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When Money is the Last Thing on Your Mind

Note from Crystal: I think this is the most touching guest post I’ve ever shared before. Dana’s blog and the story of her son’s sudden death has had a profound impact upon me as a mother. I encourage you to take time to visit her blog and read through some of the archives. You’ll be moved, touched, and blessed.

Guest Post by Dana from Roscommon Acres

On December 13, 2010 we were faced with the most difficult decision of our lives: Did we want the white casket or the brown casket for our twenty-one-month-old son?

The following weeks were a blur of activity hidden in a cloud of grief. We went out to eat because we were out and the children were hungry and no one really ever thought about dinner. There were the funeral bills and the co-pays.

There was Christmas. And there were five children from whom so much had been taken that it was hard to say “no” to anything at all. To top it off, my husband didn’t go back to work for a month.

Before Mattias died, I had written up a Master Plan, a sheet of goals for the property prioritized by the expected return on the investment. It was a three-year plan but to cope with our grief and loss, the money belt was loosened as we ordered trees for our orchard, ducklings, keets, chicks, and bees. We started remodeling the basement, building a wall right through where the accident happened.

For a passing moment, it seemed to me as if we were running through money like water, but suddenly I didn’t care about the money that was being spent. In fact, for an entire month, we didn’t think about money because there were bigger things on our plate than a budget.

This was only possible because for fifteen years, we had thought about money. We have a credit card, but it has been paid off in full every month since I was nineteen. Our cars are old and a little beaten up but they are ours. We have a mortgage, but it is far less than the 25% of our income that Dave Ramsey recommends. And we had managed to save six months worth of expenses in our emergency fund.

For a month, we didn’t have to think about money, and could instead concentrate on wading through the difficult process of figuring out what comes next after burying a child because for fifteen years we had thought about money.

Dana Hanley writes at Roscommon Acres about life more abundantly, from the joy of a baby’s smile to the almost unbearable grief of losing a son. She is seeking beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:3).

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122 Comments

  • Wow. My brother (23) passed away last year too. We were super close in age, so this was incredibly hard for me. And in the same way, my husband and I have been wise with money, so when a friend called to book me a plane ticket to Houston, it didn’t matter how much it cost because we had that in savings. So I can relate. Savings for the unexpected is huge. Thanks for sharing this.
    And I memorized Isa. 61:3 recently, reflecting on my loss, and it has spoken wonders to my heart. Pretty cool that you used this verse here too.

    • Dana says:

      I am so sorry about your brother. I saw that verse on another blog a few months ago from someone facing a different kind of trial and just started thinking that this is indeed what the Lord promises. I know the end of the story and that should brighten some of the dark days between now and then.

  • I remember reading her blog back when the tragedy happened. I felt so bad for the family and continue to be reminded that each day is a blessing from from God and not to waste it!

  • Rebecca says:

    I keep trying to visit blog but link might be broken or site on overload?

  • Karma says:

    Hey I tried to go to her blog but it keeps saying the page is no longer available…thanks for sharing though

    • Crystal says:

      I think we overloaded her server. Wait a little while and then try again.

      • Dana says:

        Yeah, my little blog is not used to quite that much traffic. Thank you to everyone who visited and tried to visit. It seems to be working fine now, if a little sluggish.

        • Rochelle says:

          Dana, I am so sorry for your loss. You have a beautiful family! I wish I were eloquent with words, but your story has moved me beyond that ability, so I won’t even attempt it. But, Thank you for sharing your story! I think it’s just what I needed to get my butt in gear and get my finances straight!

  • Sabrina says:

    I can’t click on any of the links, and when I google the blog, it won’t open 🙁

  • Lysbeth says:

    I have no words for that kind of loss except I am so sorry and I pray God heals your family with unearthly grace and showers you all with His love.

  • Amber says:

    can’t click over?

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for sharing this Crystal. This hits close to home for me. We were fortunate to not worry about money when our newborn passed away, and it may have been because we just didn’t care about anything else in the world. I truly do feel that my loss was the worst thing in the entire world that can possibly happen to me, but I will honor my baby by trying to live my BEST LIFE. !!! Thanks again.

    • Dana says:

      Laura, I am so sorry for your loss. I think that was the best advice I received from anyone. I went in for my 6 week checkup after having Micah and the obstetrician sat and talked with me for a long time and emphasized that we do our son’s memory honor through laughter and joy. It is so hard to move forward from that moment or to even think of such things as laughing, but he helped me see those moments of joy as gifts and blessings from above rather than some sort of betrayal.

