Friday, September 26, 2008

Off to the beach

Well, tomorrow we embark on our first family trip without Joseph. On one hand we are really excited and thankful we are able to go the beautiful beach and relax and have a change of scenery, but I am also fearful that everywhere we go will remind me of him and that it will just be sad being there. We have taken him there since he was 3 months old and we have many happy memories and favorite places we shared with him. I know it won't feel right going to the playground without him, walking past the fountain at the village without him splashing in it, riding in the tram without his indescribable glee. There is just no way around this sadness. I wish we could avoid it, push it away, not let it consume us, but it's just sad. That is all there is to it.

We are bringing some dear friends with us who also have children, so we are really looking forward to that. We told Holly, "Guess who will be at the beach with us??" and her little face lit up with hope and she said, "Joe P.?" Sweet Holly. She talks about Joseph all the time and has been expressing more that she wants Joseph to live back in our house again. I think she is realizing that he really isn't coming back. She is otherwise doing very well, and I am glad she is telling us her feelings and that she feels comfortable talking about him. But some of her sincere and innocent questions just break my heart into pieces.

She recently graduated from her crib to a "big girl bed" which she was beyond excited about. It's hard for me to believe that her next birthday will be number 3. She has always been the baby, but I have to get used to the fact that she is now the oldest and she is getting bigger. In fact, she is so big she has decided to ask God for her own baby to keep in her house (a pink baby--meaning a girl). She is really into playing baby dolls and has been for a long time, so I think she now thinks she's ready for the real thing. She is really nurturing and loves to take care of everyone, so I have no doubt that she will one day be an amazing mommy. But, here are some pictures of her reveling in her big girlness:

"Go CPA!!"

"I am way too cool for my little crib!"

"Ta-Da!! Wild Flowers!"

On the wild animal front, we have not seen any more snakes but we did have a skunk visit our air conditioning duct, so we now have a permanent skunk smell in our house. We haven't been using the air conditioning at all and have candles burning most of the time, so now the smell is tolerable. Always an adventure 'round these parts. We also have a squirrel and a cat that roam around our house, often peering in our windows forlornly. I'll let you know if they do anything exciting.

We are really looking forward to our vacation. Please pray that we would have a safe and fun trip and that God would give us peace and strength and comfort as we miss our little Joe P. God has been so good to us throughout this journey and we are so grateful for all the love and support so many of you have shown us. Thank you for being such great friends to us. We love you!


Anonymous said...

have fun. we'll be praying for you. and, woo, hoo, i get to comment first!!!!

Anonymous said...

see previous post, from b.j. slotkin

batmar said...

give that big girl a big hug from uncle batmar. i'm so proud of her.

have fun in the sun.

Jean Joiner said...

holly is adorable. praying for your time at the beach.

Sarah-Jane said...

I thought about you first thing this morning when I woke up. I know it will be sad. i will be praying for comfort amidst those really hard moments and pray that Holly will have a blast and enjoy her little buddy.
We thought about Joe P. a lot this weekend (we started the weekend on Thursday night). We went to the circus and I just couldn't stop thinking about how much he would have loved it. Last night Deacon got nailed in the eye with a baseball...I'm not looking forward to seeing his face this morning...but I was so filled with fear and it just made me think of you guys and all the anguish you have been through.
You really have been "held" because other wise I don't think you could have made it to here... to now.
I love you all and will be thinking of you all week. thanks for posting sis. give Lolly a big hug. though Deacon called her Holly the other day...and I was sad.

Jody (atlanta) said...

So proud of Holly...congrats on the big girl bed. She is very loving and if from her momma!!! I love that she expressing herself and I am sure heartbreaking to hear her wanting her big brother physically back to play with her.

Glad you all getting away with some friends. Will be thinking and praying of you even more during this special time at beach since I am sure difficult memories, but you making new wonderful ones with Joseph watching from above.

Margaret/I took kids to 'Shady Park' two weeks back and hard to be there and not think of the many fun times with you and your two adorable kids. We had fun and always nice to remember Joseph.

As always...thanks for sharing. WE LOVE YOU SOO MUCH!!!!


Brea said...

