Wednesday, July 16, 2014


People praying for us at Joey's Maui memorial service in June 2008

I just found this picture. I forgot I had it. It touched me so much to see all these people surrounding us in prayer. I can't make out all the faces in the crowd, but I recognize some of them very well. My mother and I are near the center of the picture with leis on our necks. Joe is out of the picture, on stage, and to the left of me are my daughter and her husband. Rachel and her family are next to the stage on the right.  It is mostly a sea of unidentified loved ones gathering on our behalf, supporting and loving us, and holding us up to God. 

The first thought I had is that two of the precious people in the picture have gone to Heaven themselves since this was taken. I also see one of Joey's closest friends with his head bowed for us, and next to him another  "brother from another mother" . I see my daughter's best friend near us with her beautiful blonde hair. And though I am not certain who the boy is whose head is bowed on the stage, I am so moved by his obvious concern for us. 

These prayers were needed. I was broken, and for the first two years, I seemed to get more and more broken with each new day. As my new reality sunk in, I sunk down. It seemed the pit of grief had no bottom. I had no strength.  My skin hurt, my chest ached, my brain was high-jacked by anguish and sorrow. I cried every day and at every mention of Joey's name. The prayers were needed. 

It takes faith to live through the loss of a child. I didn't have enough of it when I started this journey, but I have grown into it. My peace has grown as God has comforted me a hundred different ways. I know God better now than when I started down this road, and I also know I only touch the surface of who He is. I am glad there is One bigger than me who can hold me, help me, and heal me. I am in His hands. 

These are some of the people who put me there. 

Overflowing thanks to all who have prayed for us.

 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16


Liza on Maui said...

My heart is heavy tonight ... my body wants to sleep yet my mind and spirit are awake ... and there is anxiety in my heart. Then from the Facebook Feed a video/song was sent ... posted it in my blog (Lord I Need You) ... then decided to click on your blog to see if you've posted recently. And yes you did .... sending love ...


P.S. my blog address has changed. It's now

Anonymous said...

I decided to look into your blog this morning only to see this very personal, emotional expression of how much you Loved your son. Your journey into it all is so well spoken and it brought me to explore how God
has been so faithful in holding me up along the way.
I also forget that prayer is so important and needed
every minute of every day. Bless your heart for sharing this with us. Love Sharon

Gberger said...

Amen, dear Karen. Your presence on this journey has been/is a great comfort to me. With love from Karen West

bonita said...

Hi, Karen. I hope you see these comments on previous posts. I thank you for your Crisis Care ministry at Hope all those years ago. I would not have known to encourage discussions of memories of lost loved ones. I am able to see in the eyes of bereaved how happy they are to share! Although the talks may end with sad resolution, I find those memories that bring laughter such a gift I know God loves. I think of you and your beautiful son (and whole family). You will always be an inspiration to me and countless others. Love to you and Joe. I miss you and think of you all the time. Bonita