      • Carol says:

        Sounds like a precious, wise, “one in a million” doctor. I just read the post of how it happened. My first granchild was born in October. I will share this with my daughter. Thank you for sharing and your willingness to be transparent. God give you and your family comfort and a true vision for the future between now and when we meet Him face to face. God fill your home with laughter and joy until it overflows! Bless your heart, sister!

  • Jess says:

    i was trying to see her blog too and got the same error messgage. the traffic probably just took it down. you can google the name of her blog and read a cached page of what happened to her son. {{tears}}

  • Erin says:

    two months ago we went from planning the arrival of our third child to planning his funeral. I was five months pregnant when an ultrasound showed that there was no heart beat. I was so overwhelmed with grief and heartbreak. When we were at the funeral home picking out his casket and headstone I had to choose between an expensive stone and an economical one. I chose the one that I wanted for him. It was the more expensive (to be fair, it was only about a $150 price difference). The money is worth it because this is the only thing I will ever be able to give him. Sometimes love is worth more than money.

    • Dana says:

      I am so sorry, Erin. And good for you. We haven’t been able to even look at headstones, yet. I saw something I liked but I don’t think it fits with the cemetary’s rules. It’s a bench. Some place to sit and think and remember.

      God bless you and I pray the Lord continues to heal your heart as you look forward to the reunion.

      • Erin says:

        We laid Max to rest in our local cemetery in the same burial plot as my husband’s grandma. Around him there are benches like you are talking about. They are in addition to a traditional headstone and are engraved on the side of the seat with the person’s name. I chose immediately to do the headstone bc in all reality we couldn’t choose the casket. They only have one style that is so small (at least through the funeral home that we chose). I just wanted to do something FOR him, you know? We chose a beautiful black stone with blue flecks that sparkle in the sunlight. There will be a train running along the top (there are a lot of trains near us) and have his name, his “birth” date and the phrase “Forever my Love”. It’s not set yet (it is coming from Norway!) but the cement base is there. It makes my heart feel more settled to know that he is settled. I will remember you and your family in my prayers. I’ll also pray that Max can look for a little boy named “Tiggy” to play with in Heaven. <3

        • Dana says:

          We chose a little local cemetery as well. It is actually on the opposite corner of the square mile plot of land here (out here the gravel roads are like a huge grid of one mile patches of land). We can see the cedar trees at the edge of the cemetery from the front room.

      • Brooke says:

        Dana, my heart aches for your family. We lost twins who were stillborn and I, too, couldn’t look at headstones for a long time, in fact it was closer to a year. I spent hours until I found the perfect one and had to have it custom made but it was worth it. Take your time, and find something that you love and that brings you peace. Our twins were buried in the baby part of the cemetery and the rules were much more lax there. We couldn’t have a bench but there are benches in the area.

  • Jessica says:

    The blog post references her son died in December 2011? Does she mean 2010? I would check her blog to read her story, but it’s down right now. You may want to fix the date here 🙂

  • I sit with tears streaming down my face as I read her blog about sweet “Tiggy”. What a horrible accident, beautiful slide show, and loving family. I am amazed by her faith in our God and His provision through their community.

    Thank you for sharing this, Crystal. We are in the middle of Dave Ramsey’s TMM and at times the road seems so long. We hear the term “emergency fund” and think of a job loss; not the loss of a child. What a blessing that they honored Him with their finances and it ended up being such a blessing when they needed it. It’s encouraging; and at the same time I wish there wasn’t a need for an emergency fund.

    • Michelle says:

      As soon as I read the word “dresser” I clicked out of it. I couldn’t finish reading! What a horrible thing for anyone to have to go through. 🙁

  • Misty says:

    I remember when that happened also….I cried & prayer for a family I had never met with a mother’s heart just like I have been crying and praying for my friend’s little boy who is in serious condition from a similar head injury right now =(

    My husband lost his main income the week before Christmas last year, a month later I ended up in the hospital with pre-term labor, 2 weeks later our twins were born! A crazy but happy time! Fortunately we had our van paid off & money saved up that has held us through….we haven’t been able to buy a house like we were planning too but we haven’t pulled out the credit cards yet….still plugging away to say “Debt Free!”

    • Dana says:

      I’m sorry, Misty . . . and congratulations! I prayed for your friend’s little boy. I hope they see him through to a beautiful recovery.

  • Carol says:

    My heart just aches for this family! My prayers are with them.

    I’m so grateful Dana did the post about her son’s tragic accident to warn other parents; especially in the midst of her own grief. I’m certain it will help save a life!

