Can Three Years Have Passed?

06 Feb

Three years ago January 4, I buried two of my three beautiful daughters. The day before the funeral my sister-in-law, Sandy, took me shopping for widows weeds. What an appropriate name for the clothes you never wanted to grace your closet! And David and I prepared to leave our sole surviving child in a hospital three plus hours from home to celebrate the lives of our oldest and youngest daughters. Not our oldest child, no, he’d been buried twenty some years by that time.

And one remained.

Just one.

We arrived at the motel late that night after having driven in the dark for many hours. We were tired . . . worried . . . and broken. The motel sat less than a mile from our home, but I couldn’t stomach spending the night there without any of my children. And family was staying at our home already and I just wanted to be alone with my husband. We hadn’t spent many nights together since the accident.

That night, as we lay together in that unfamiliar room we talked about our girls, our fears for tomorrow, the difficulty of leaving Gracen behind, and the concern over her missing the memorial service.

I was nervous about the service the next day. The news coverage left me fearful that cameras and strangers might greet me in my worst moments. What lay before me was a small-talk nightmare. And so David and I agreed to spilt a pill prescribed for each of us at the ER. I can’t even tell you what it was. A sedative—an anti-anxiety medication? I don’t know. We just knew it was supposed to help. I didn’t want to miss the memorial service because I was too tired to pay attention, but I didn’t want to be filled with anxiety either.

So on the day we buried our daughters, we split a pill and swallowed it down before we left the motel. And then we stepped outside, took the elevator down to the lobby, and found family gathered there. We had no idea they were staying in the same place we were. After hugs and stilted conversation David and I left for the church . . . left to do what no parent ever dreams of doing.

img_2437And later that day we would turn our backs and leave the bodies of our children in that cold cemetery. We would drive away – abandoning them there in order to do the next thing. Had it not been for Gracen I think I would have curled up on that cold mounded dirt and cried out my misery until spent. There I’d sleep until I joined my children on the other side of the veil. Instead, I did the next thing and the next thing and the next thing and that’s all I’ve been doing ever since.

Maybe that’s all life was meant to be. One long line of doing the next thing . . .

until you are no more.

Yes, three years have passed and all I do is the next thing.

Believe me, that’s a victory.


Posted by on February 6, 2017 in Grief



18 responses to “Can Three Years Have Passed?

  1. tearsinmycoffee

    February 6, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I love you, Janet and David and Gracen. Thank you for sharing this. My heart breaks for you. Because of your bravery and courage and transparency, I can face that next thing as well…xo


    • Janet Boxx

      February 7, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      Susan, the Lord is your strength. You remember that on the days you don’t feel brave and courageous. Remember that you aren’t responsible for manufacturing strength. His strength is perfected in your weakness. His grace is sufficient to get you through the next minute, hour, second and day. So on the days when you just can’t . . . whatever . . . Let go and let Him!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pure Glory

    February 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    My heart goes out to you. A big hug!


  3. wieckling

    February 6, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    Tugs at the heartstrings ♡ thanks for sharing. Time changes nothing – except our love for them gets stronger x


  4. sandibrooke

    February 6, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    The next thing. For sure. In addition for caring for Gracen and David you are caring for all of us bewildered, bereaved parents by holding a candle to light the way. Bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      February 7, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      What a nice thing to say. Thank you, Sandi!


  5. Judy Braun Smith

    February 6, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    To be able to put it into words is remarkable, a gift. Thank you for sharing.


    • Janet Boxx

      February 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you for the compliment. I never wrote anything for public consumption prior to the accident, so I’m not particularly confident in my writing skills. I appreciate the encouragement!



    February 6, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    You are a brave strong woman. God bless you and your angels and daughter still with you.


  7. Melanie

    February 7, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Yes. It IS a victory. Every single day we choose to get up out of bed and do the next thing is a victory. Every single time we choose to lean in to Jesus and not turn the other way is a victory. Every single time you get behind the wheel of a car is a victory. You are declaring with your life that the evil one has not triumphed. The power of Christ in you is shining. Oh, dear sister! I long for the day when both of us will no longer only be able to do “the next thing” but our joy will be fully restored and we will leap like calves freed from the stall! We will sing and dance and all that we have lost will be redeemed. Until then, we walk on-calling courage to one another’s heart. Thank you for being honest, thank you for sharing your life so vulnerably.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      February 7, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you! I love this “calling courage to one another’s heart” as that’s exactly what you do for me. Love you Melanie!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Karie Stevens

    February 7, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your story…Doing the next thing is all we can do when one of our kids is missing until we join them. If it wasn’t for my other child, I think I would give up. And sometimes, even my other son doesn’t keep those feelings of wanting to give up at bay.


  9. Nancy

    February 7, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Yes, and doing the “next thing” is a victory when all we really want to do is to lie down in the grave with our child, holding them close, and let them pile the dirt over us. Sending you major HUGS and PRAYERS. Thank you, Janet.


  10. victoriawhyte

    February 9, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Thank you for sharing 💟



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