July 30, 2016


“How can you be gone?” I whispered to one of the many photos on our fridge.
I took a moment to study the faces. One from the dating days, and then one from the parenthood days.

We both got older. A few wrinkles have begun to claim space on our faces, a few grey hairs have claimed space on top.

We grew up, I realize.

We grew up together…

If you’re new to my little blog, hang on. You’re in for a roller coaster. There’s a lot of feelings going on here.

Three months ago I said goodbye to my best friend, my husband. Our children and I laid in bed with him as he slipped away from us, silently changing the course of our lives forever.

We had a happy Christmas, although we had already begun packing to return to our mission field - a remote little village in the jungle in South America. December 30th we found out that Captain had cancer… less than 4 months later we said our goodbyes.

Now, as I’m trying to pick up the pieces of our lives, figure out this single motherhood business, and find balance with working, nothing, homeschool, housekeeping, etc., I’m left in the quiet. The meals have stopped. The random visits from friends offering condolences have stopped. The barrage of affection from every direction has slowed.

There is a time and a place for everything, as the shock of our loss wears off in our community, we’re left in the quiet to figure this new life out.

Please don’t mistake me for complaining; there is a time for rallying and a time for quiet. Now is the time for quiet. It’s needed.  (Please don’t mistake this for a lack of support. My tribe around me is very much involved in making sure there are vegetables in my fridge and that the children have clean underwear.)

Like the gentle breeze stirring the grass, life seems to be gently stirring me away from shock and grief and darkness to light and laughter.

As I grapple with letting go of our old life, and trying to accept this new life, I’m left also grappling with God.

So many questions for God.

One of my best friends told me shortly after Todd died that she wasn’t sure if I would cling to my faith or turn to alcohol. I laughed at her statement, but I also wondered the same thing. Tragedy has a way of making you examine what you believe.

You figure out pretty quick if you have faith that will be scorched and whither away, or if the roots of your faith will fold fast through the storm…

There’s going to start to be some changes that you’ll see in our family. I’ll be writing about it, and I’m sure I’ll be posting on Instagram and Facebook too. After a lot of prayer, thinking and discussing, I’ve made a decision about our lives that quite frankly - feels a little crazy. I still can’t believe we’re doing this, but, we’re going to give it a go.

 I know that this decision isn’t for everyone, and that some people are going to think it’s stupid. But don’t judge me. Unless you’ve lost your spouse and know the emptiness and brokenness our family is experiencing, you don’t get to judge us. We need to heal some more before I’m ready to work and put the kids in school, and we have chosen an unusual way for this to happen…

We’re joining the “tiny home” world. We bought an RV and our goal is to live in it for a year. To take a year and heal, grow, bond, and learn how to be a family of three. We’re going to sick around TN through the winter with a few exceptions (I’ve always wanted to see New England in the fall), and then head west, visit family, see things, and homeschool as we go.

We might hate this. We might last two months and change our minds. And that’s OK. Our animals are coming with us. We’re going to be a traveling zoo. This is crazy town and I know it. I guess I’m just the right kind of crazy. But we need this freedom right now. The freedom to stay, the freedom to go. To cry some days, and have wild adventures other days. The freedom to cling to each other and to explore and to run in the wilderness.

Todd would have loved this.

I don’t know what this next year will bring, but I do know that God is with us. And He loves us. And sometimes that’s all we need to know.



Storie said...

Dear Cas, wow, I am so proud of you. Tiny home living ain't for the faint of heart. But I've figured out by now that you are not faint of heart. It will be a truly grand adventure for you and the kids. Exactly the kind of "different" I'm sure your family needs during this transition year. My sister is renovating a school bus and will be living in it pretty soon. She's having a blast. I just know you'll love it.

I am your age, a young mom like yourself. I keep coming back to your blog because, well, I don't know why. I don't know you. But I am drawn to your writing and I like to pray for you. So I guess I keep coming back.

My mom died when I was 10. It was horrible. Hard. Difficult. Awful in the worst way imaginable. Absolutely hell on earth, for a child to lose a parent. I guess I just wanted to tell you that I'm okay. I am strong today. I am a faithful member of the church, never left it, never went off the deep end. I had a strong, very loving father, who made that possible. Millie and Sam will be okay. I do not presume. I know. I just know.

Also, I wanted to tell you about a really interesting camp for grieving children that is held nationwide in most major cities. I am thinking about volunteering for it because my heart has always been tugged toward grieving children. But as I was researching it, I thought of you. The closest one to you will be in Charlotte, NC in November. It looks like a beautiful effort, put on for 3 days, that can really benefit hurting young ones.

I was privileged to see my mother's body at the funeral home during a private viewing before she was cremated. To see her dead was probably the best thing my dad could have done for me. It seems morbid, and many parents would struggle with that decision, but for me, it was the best. For many, many years after she died, I would catch glimpses of slender, dark haired women in crowds, and my mind would fantasize that maybe it was my mom, maybe she wasn't dead, maybe I would just run into her in a crowd one day. But then I would remember seeing her laid out in the funeral home, covered in a blanket, stiff to my touch. And my frantic fantasies were immediately calmed, because I knew she was indeed gone forever. Adults don't contend with reality in the same way, but children are a little more prone to bend and twist those thoughts when it comes to their desire to see their parent again.

It was good for them to see their daddy in his final moments. I know you don't need me to tell you that, or any of this stuff. You're doing a good job, Cas. That's all I wanted to say, you're doing a good job.

Much love,
Storie Giddings
Keene, TX

Storie said...

Also, that camp is free.

Storie said...


Unknown said...

Cas...I am so happy for you! This sounds like a wonderful plan for you and your sweet kiddos! I continue to pray for you and I hope that you have an awesome adventure together! Be sure and come visit us at Valley View! We miss you all so much!

Unknown said...

Cas...I am so happy for you! This sounds like a wonderful plan for you and your sweet kiddos! I continue to pray for you and I hope that you have an awesome adventure together! Be sure and come visit us at Valley View! We miss you all so much!

Anonymous said...

Onward 'n upward! What a hoot! Yep, you're crazy and also brilliant and know it--what a great way to be. I am happy for you 'n the kiddos. You've got a buncha prayer warriors who will pray you thru your journey.

Travis said...

This is such a cool plan!

Amber said...

Cas, you don't know me, we have never met. I first saw you on the September 2009 birth board on babycenter as pinkdancingcats. I had a little girl, Selah that month. As the kids got older the birth board kind of faded out, but somehow I had always remembered seeing pics you posted of Millie. I thought she was so cute and sweet and I loved her name. I remember seeing pictures of Sam as well. I remember you posting about your move for your mission and I followed it because it was so interesting to see how you guys were living and what you were doing. I hope this doesn't sound creepy or weird since we had never talked. But we had the girls in common, and like I said it was so interesting to see your blog. Anyway, I read a while ago about your husband having cancer, and I hadn't checked in many months, and now it hurts my heart to see that he has passed away. I truly am sorry. I can't imagine how hard to must be to get through each day , and I commend you on what a great job you are doing for your children. Keep it up and stay strong.

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