    17 years ago, I was nursing my baby in the living room, and my 2 year old went into her bedroom and opened the bottom drawer of her tall dresser and climbed in, to try and get to the top. I heard blood-curdling screams coming from her room, and ran in to find her dresser on top of her face! I was terrified. As I pulled it off of her, her entire face was bloody.
    Miraculously, all of the blood was coming from her split lip. And that was the only injury. But, my story could so easily have ended the same way as Dana’s.

    I’m a also a very cautious, protective Mom, like Dana. I routinely did all of the other things. But I just didn’t think the dresser could come down on my daughter either.

    We can’t protect our children from everything, and accidents are going to happen. But, please anchor the big items in your house if you have young children. (Even if you don’t think there’s a way they could come down. ) It’s a simple thing to do, and a way to prevent an unnecessary accident. I wished I had known to do it back then!

  • Erica says:

    I am honestly afraid to read her story, as my 2 year old cousin was just killed a month ago. He was ran over by a truck driven by his father. I know tears will follow!

    • aj says:

      omg….i am sooo sorry. it breaks my heart hearing about these things happening to small children. :_(

    • I am so sorry about your loss Erica.

    • Dana says:

      I am so sorry, Erica. And there is no need to go read it. It took me awhile before I could read about anyone else’s loss, and really I probably wouldn’t have if my email box didn’t fill up with stories from other parents sharing their loss.

      It is really hard because they all bring up the hurt, but it is healing to work through it and connect with others as well.

      If you have a moment, you might check out GriefShare.org. It is a wonderful Christian ministry helping those who are grieving. You can sign up for daily emails that are very helpful through the grieving process and even find local groups.

      • Erica says:

        Thank you Dana. I did read your story, and my heart broke for you, as well as my aunt and uncle. I agree, it does help to talk with others that have also experienced loss. Our son died at 5 months(gestational). It was truly the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.

        I will pray for your family. I cannot even imagine the pain you are going through as well as my aunt and uncle. We want to be a source of comfort, but there are no words that really bring that, just time and God’s love. Thank you for the website. I will pass it along to my family as well.

  • Heather says:

    She made a wonderful point. Emergency funds aren’t just for when the car breaks down suddenly. Thanks for posting.

  • Dana says:

    I was so not ready (if one ever can be) to read her story, but am glad I did. I want to run in and wake up my little ones to give them a hug. I can’t imagine the pain, the grief, the sorrow. Thank you for reminding us what a blessing our little ones are. I will take a look around with fresh eyes to check for hazards. I will keep a more watchful eye. God Bless!

  • Kim says:

    Dana, thank you for sharing your story and reminding me how precious every day is.

  • Hayliegh says:

    would it be possible for someone to respond with the story of what happened? The link seems to be working for some and not others…I’m on the not others side….

    • Dana says:

      The site went down due to traffic and is working now. But in summary, my son was killed when a dresser fell on him. He lived for five hours, but died in surgery. I sat down to write a short post mostly for our family that wouldn’t be able to attend the funeral and it all came pouring out.

  • Hilary says:

    What an amazing mom to be able to share her story. My daughter’s dresser tipped over on her when she was about a year and half old. The single worst 5 minutes in my life so far. Fortunately the dresser fell and trapped her underneath, but was propped up by her toddler bed. She was banged and bruised and had a bloody lip, but I can’t even imagine if it had been worse.

    God Bless this family.

  • Angi says:

    Dana, I became familiar with your blog when your son passed away. I cry with your posts and have learned so much from you. Thank you for sharing with us!!

  • Emily says:

    So sorry for her terrible loss – I can’t even imagine the pain.

  • Carrie says:

    Oh my. Thanks for sharing this, and I’m sure every Mom who reads it is in tears as I am.
    This is so true. I’ve thought of it often when hearing about people facing lesser tragedies, such as job loss. Savings give you freedom.

  • This story brought tears to my eyes 🙁 My husband lost a 3 year old son from another marriage due to cancer before we met and the feelings he describes, I cannot see how I myself could be so strong as him and this family. Thank you for sharing Dana and for being so strong. God Bless you.

  • stefanie says:

    I read her story as soon as you posted this, but now it won’t let me access it, most likely because it’s being overloaded. I am a mother of one son, who just happens to be 21 months old. I can’t begin to describe how much this story has touched me. I was crying halfway through and by the end, I was clutching my son so tightly that I could hardly let him go. I cannot begin to imagine what this mother has gone through. My heart breaks for her. My prayers are with this family. Thank you for posting this. It brings more awareness not only to safety, but how we should all treasure our children every second of every day.

