Dropping the Ball & Matters of Forgiveness 

18 Aug

This post is painfully authentic. It’s an unvarnished look at how this bereaved mother feels since justice was once again denied my children. It’s peripherally about my faith, but blatantly reveals my humanity. So, if you can’t handle the truth and the inability to fix the unfixable, it’s best if you walk away right now. Otherwise, pull up a chair and virtually hold my hand as I walk you through the hard stuff.

It’s been a bit of a crappy week. For every minute that my mind has not been fully engaged in fiction or shut down by sleep it has cycled and recycled through the events that took place in the courtroom Monday. 

There have been moments when I’ve felt like a heavy weight has been lifted from me. I can finally completely turn away from the man-child who killed my daughters. Every obligation I had has been satisfied. (I should clarify that I don’t refer to Troy Robins as a man-child to speak of him in a derogatory fashion but rather as an acknowledgement of who I see him to be). A grown adult who has not put away childish thinking and behavior. I can’t even hate him; instead I pity him. Regardless, I really don’t want to talk about him. I like to think he’s beneath my consideration. I know that’s not very Christ like, but I don’t feel terribly charitable towards him. If I wanted heaping hot coals to take up residence on his head, I’d pray for him. I can barely pray for myself – for David and Gracen. So praying for him, my enemy in the eyes of many, is not something I invest my time in.

I didn’t get much of an opportunity to enjoy the freedom that resulted when my obligation for the safety of others was satisfied. No, it took no time at all for the fury over the complete lack of justice to rear its ugly head. I keep swallowing the rage because there is no satisfying or acceptable way to vent it. Voicing it and writing about it are the best I can do but neither dissipates the feelings. So I expend what energy I have left vacillating between the shocking feelings of absolute horror and doing my best to exercise self-control to contain the rage.

But worst of all is the self-condemnation I feel for not trying to speak up in court. The rage I’ve felt has always been directed toward others but it is so much harder to know I forfeited the very last opportunity to see justice served by failing to speak up. I feel as if I fumbled the ball a step from the end zone. 

After taking so many steps to see that justice would finally be served why didn’t I stand up and ask if I could address the court? The worst that could have happened is the denial of my request. So now, I am as enraged at myself as I’ve been at all the others. 

Today, I really need a heavy duty helmet because I just want to beat my head against a wall. 



Again and again and again.

I fear that I will torture myself with that one failure forevermore. 

This is pure torment. 

Satan got the victory again and I handed it to him.

That kills me!

Please just shoot me now!

A good friend commented yesterday that she couldn’t imagine what that drive home after court was like for me. I fought tears for much of the ride and especially when I passed the accident site where two crosses stand defiantly proclaiming that Bethany and Katie’s lives were valuable, not disposable, as the courts have implied by their failure to uphold the law. As I drove by those crosses Monday morning I was assualted by the fierce longing to no longer be a part of this world – again. Believe me I’ve been there before.

I’m not suicidal, but there is this very, very common feeling that is rarely spoken of even in the loss community. Many among us long for death. It is an allconsuming desperate desire to escape, to just stop everything. To fall asleep and never wake up again. Suicide by neglect, if you will. There’s no desire to eat, to sleep, to shower or even crawl out of your bed ever again. 

In the movie Forrest Gump, Jenny prayed that God would allow her to fly away from her abusive father. And after Jenny’s death Forrest laced up his sneakers and just started running. Both characters displayed a desperate desire to escape the reality of their lives. Neither had a specific destination in mind – they just wanted to be anywhere other than the place they were currently at. I know that feeling in various forms from itching restlessness to deep, dark, unfathomable emptiness. Monday, on that drive home, I revisited that deep, dark, place where I have already spent far too much time in the last three plus years. And later in the week that itching restlessness reappeared driven by the unforgivable dropping of the ball. 

I have brand new forgiveness issues to confront. With the Judge who cavalierly suggested dismissing the charge. To the prosecutor for failing to respond to either of the two emails I sent asking what I could expect in court so that I could avoid being blindsided by the unexpected. And of course, the person who made the final decision to dismiss the charge. 

I could simply bow my head in obedience and by route request forgiveness for the parts each individual played in this miscarriage of justice but I know it’s not really that simple. All of scripture tells me that God is more interested in the motivations of my heart than obedience. Every parent knows that defiant obedience cultivates resentment. I’m going to need supernatural help to allow me to grant forgiveness from a heart that pleases the Lord and oh, how I wish I did not have to retrace those steps.

But far more difficult than forgiving those who contributed to this miscarriage of justice, is the ability to forgive myself for dropping the ball just short of the goal line. All that effort, all the hours spent over the last three years, lost in one single moment in time. 

There will be no wings to help me fly away from that reality. No road long enough to flee from my own failure. And there’s not enough chocolate in the world to sustain a sugar induced coma that will grant me escape from the fact that I could have asked one simple question that might or might not have made a difference. Just the chance that one question might have mattered – I can’t get over that. It’s a steel reinforced cage of self-condemnation because it doesn’t really matter if God, Himself doesn’t condemn me. I am too disappointed with myself for failing in the one thing that I could still do for my girls – for my immediate family. 

