy.  When Dad comes home on Thursday evenings, we have joy.  They are not seasons yet, but those moments are relief and pure joy.

Metisha was an amazing person.  She did amazing things.  We have been blessed over and over with people honoring her and remembering her.  She fulfilled her purpose here and she exhibited many qualities that we should all try show every day.  She had a joyful spirit, even in cancer.  She fought for what was right.  She was a person who connected people.  She loved a lot. 
I love you Tisha.  I hope your first heaven birthday is filled with a lot of sugary treats and big hugs from Granny and Grandpa!


Anonymous said...

I want to write something, but there's nothing I can say, except "thank you". You're amazing and your description of grief couldn't have been any more accurate. Bless you and your family. JO

Anonymous said...

Regan you are amazing! I miss TISH so much. Her big smile gave me a lasting memory that I will always keep in my heart.It is so good to know that you and your family are getting better. God is Faithful and his word will not return void. He promised never to leave nor forsake us. Hold to his unchanging hands and he will keep you in perfect peace! GOD BLESS YOU ALL!TAKE CARE... HUGS!!

Anonymous said...

You have a gift for writing. I miss your sister all the time. I miss her humor and her support. I just miss her. And I know that my hurt doesn't even compare to that of your family. I love you guys and always will.

Kelly Medders

Jana said...

Regan this was beautiful. It shows your true feelings, and love for your sister. It has helped me and I'm sure many people who have lost a love one knowing that the feelings we all have are "normal". Your sister was a beautiful person and so are you and your family. All of you have touched my life in so many ways. I still and always will have a special place in my heart for you and your family. This was a wonderful way to honor and celebrate your sister....Awsome job !!

Jen said...

Thank you once again, for sharing with us. You see, I have been anxious preparing for this day, as it is not only the day Metisha left us, but my youngest daughter's birthday. It will always be a bittersweet day for me, and I will always have the memory of receiving the texts that morning.
I miss her...and I'm thankful to hear from you, as I have thought about you all many times throughout this year.
Change is good, and healing. The hurt never ends, but it does dull over time.
Thanks again for sharing with us. It's healing for us as well.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. I remember hearing the news of Metisha's passing like it was yesterday. Thinking of you guys on this day.

P.S. We think that Amanda Cain girl is pretty special lady too. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Regan. Thank you for continuing to share your journey with such vulnerability. You have such a way with words, and it amazes me how much you are comforting those around you in the midst of your pain. Just like your sweet sister did. :-)