  • Kourtney says:

    This is so tragic 🙁 – I was able to get onto her blog and read . . I’ve heard of such accidents prior to reading and so if you walk thru my house – the book shelves are screwed into studs in the walls, and everything is as secure as I can make it (which came in handy as about a yr ago, I walked into my daughters room to find her climbing her 8ft high book shelf!). .
    This is such an awful awful thing. I cant even imagine having to expirence such a loss . . My heart goes out this family.

  • MaryEllen says:

    God bless her dear family! Praise the Lord they had used their finances wisely so they were in a position not to have to worry about the money, but could instead work through their grief. Prayers go up for their family as I’m sure the pain is still very real!

  • KatieBee says:

    I cried reading your story. 15 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, one of our best friends’ went through a similar tragedy with their 22 month old daughter and a dresser. It’s beyond words, my sympathy for your family. Each day, you must put one foot in front of the other as a mother who has lost a child. I pray for your strength and your grace as you make this journey with your family. Thank you for sharing your story with so many others – you bring hope to us through your sweet baby’s loss.

  • Mandy says:

    I dont know what happened but my heart goes out to that family. When you bury a child it breaks your heart and I know this from experience in 2009 after a stressful few weeks we decided to take our two older children on a vacation, unbeknown that when we would return we would be having a funeral for our third child Jacob Lukas, as he had a umbilical cord accident at 19 weeks gestation and 5.5 months later we were having a funeral for our forth child Ashton Carter he was a shocked pregnancy and stressful amoung other things medication that was given to me not knowing the side-effects most likely stopped his heart. And now a year and a half later we have our precious lil Zoie a shocker and healthy baby girl. We went from the hardest times of our lives, medical bills, heartaches and a nervous breakdown to happy again. I know that the family will one day be happy again too.
    <3 In loving memory of all the angels that are taken too soon from families being while in the womb, kicking and thriving or after birth <3

    • Heather says:

      First off, thank you for this guest post…I read Dana’s story and it moved me to tears and into action. Tomorrow AM we are going to Lowes and getting straps for our furniture. Our 2yo has a tall dresser in her room that needs them as well as three large bookcases in our home and also now that I think of it our bedroom has two large pieces that need some attention. My heart goes out to her…thank you for sharing. She may have just saved my daughters life…

      In addition, Mandy…your story too made me stop for a moment. I too lost babies. We lost our first in 2005, our daughter Grace, due to a umbilicial cord accident too at 29weeks along. Then we lost 5 more babies from 20+weeks along due to various reasons…after a lot of soul searching and deciding that we wouldn’t try to plan a pregnancy and just let us live for a while…we were pregnant! With more prayers then ever before and a lot of love we got through it…until 27 weeks when our thriving and surviving daughter came into this world kicking and screaming at a solid 1.5lbs! 😉 She was perfect in every way, just so dang early! Now at 2yo+ she is striving and thriving like no bodies business! She is my hero…even if she is just a little itty bitty! In loving memory is true…we say that all our babies are playing ring-around-the-rosie up in Heaven and checking in on us from time to time. Now I know that after reading these posts, they have added a few more to their circle! God Bless Our Angel Babies!

      • Dani says:

        This is very sad to me. I had a miscarriage on my first pregnancy. I wasnt that far along but it was still hard on me. I could not imagine being 29 weeks along or going through it as many times as you and your husband. I am so glad to hear that you were able to have a healthy little girl!! My two babies I have are my heros too, but for reasons much smaller than yours. Your story as well as Dana’s made my bawl. God bless you and your family along with all the other mother’s who has lost child. My heart goes out to you all!

  • DELIA GARCIA says:

    Our prayers go out to the family. This proves again that GOD speaks to us in many ways we just have to have our eyes, ears and hearts open to HIS message. This post made me realize how selfish I have been with all my blessings.

  • Michelle says:

    I am so, so sorry to read about the loss of Dana’s sweet Mattias. My heart breaks for her and her family. Thank you for posting her story and my thanks to Dana for being so brave to share it. I sure many mommy’s will now be anchoring their furniture (myself included!). Dana’s braveness in sharing her loss may save another child from harm. Dana and her family will be in my prayers.