My heart aches to think of how much you and sweet Holly are missing Joseph. We will pray for joy in the midst of sorrow, and for grace to live each day, as it comes, without your precious boy.

redeemedintohope said...

thanks for posting. i know it often seems odd maybe to keep writing on here but it is such a great way for me to know how to continue to specifically pray for you guys. i know that Jesus will leave you awestruck with his mighty power through the beauty of the creation there at the beach. knowing that His hand is that powerful yet completely loving every bit of you guys alone is overwhelming. and his hand is holding your precious baby and you at the same time. you are only separated by a very thin veil sweet sister.

Jesus protect, infuse, and just love these children of yours through this time away. Give revelation, hope, and joy. Fill the holes that are there in order for us to know the intense need we have for you. be glorified sweet Father.

Anonymous said...

Have a good and relaxing, peaceful time. You have a precious little girl~

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your feelings, and I will be praying for you as you face this trip without Joseph. The beach has always been a healing place for me where I have felt the presence of God refreshing me and renewing me. I am always reminded of the vastness of His love for me as I look out at the ocean. I pray that you will rest and that the peace of God which transcends all understanding will fill your heart with hope.
Loved the pictures of Holly!!
Love, Mimi

Carrigan Family said...

I'll be praying ......

The Dogs said...

I was just thinking about you and the upcoming trip as I was putting away dishes. I had to smile as I thought about how God has provided and blessed your family throughout this incredibly painful time. It made me smile. Even in pain God is there....

I am reading a wonderful book right now that also makes me think of you guys. It is called Laugh Again by Charles Swindoll. If you are looking for a good read I highly recommend it.

Have a wonderful trip!

courtney said...

Praying for great weather and good time together.....

Christy said...

Holly with the wild flowers is my favorite. And I'm really hoping the squirrel does something cool soon. My aunt had a squirrel that used to hang on her kitchen window screen (window open) until she fed it a peanut butter sandwich. It finally got so pushy that it burst through the screen - so fun!

I'll be praying for your time at the beach. It does sound good yet oh so very difficult.

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a wonderful and relaxing time on your trip! The memories of Joseph will be vivid in your mind I'm sure, but I hope that you can smile and remember the wonderful times you had there! Holly is such a little cutie, I bet she keeps you smiling all the time! We are praying for your safety on the trip and hope that it brings you some peace.
Carey Heid & family

Kate Etue said...

Holly looks like such a big girl :) Praying for you. Look forward to seeing you when you get back.

Randi said...

Enjoy your vacation. May you and your family find it peaceful. Congrats on Holly for her big hirl bed. The boys just turned 2 in August, and we have crib tents on their cribs now because they kept climbing out.
We are praying,
Randi Booth

joann said...

will pray. love to all of you~

Diane B said...

Allen and Gillian,

We have not met but I was directed to your blog by another parent who's son was diagnosed with cancer.

I hope it is OK that I am contacting you. When you get a chance please visit and consider joining the People Against Childhood Cancer community. We are a network of over 900 parents, friends, family, concerned citizens and childhood cancer organizations (CureSearch, Alex's Lemonade Stand and more) whose sole mission is to present a unified voice to raise awareness of childhood cancer. The website format is unique, you can have friends, post photos and videos, blog, participate in Forum discussions, start or join Groups that interest you, chat live with other members, and promote or learn about fundraisers. It's free, interactive and will continue to evolve.

While these features are nice, our focus is action to raise awareness of childhood cancer. One initiative is the Petition to Raise Awareness of Childhood Cancer . It has over 16,000 signatures and will be used to hopefully leverage a network TV special solely on childhood cancer or a similar high profile project. Other ideas and action items are presented daily in our ongoing effort to raise awareness.

The PAC2 is an amazing way to share information and find support.

Please visit and join us at

Anonymous said...


Michael and Jana said...

Glad you guys are taking the chance to get away. I hope you are having a good time.

Courtney said...

I LOVE the pic of Holly with the wildflowers. She's beautiful!

–Courtney S.

Abbie said...

Praying for your trip.

Holly is precious! I love the wildflower picture. She's so proud.

Chloe said...

