So one (and by "one" I mean everyone) may wonder how I came to be a coffin makers wife. I don't think about it very often, at least not until I have to answer the question of, "So, what does your husband do?". I have, over time, gotten more skilled about answering this question, as has my husband, but we know it's not the general answer people are expecting.
When we met at college some 19 years ago, if someone would have told us that not only would we end up married 10 years later but also go on to have five children, lose one, and that my mother-in-law would pass away and my husband would build her coffin, and then others, for a living, I am sure we would have run for the hills!
|Some 10, no 11 years ago for Dan's birthday newly dating...totally innocent and happy!|
As I live more, I am more convinced that I am terribly happy no one has/had a crystal ball and I did not know what the future held. God spared us from knowledge that we had no control over and allowed us to grow to love each other and that love has prepared us, over time, to handle and endure all those things above. I would say, without a shadow of a doubt, that our love has grown leaps and bounds as we have struggled through these tragic events. I can't imagine doing this with another man and partner. I wish Jacob were here. I wish my mother-in-law was here.
|My mother-in-law with Allie five days after she was born. She passed away only six days latter. Dan started building her coffin three days after this picture was taken.|
And although I still struggle when people comment on how "strong" I am, we are, because I feel so much the opposite on any given day, when I sit and take it all in, I guess I feel humbly strong, if that's even a feeling? I do feel God gave me strength to make it through each difficult event and when I was not strong, Dan was. I think that is such a beautiful part of marriage. There are many marriages that fall apart after the loss of a child. In fact, the statistic is 80%. Yes, so that gave The Coffin Maker and I a whopping 20% chance of surviving Jacob's death and keeping our family intact. Scary. But, with God, and the hope that He provides, that single thread held us together like nothing else because we relied on it and let it help to heal us. To me, for us, I'd say that 80% of the time after Jacob died was crazy hard and 20% was just normal life crazy hardness.
|At Jacob's burial service, me holding Adam, Jacob in the the coffin Dan made.|
But all this to say, the link below is to an article that the Greensboro paper ran on The Coffin Maker last year. Jeri Rowe did a great job of telling his story and so I share it with you now. Some of you, if not many of you, may have seen it last year when I posted it to Facebook, but if you are like me and miss a lot that goes on Facebook, here it is. Jeri Rowe: Ministry of Coffins
|Photo courtesy of Scott Hoffmann|
As for October, it's been hectic as usual. This month is Infant Loss and Awareness Month. This month is the month Heartstrings holds their annual Walk for Remembrance and Hope and although I did not get to be part of the walk committee this year, I was able to participate and volunteer the day of. Next year I hope that we will be able to go as a family, but there is a beauty in that it was just me that was able to go. I give all I have to my family every day, sometimes (usually) less than I'd hope, but on the rare moments where I am all alone, on my own, I can have a day like the annual walk day, where I get to just focus on Jacob's memory and how his brief life opened my eyes to a struggle that so many families face. I hope I've turned up some good things out of this very hard pill to swallow. I'm doing the best I can and so I remember Jacob by loving on other mamas that too have lost. It's not the group I ever wanted to associate myself with, who does, but the group is not one of broken people like I thought I was joining that dreadful night over three years ago. These women are some of the kindest I know and dare I say, strongest:)
|As families walk together Heartstrings places signs along the walk with their baby's names and many families stop to take pictures next to their signs. Some of these signs are full of babies from just one family. |
|Photo courtesy of Nicole Huffman Photography|
And because it's Halloween and I could not help myself, being frugal as I usually am, with all the Star Wars hype and that we have small children that I can still decide the costumes for I share this picture. We have Dark Vader (as he's usually called here), Princess Leah, an Ewock and baby Yoda...oh yeah and the handsome fella is the one and only Coffin Maker:) Jacob would have been Luke for sure!
|Sweet baby Yoda (newly 8 mo.old)|