  • I was left speechless for a while after reading this. It brought up a flood of emotions in me that I never expected. I’m thankful in so many ways for her sharing this story, but at the same time saddened by her loss. When my son was diagnosed with autism I thought I had lost him. Its not the same as losing a child, but it is a different type of loss. I went through a period of grief, and still do from time to time. It is an endless cycle. It has been a really hard and long road, especially as a single parent. This story reminded me, at a scary point in my life, that I have so much to be thankful for and that life, even when its not perfect, is still a wonderful gift. My condolences to her and her family.

  • Amazing! Thanks for sharing this! God is amazing and I’m ALWAYS in awe when I see how he truly gives beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair.

  • Debbie says:

    I sobbed. May the Lord be with them to see them through this horrible tragedy.

  • Speechless. I can’t imagine. Hugs and prayers to you mama.

  • Kari says:

    My heart aches for their family. I cannot imagine the grief of losing a child. My dad passed away on May 22 after a short but very difficult battle with lung cancer. He was only 52. Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a loved one. I feel like my heart has been broken. I pray every day that God gives us the grace, peace, and comfort to make it through.
    I pray the same thing for this precious family.

  • Cara says:

    Wow. Reading her dstories has brought me to absolute tears. The kind of tears that just don’t want to stop. I don’t want to read anymore, I start feeling grief for her and the family, Like my heart is breaking. But at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading. You can feel her pain, feel the hurt that memories bring her, the aching in her heart because of regrets… She is an incredible writer. If she has not written a book, I’d like to see one out soon.
    This is the story we can all take the chance to learn from. Take a second to look around at everything around us, and realize it all means nothing without our family and loved ones.Take a look at your children, enjoy their laugh, enjoy the noise. (we all get aggrivated by the noise children sometime make) I cannot imagine life without that noise right now. I am seeing things in a whole new light at this moment.
    I consider this new light a gift that has been given to me. A gift born from the struggles and pain of an anguished mother. A must read!!

    • Cara says:

      OK, after spending most of the night reading through her blogs, I have officially put this blog under favorites!! I couldn’t help but get angry with those weeds and clovers, and feel like rejoycing when the corn overcame the clover!! Gardening has clearly become a bit of therapy for her, and I’m captivated by this story. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  • Dana says:

    Thank you so much, everyone. It has been a very difficult season for us, and I think we have been sustained by the prayers of our community here and online. I will come back later and read through all of the comments. I just wanted to thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

    My site seems to be working now. It isn’t quite used to that much traffic for my ramblings about my garden and poultry.

  • Guest says:

    I’m so saddened to hear of this terrible tragedy and then to read all of the comments with similar stories. I honestly have never even thought of something like a sturdy dresser being a safety hazard.

    I can’t imagine how painful it was for you to share your story but you have very likely saved lives by sharing your experience. I’m also appreciative of the reminder that saving isn’t just for the loss of jobs or cars breaking down. Every day that we have is a BLESSING! Thank you for reminding me of that.

    Off to my hug my little ones.

  • peever says:

    Thank you for sharing. My daughter got a huge new dresser last week and we haven’t anchored it yet and I’m normally pretty good about those things. I’ll make sure that’s done ASAP now.

  • Sara says:

    This post and the post about the accident really moved me. I have a twenty month old son and I think sometimes I am too consumed with work. I am always on my blackberry checking email or working from home. Tonight I came home and we just spent a lovely hour together no tv, no blackberry no distractions. Your post reminded me of what is important in life. I will stop more to treasure those random special moments. Thank you for sharing something so personal.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Bless Dana’s heart and her dear family…tears flowed reading her story. We have no problems at all compared to what she has lived through and will live through. We lost my brother at barely aged 20 to a drunk driver. I saw all that my parents lived through all the years following. The grief that is actual physical pain passes….but there will always be times when we miss the one gone ahead. Helps to remember WHERE they are and with WHOM!

    • Dana says:

      I am so sorry about your brother, Elizabeth. I never knew grief was so physical before. 🙁

      It does help to remember where he is. And all the conversations with my children as they chat about Heaven. I can see why Jesus says we must have faith like a little child. For them, Heaven is no abstract concept but a very real place with very real people.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thank you Dana, my brother was lost to us in 1974…long time ago. (It happened just 6 weeks before he was to be married). I watched, my Mom especially, in her grief, through out the following years until she too died. And grieved along with her, of course. He was a very special person. But GOD helped me in a very special way about 5 months following. Sometimes HE chooses to do such things, in HIS own timing. Long story…maybe one day I will share on a blog too. (Do not have one yet).