I heard a man speaking on the radio today about losing his 4 year old son to a brain tumour. The thought was evoked by what Sarah Jane said about the worry of Deacon taking a base ball to the eye. Thinking about what you two have been through, here is what he said about their experience. In moments of trying to rationalise why and how this could happen he reasoned and believed that they were chosen because they would be able to handle it. The love they had and the love that abounds since their loss is a testament to this. Of course I was comparing his story to yours and when he said that I realised and believe that although it is frightening you can handle it too. They also spoke of doing things for the first time. There will be a lot of first times, and new memories in places that you will cherish as places that you shared and made memories with Joe P. It will be hard to make the memories there without him, but I know you will and they will be great too. Joe will always be with you even on the days when it seems unbearable. I hope you have a really lovely, if sometimes sad, holiday, and get a chance to relax and rest. Lots of love. chloe. xxx

last but not least, these are some of my favourite words.

By John Keats
It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from where it sometime fell.
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody---
Sit ye near some old Cavern's Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

Anonymous said...

Lil' Holly is so cute! You're right though she is growing fast. Praying for you guys to have a pleasant time w/ friends at the beach.


Lynn T said...

I love the pictures of Holly. She looks so sweet and proud of her new bed! I am praying for you all while you are at the beach.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

I read something today that said... To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did. When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something higher. The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you. God bless you & your trip. I will pray a hedge of protection around you, peace and joy inside you & a fresh breath of revelation & abundance from the LORD to reveal His sovereign plans for your family.

Sarah-Jane said...

Hi!!!! I miss you. I hope you are having a great time at the beach.
Yay for great weather and the Ocean.
wish I was with you:)

Anonymous said...

we were so thankful we got to spend sometime with you guys the other day. we are thinking about you now as we know this will be a bittersweet trip for your family. i pray that the beautiful ocean will calm and restore you.

erin & dave

Anonymous said...

I join everyone else in praying your time away is a blessing. But I also wanted to add a remedy that worked for my friends when a skunk invaded their basement: on the recommendation of an expert, they put used, wet coffee grounds in the bottom of a sauce pan, charred them on the stove, then carried the pot through the house wafting the burnt-coffee scent back and forth. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked for them and didn't leave any lingering aromas. Go figure.
You continue to inspire us.
Blessings to you all, Jodi in Saline, Michigan.

Jody (atlanta) said...

Gill - SOO FABULOUS chatting with you yesterday. I miss you so much and loved hearing your voice. Glad having a good time at beach and Holly having fun with her friends. LOVE YOU, Jody

Merritt said...

Hi Peabodys - Hope your vacation is just what you need it to be. I think of y'all all the time, and Jim and I pray together for you nightly. I can barely bring myself to read your blog b/c it makes my heart feel like it will burst open, but then I think of how you guys are feeling ...

I wish that it helped you to know that we're thinking of you all the time, but I know it really doesn't, as there's just not too much that helps at this point. But it is amazing to see (from the blog comments) just how *loved* your family is.

merritt (and jim and baby jane)

Q's NEWS said...

I hope you are having a wonderful week at the beach. Holly has grown so much - she looks like such a "big girl" in her new big girl room! Love the cheerleader picture - looks like she is a natural!

Just wanted you to know you are still in my thoughts and prayers!

West Virginia

Lauren Klein (Dickstein now!) said...

Holly is beautiful! Have a great time at the beach. As sad as it is, it is wonderful that you have so many fun memories of your precious little boy that no one can ever take away from you.

Margaret said...

Hi guys!
Hope you are having fun, fun, fun at the beach. I hope the beauty of God in nature there soothes your soul. We're praying for you to have moments of peace and creating more happy memories in this new chapter for you and your family.

Jaime said...

Praying and praying. Thinking of your family often. Jaime and William

Jody (atlanta) said...

Hope you had a nice trip and safe drive home. I LOVE the photos I did see.....smiling faces are always heavenly to see. MISS YOU and hope you all made some nice family memories. Always praying and thinking of you.

The girls and I light a candle for Joseph each Sunday (Abigail reminded me today and knows it is the 3rd candle on 1st row) we do go to Mass and Abigail says a special prayer for her 'buddy.' It just inspires and warms my heart to see Jesus and faith being taught to her and felt by her via her friend in Heaven.


Amy said...

Okay, so I know we've never met and I know you are on a much deserved vacation but I just wanted to let you know that I am missing you and your updates. I continue to pray daily for your family and pray that you enjoyed some relaxing time along with the sadness that would be only natural. Many blessings to all of you!