Does the “Beginning” Ever End?

One of the things “they” say after losing a child is that the second year is worse. No way. I had endured “second years” after my brother, my dad, and others passed away. The first year is by far the worse. That settles it.

Fast forward 355 days or so and I can begin to see what “they” might be talking about.

I barely know what the next step is. I’ve spent nearly a year dutifully marking off each morbid milestone – One month – check; Two months – check; Brooke’s birthday – check; Start of a Fall semester with no Brooke – check; Halloween Horse Show – check; Thanksgiving – check; More birthdays – check; Christmas and New Year’s – check; Megan’s birthday – check; Mardi Gras – check; Gulfport horse show – check; and so much more. Yet, here I sit with the realization that – it doesn’t end. This is just the beginning.

The reality that Brooke is gone – it must seem fairly obvious, but the mind is a tricky thing. The mind gauges just how much reality the heart and body can endure at once. Even when we are sure of “reality,” the mind is there acting as a gatekeeper. Filtering out the bits that are too much for the moment. Saving them for a sunny day. Doling out reality in measured doses.

As the heart and body begin to bear the weight of reality, the mind piles on a little more until eventually the full load comes to bear.

If someone handed you and load and told you that you’d have to carry a 500-pound weight every day for the rest of your life, you’d protest that it is impossible. But if someone handed you just a few pounds here and a few there until 500 pounds was sitting square on your shoulders, it would be different. That’s what losing a child is like. That’s the nature of tragedy. Read more

The Sting of Unanswered Prayers


Sometimes, the answer is simply “no.”

Every school has that one professor who is renowned for the breadth and depth of their knowledge. Sharp minds and sharp tongues frequently travel in packs. My second year of law school, I voluntarily subjected myself to such a professor, Professor George Pugh.

On the first day of class, I chose a seat toward the edge of the classroom – tucked safely out of the line of fire. So, I thought. By this time, Professor Pugh was later in his years and was losing his eyesight. Unbeknownst to me, his central vision was declining, but his peripheral vision was as sharp as his mind – and his tongue; and, I found myself in his line of vision and his line of fire. Read more

Life Doesn’t Feel Fair

My daddy loved little reminders. He carried the same old, worn pictures in his wallet for decades. Joe Rudd was the kind of guy who made refrigerator magnets to commemorate holidays. He wanted us to remember the moments after they had passed.

Daddy also liked books, poems, and pithy sayings. The sound of “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” still lands impatiently upon my ears. One of his favorite poems was by Mary Stevenson. (Who? Trust me. You know this one.) Read more

To Everything There is a Season …

It was a Tuesday in January 1998. This was the day. It had finally arrived. I could say that I had been waiting for this day since May 1997 when we got a plus sign on the little stick but the truth is that I had been waiting for this day for much longer. For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a mom. I wanted a baby, and now – the day was here. Years of longing and months of anticipation were finally going to be satisfied.

January 27, 1998. The day that I became a mom. The day that Megan was born. The day that my life changed forever. Read more

How to Set a New Year’s Resolution with Intention

Around this time every year, we make resolutions (and frankly, by the time this is posted a good number will already have been abandoned). Often, we opt for improvement in exercise, diet, or health habits. Other times, we take the path of “giving up”– drinking, smoking, coffee, television, social media, fill-in your “drug” of choice.

Not to say that anything is wrong with any of these choices, but can we challenge ourselves to go deeper? More meaningful? Read more

Help Wanted

Do you remember your first day at your first “real” job? I’ll bet that you were tasked with some assignment for which you did not feel qualified. I arrived for my first day as a “real” attorney full of spit and vinegar. (Not really, I was as nervous as my rat terrier trying to navigate a wooden floor.)

My first assignment was mind-boggling – at least to me. Just a snot-nosed, young attorney, I was wholly unqualified to accomplish it. My boss instructed me to review a case file (it took up about the equivalent of four feet of cabinet space) and write an outline to prepare the case for trial. Oh yeah – “I’m meeting with the client when my flight lands in Atlanta, so you have about two hours to complete it.” What? Read more

How to Live Life Out of Order During the Holidays

How many times have you set a schedule to have it squashed when the time arrived? Meticulous plans marked in ink, only to be crossed out? Appointments abolished because someone or something didn’t cooperate with your carefully choreographed calendar? Sometimes when timing is off, we say “good miss.” Or something better supplants our plans and we enjoy the unexpected change.

Other times, it just feels out of order.

Today marks 38 weeks since we lost Brooke on a back road in rural Mississippi. Read more