        It helped me to focus on his being “away temporarily”…and in terms of eternity, it is a temporary thing. And having lost several babies, very early on, via miscarriage, in the years after he died, it gave me great comfort knowing he (as well as other loved ones) were already there…hopefully to help care for those we lost. (We still have 3 children, who are adults now. I am grateful for each of them.) What a grand Reunion Day we shall have in due time!! And that is one child you know for sure is THERE awaiting you (we have one child who is not a Believer yet…and is 33 so you know our concerns).

        You are a gifted writer…someday you should write a book…I agree with the other commentor. Blessings on you and your family!!

  • Hannah Hood says:

    I’m a new mom to a 1 month old; had I gone back and read her posts about losing her son a month ago, they would not have had the effect they had on me when I read them today due to perspective. I couldn’t imagine ever losing my son–certainly made me hold him a little tighter and soak in his smile a little longer.

  • Jill says:

    May God continue to heal this family. What a reminder to anchor the furniture! This story hit close to home as I live in Lincoln, and having taken one of my own to Children’s in Omaha, I can’t imagine the feeling of losing a child. I am so sorry the great people of Lincoln couldn’t save this little guy. As always, God’s plans are greater than ours! God Bless!

  • MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I can’t even put into words how this post made me feel. I was all out sobbing and my 3 yo daughter climbed up in my lap and said “Mommy, you ok? I love you.” I said I was just reading a sad story and I love her so much and I held on tight to her and she looked at my face and said “Mommy, I’ll take care of you.” My heart is broken for this family and I cannot even fathom moving forward after that…bless this family…

    • Dana says:

      Children are such a blessing. My six year old and three year old are both very sensitive and both give me lots of hugs when I’m feeling sad. “You sad about Tiggy?” my three year old will say. Then I get surrounded in hugs and little ones trying to comfort me. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing. I just talked to my husband about anchoring our entertainment cabinet in our living room. It’s a piece that we think could never flip but it has drawers at the bottom and it could happen so fast. Our little boy is getting interested in the drawers and the tv would be something he might go after. Thank you again for sharing.

    • Dana says:

      Make sure you know how to anchor it properly and follow all the directions. When I finally got through all the emails, two people related similar stories with dressers that were anchored.

      I don’t know if there are different qualities of anchors and I wasn’t about to ask questions about whether or not the anchors were properly fastened to the wall.

  • Amy f;) says:

    Crying and hyperventilating.

  • Rachel says:

    I am typing this through tears. My heart goes out to all who have experienced a loss as tragic. When my daughter was born three years ago, we were given the news that she had Spina Bifida. While it was the worst type (external) it was in one of the best locations. She is mobile and has control of the muscles in her legs. Later in her first year, we were told that she had Craniosynostosis (fusion of the skull) and would have to have surgery to correct it or her brain would not thrive. We praise God that she came through that surgery and is a thriving toddler.
    I cannot imagine losing her. Although, I couldn’t imagine having a child with Spina Bifida or Craniosynostosis either. Its amazing the strength God has given us especially when we lean on Him for strength.

    • Dana says:

      I am so glad your little girl is doing well and came through surgery well! That strength is amazing. People keep telling me, “You seem so strong!” But I’m not. I’m falling apart. Some days, I’m not sure how I get through, but I have to and have someone much stronger than I to lean on.

      God bless you and give that little girl some extra snuggles from me. 🙂

  • wow, this really makes you thankful for what you have. I can’t even imagine.

  • Dana, so sorry to hear of your loss. I just can’t imagine. Love and prayers to you and all of your family.

  • Monica says:

    Dana~ What a flood of emotions this strikes within me. The fear, the sadness, the panic all flooded over me as I was consumed reading pages and pages of your blog. As a mother of five, I can’t begin to imagine this overwhelming roller coaster of emotions that is your every day. The joy, the praise that you love your children the way that you do is my lasting impression of you. The time that you loved your little “Tiggy”- the joy, fun, and unharnessed energy that it is obvious that you allowed in his life and continue to allow in your other chilren. Your abililty to create the kind of home that it seems you have is remarkable. You are in my prayers, along with the rest of your family. My ultimate prayer is that your circle will be unbroken as you, your husband, and your other children are reunited with Tiggy when we meet ourHeavenly father.

  • Jessica says:

    Oh my goodness. I’m sure hundreds of people have said it to you, but please know that it was not even a little bit your fault.

  • Dana says:

    She’s so brave for sharing that. I know I would still be curled up in a ball in disbelief. I’ve definitely had me a good cry tonight.

