Staring at the Wall -

Man, the nightmares have been brutal this week. Who knows what is bringing it on, all I know is - I want it to stop. Three nights of this makes me never want to sleep again. I won't go into details, because it is not even something I want to write or talk about, but the images make me wince. And last night it was worse (if at all possible), because it was a pretty great dream...but then near the end, I was (in my dream) convulsed in sobs and woke up feeling the biggest sense of loss. Because Audra was there, and John was there, and sweet 1 year old Henry was there. 

But Avery wasn't. And when I awoke - the dream and reality were the same. I hated it. 

I've been trying to find a way to write this post for months. I've kept shoving it aside because it isn't profound, it is merely sticking close to me. But it was meant to be written. So here it is.


It seems so incredibly trivial, like the sort of "Ah-hah!" moment that would hit any normal person within the first few minutes of an activity. But it didn't. It didn't hit at all. 

The days after Avery died, before we flew out for TN, actually, it wasn't even days, it was just hours. Hours strung together. I barely ate, barely slept. After all, who could sleep? I spread out all the materials on the spare bed, I put my ipod earbuds in my ears, I listened to my Scripture CD on repeat, and I embroidered while the sky cried. I embroidered my heart out. I had to have something to do

I poked my fingertips and didn't cry. Pain was ... relative. There was no pain like my breaking heart. Threads tangled, were pulled out again. No frustration. No nothing. I finished that sampler in less than 2 days, because it was all I did. I checked Facebook, I listened to my music, I embroidered. 

I ironed out the wrinkles and I placed it in the pretty cherry frame and hung it on my bedroom wall. 
Then I packed my suitcase and cried my heart out and left for TN to say goodbye to a baby I adored. 

When I came home, it was there on the wall: "Bless the Lord, O my soul.".... it was there when the sunlight hit it in the dawning hours of the morning, when the mourning dove cried and so did I. It was there in the late afternoons when the wind rustled the holly trees and blew the aching memories through my soul and sleep wouldn't find me. It was there when the cars drove by in the night and the reflection of red and white lights shone on the glass pane. 

And then soon I was desperate to embroider again. I was at it, with a harder one. I was bending over, straining tear-filled eyes to see what I could not, would not, SEE. It was there to help forget the sounds, the memories, the way I wanted to scream and smash things and anything.....oh anything to do. Anything to put in order and make right. Anything to make something beautiful. 

July came and went, with the birth of Henry, and the embroidery was set aside for the crocheting of a baby blanket to hold their sweet joy, to wrap my love around him from a distance. 

Then it was August, and September....and finally, I finished the hard piece I'd labored over. In those months, I'd also ripped apart my side of the room, taking away things I didn't want, didn't need. I sanded a board and painted and re-painted it, and hammered and designed and measured and hung things. And there was a beautiful corner and wall that looked like peace to me. 

And so I had finally finished this hard work of embroidery - I carefully embroidered my initials in the bottom, along with the date. I was so excited to iron it, put it in its frame, and then I proudly set it up on a stool and took photos of it in the same room I'd been working on it for so long. With words of praise spilling around the bottom, and a gorgeous display of colors, it would look perfect on the wall. I took a hammer and a nail into my room, found just the right spot, and hung it there with my other projects. 

Then I sat down on the side of my bed to take it all in and smiled. It all looked so complete up there.

And then this truth hit me so hard the smile dropped away and tears filled my eyes as I gasped for air. 

Because - No matter how much I embroidered, I couldn't bring him back
No matter how much I decorated and cleaned and took pictures, at the end of the day - 
Avery would still be gone. 

I was stunned. I sat there with tears streaming down my cheeks and knew a brokenness I had not seen coming, but would be following me around and hitting me in unexpected places for what seems like forever. It was a breath-taking, shocking, pain-filled knowledge that I was not ready for. 

It seems so silly, doesn't it? Like it should have been there in the first stitch, that it would not change anything....but oh, the dreams were there. That the world would calm down and spin back. That the embroidery would heal some part, the stitching back together of my heart. 

It hadn't. I sat there with my broken heart and knew I wasn't going to be able to put it back together. 

This summer, before the anniversary, I started another one, and I flew out to CO with it. Thousands of feet above the land I love and the people with it, but one who wasn't there. I felt that loss with every glance down, with every quiet moment in CO where the wind rustled the pines and tears found their way down my cheeks. I came home and hung it up on the wall that I've stared down many many times.

It hangs on the end, nearest where I walk in and out every day.

It says, quite simply - "Give Thanks"


For all those moments that don't seem like they make life mean something to anyone else but you -
and all those moments your heart breaks and you never tell anyone. This is one of my moments for you.

I miss you, Avery. 

With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

P.S. All the amazing embroidery patterns that I love are found here: Clementine Pattern Co


  1. Hello sweet girl...just read through your 'Staring at the wall' post, oh, how the pain of losing a loved one HURTS... I know, dear one, it HURTS SO VERY, VERY MUCH!!!
    Thanks for sharing your heart... it's good to read and contemplate. I think those heart wrenching 'ah-hah' moments will continue to smack us until meet Christ in Glory. And 'Give Thanks' is an awesome thought & response because Avery & Barbara and many others we love are already there! Love you so much!!! Sent with a BIG HUG!


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