    • Dana says:

      Part of me still is, Dana, but I have five other children I love just as much as I love Tiggy. I can’t just step out of life as tempting as it is. 🙁

      The Bible says we are not given more than we can handle. At one time, I thought that meant that we weren’t given trials bigger than our ability to handle them. I’m not so sure now. This is bigger than I can handle, but it is not given all at once. I’m not sure if you can really understand if you haven’t been through something tragic, but you only can feel so much before all feeling is cut off. That’s why there is such a fog and so many people do not remember the first six months to a year.

  • Michelle Cato says:

    What a brave mother…my heart just breaks and aches for her. Dana, thank you for sharing your story…saying a prayer right now for your family. God bless all of you!

  • Denise C. says:

    Bless your heart Dana. I too have lost a son (in a very different way). I know what it’s like to go through the worst thing imaginable. My baby boy was 7 months old when he passed. This past May marked the 13 th year of his passing. It took me YEARS to work through the “what ifs”. I still mourn my son. I was able to find happiness with a wonderful husband, and 2 more children. Not a day passes when I don’t think of my sweet baby boy. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    • Dana says:

      Thank you, Denise. I am so sorry for your loss but thank you for sharing. The “what ifs” are hard and can make me feel so stuck sometimes.

      So many people have emailed me about their own losses and it is encouraging to see that there is an “other side” to this grief. Sometimes it seems to stretch on forever, but I know that isn’t true.

      God bless.

  • Johanna says:

    This was a timely post. My husband has been in the hospital the last two weekends – he’s had 4 strokes. He’s 34, I’m 27, and our daughter is 3 months old. We started FPU before we got married almost 4 years ago, and have been blessed by having one less worry these last couple weeks.

    • Corrie says:

      My dad had a stroke about 6 years ago. It was one of the hardest times my family has gone through, but God brought us through it. He will bring you all through it as well. :]

    • Dana says:

      Oh wow. I pray he recovers. That must be so frightening for all of you. 34 is just so young for those kinds of issues.

      If you need to talk to someone, email me any time. The contact form on my site is the best way. I don’t know what it is like to go through what you are going through, but I know that often it is more important to have someone who will listen than who will say the “right” things.

  • My heart just aches for you, Dana. Praying for God’s continued comfort in the months and years ahead.

    Thank you also for your words on times “when money is the last thing on your mind”. They are so true. My son has had several months of undiagnosable health issues over the past year and a half. For months on end, our little boy had no less than 3 doctor/therapy appointments a week, and was on medical food and a diet that was running us over $500 a month. Thankfully, during those trying months, we didn’t have to think about money since we had thought about money over the previous several years. We were able to provide what our son needed and set aside some of our frugal ways like couponing during this time, so we could concentrate on getting our son the care he needed while still focusing on our other children.

    • Dana says:

      Thank you, Dana.

      I am sorry to hear about your little man but so happy you were able to do what he needed at the time. I hope and pray you find a diagnosis and treatment soon if you haven’t already.

      • Thanks, Dana. My son is doing much better actually. This spring, within just a few weeks and with no explanation, he drastically improved, praise God! The doctors are all left feeling stumped. 🙂

  • Marlene says:

    I couldn’t even make it through reading the whole story. I will have to go back another time. God bless this dear family. Words can’t express my sorrow for them.

  • Kate says:

    I am so, so sorry. We will anchor this weekend.

  • Kaidi says:

    My heart is aching for this family. This incredible writing style and skill placed me right in the middle of it and I’ve been thinking of you all day. Even though I haven’t lost a child, I have experienced losses that make me, even years later, go back to the “what if” area. Your attitude, relationship with God is so comforting – that even in your pain you believe in God’s love and provisions. God is right there wiping away the tears. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Dana says:

      Thank you, Kaidi. God is faithful even when, and perhaps especially when, we’re dragged through dark times and cannot always even feel His presence.

  • Amanda says:

    I can’t stop sobbing. Children are such sweet and special gifts. Reading Dana’s story makes me want to shower my children with more love, attention, and appreciation. I also have realized that we definitely need to anchor a few pieces of furniture around our house. Dana, my prayers are with you and your family. I know that you will see your sweet Tiggy again, and that he doesn’t have to suffer the pains of this life. I have a love for you and your family just after reading your story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Nathalie says:

    If I would live close to you Dana, I would come over and give you a big hugh. My son is now 21 months old and his name is Matthias.
    I can’t even imagine what it would be like to miss my little boy.
    Thanks for reminding us what’s most important in life!

  • Marlana says:

    Hi, Dana, I was directed to your blog when the tragedy happened and have prayed for you. I am soooooo sorrow. I am only 25 years old, and had three friends die within a month of each other this year — BEST friends, friends I could cry upon. One minute were’ talking, and three minutes later he’s dead in a freak accident. I am sure I have only experienced two drops of what you experienced, but thank you for writing and may God bless you.

  • Amber Cullum says:

    I didn’t even read the post yet. I only read the first few sentences and knew I needed to comment.

    Dana’s story moved me in ways that were almost scary. I really had to and continue to question if I would be so sure of God’s goodness in the midst of tragedy. Having a 15 month old has really challenged my true devotion and trust in God’s sovereignty. While it used to be hard to admit, it is now something I admit and continue to work through. The fear of something happening to my son, to my husband and how I would respond to God’s providence, provision, and sovereignty.

    I forwarded a few of Dana’s posts to several people in my life and they too were challenged to the core.

    Thank you DANA!! For being so real and honest in your pain and your belief/love of God.

    Now off to read the actual post.

  • My heart aches for this family. My prayers are with you as you continue to heal. God bless.

    Mary Ellen

  • Emilie says:

    You can not have grief unless you have love. The stronger your grief, the more love that is there.

  • Nicole says:

    My heart broke when I read this, we lost our 16 week old (gestation) baby, and it was devastating, planning a funeral for such a little person made me unable to function anywhere else in my life. It takes so much strength to share this kind of story but it may save another life, bless you.

  • Merrilee says:

    Whew! I proceeded with caution reading through your story, knowing I’d be gripped by tears and emotion. (And I cried good and hard.) I’m sorry for your loss, and thankful that you know the Lord, and are clinging to Him in this still very difficult time. Your testimony is bringing glory to God.

    No one saves money in their emergency fund with the idea that they’ll be needing it for such an experience as yours. But the reality is that it could happen to anyone. And it’s so true that money flows like water–most especially when we’re going through a major change. Thank you for this poignant reminder as to the many reasons why having an emergency fund is so important–because there ARE times when money is (and should be) the last thing on our minds.

  • Angie says:

    Oh Dana- my heart hurts for you and your family. This could have happened to any of us…

  • Jessica says:

    Dana, thank you for this post and for sharing your story. My heart grieves with you and your family.

    On this side of Paradise, we will never understand “why.” Until that glorious day when you see the Redeemer, I pray that you always feel His presence and His love and know that you are never alone.

  • Mary says:

    Dana, I loved this post. We have been through some financially rough spots and saving is the only thing that has brought us through.

    Praying for you all, always, especially Bear.

  • Kelly Welch says:

    I read all of Dana’s posts I could find, and shed my tears over her family……in the midst of my prayers for you all, I would like to recommend a book, if/when you feel ready for it. It’s by Don Piper, its called “90 Minutes In Heaven”, and when Don was killed in a car accident, and before he “came back” (which, by the way, he was a pastor of a denomination that didn’t believe that that sort of thing happens anymore since the apostles…..!) he describes what he saw and experienced in Heaven. It took away all my fear of death, but even more, may bless you so much to think of your dear little Tiggy, surrounded by beloved family and friends who have passed on before, giving him hugs and cuddles and welcoming him to Heaven.
    God’s rest and peace be upon you, dear sister in Christ. Your path has been hard, and I pray that hope and joy touch you all a little bit more every day……

    • Dana says:

      Thank you, Kelly. I think that is one of the books in my pile I’ve been given. I haven’t read a whole lot. My concentration is still a bit flighty, but definitely appreciate the recommendations!

  • Coreen says:

    I, too, have known the loss of children. Mine were barely conceived and then swept away. Some friends did not understand why I grieved so deeply but I think you do. Some day I will take them in my arms and they will know how much they were loved and longed for. May God bless your heart with healing. Find laughter again. It can happen.

    • Dana says:

      I’m so sorry, Coreen. It is hard for other people to understand. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have had miscarriages that they feel particularly alone because people just don’t seem to be able to sympathize with the grieving you feel.

      God bless you, as well.

  • Debbie Bolen says:

    So very sorry for your loss. So very thankful for a heaven where we will all be reunited in God’s timing. Praying for you and your family.

  • Megan says:

    I think God gives us more than we can handle often because it then requires us to trust God in the situation. It is easy for us to say we trust God and that He will take care of us, but it is infinitely more difficult to walk it out in our lives and in our most difficult situations. Dana, I am sorry for your loss and I hope God continues to comfort and guide you.

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