I’m not sure there is enough supernatural power in the world to grant me peace for this one misstep not because God isn’t powerful enough but because I don’t think I really want to forgive myself. This thing feels like the unpardonable sin of motherhood. I miss my girls but now I feel utterly unworthy of them. And no number of comments to the contrary will allay my guilt. So, yeah, I pretty much meant it when I said just shoot me now. If not for Gracen . . . well, let’s not go there.


Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Adversity, Faith


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28 responses to “Dropping the Ball & Matters of Forgiveness 

  1. The Devotional Guy

    August 18, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you for your candor. I can’t imagine how you feel but your words convey it strongly enough that I can at least catch a glimpse of the story that I’m sure you wish you’d rather not tell. Thanks for sharing it for those who need to hear it. I hope you will find your path to forgiveness and that God provides you with His comfort. Praying for you. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to reply with a word of encouragement. I enjoy reading your blog.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Kim Nolywaika

    August 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Janet. Janet, please don’t do this. I am sitting here just wishing I had some way of convincing you not to beat yourself up for not speaking in court. But I know there is nothing. Nothing I can say or do to ease this burden even a little. I am not so much outraged at the injustice of it all. These days nothing surprises me. But to think of you driving past those crosses – well the sorrow of it is too much already. Self-condemnation on top of that is a crushing load. I know you wanted to do this for your girls. They know this. They know how hard you tried. You dropped nothing. God was there. He could have loosed your tongue. He could have intervened. Please hang onto the fact that He will make this right in His time. Don’t let what’s-his-name have a single shred of victory in your heart. I am so horribly sorry.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 6:44 pm


      I will do my best to set this disappointment aside. You could say it’s not my first rodeo. I’ve plenty of experience with deferred hope. Sometimes I think, “What’s one more disappointment?” I wish I could respond with some upbeat, hope-filled reply, but I think it’s just too soon. Regardless of how I feel, I know God sees, cares, and has His own plans. Like Job, who am I to demand answers from Him? I was not there when He formed the foundations of the world. His plans are eternal in nature. Mine, not so much. My motivations are tainted by worldly attitudes, desires and goals. I can accept these truths without being happy about them. I haven’t really lost track of the fact that I need to shake it off. I just need to verbalized it and dwell in my misery for awhile. I don’t think God minds that overmuch. I look to the way He responded to Elijah after he fled in fear of Jezebel following the slaughter of the prophets of Baal. I think He sustains me while I lick my wounds before He shows up and asks me, “What are you doing here, Janet”? (1 Kings 19). Maybe God will grant me 40 days to get it together too.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Jake Hamm

    August 18, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Walking with you.


  4. Rhyl

    August 18, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    I’m so sorry 💔😥


  5. Veronica mccooey

    August 19, 2017 at 3:34 am

    It pains me to read ur story ,loosing ur children is the ultimate pain ,an now u carry this extra burden ,I think that every mother that looses a child ,will carry some sort of guilt ,I will to the day I die , I wish I could put my arm around u ,u have suffered enough pain ,to carry u the rest of ur life , stop beating itself up ,is this wat ur girls would want ,remember they r watching u an r with u all the way ,godbless u x


    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 7:52 pm


      I sincerely appreciate your concern for me. Thank you for taking the time to both read and respond to my blogpost.

      From what I’ve observed, feeling of guilt are prevalent in the child loss community but rarely deserved. Obviously, there are parents that routinely neglect or abuse their children, but the vast majority of parents have consistently done everything in their power to meet their children’s needs and keep them safe. There are circumstances we have absolutely no control over. I’d encourage you to grant yourself some grace. I do realize that I’m not very good at taking my own advice, but I feel no guilt related to the way in which my children died. And I’m not so sure I feel guilty about what happened in that courtroom so much as I feel disappointed with myself and as if I have failed in my role as a mother. (Shrug).

      I do have to say that I don’t believe that scripture supports the idea that our loved ones can see us from Heaven. I think Luke 16:19-31 makes that clear. Honestly, I don’t want to believe that’s true. How could our loved ones enjoy Heaven for the paradise we are told it is if they are cognizant of the weight of grief we carry whether we feel guilty or not. I’m bothered by the comments about our children sending encouragement to us from Heaven. I guess I feel as if we inadvertently attribute the works of God to our lost loved ones when we do that. Scripture tells us that God is a jealous God and that it is not pleasing to Him when we attribute His work to anyone else. I know that your comments in no way indicated that you believe that, I just see it as the next logical step if we do believe are children are watching us from Heaven. It is not my intention to offend, I just have a firm opinion on the matter.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. I am sorry that you and I share the common bond of child loss. I pray that you find comfort and consolation as time goes on.


  6. Mary Burger

    August 19, 2017 at 6:33 am

    I heart hurts for you Janet. I am so sorry


  7. Nancy

    August 19, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Oh, Janet. I am so sorry for your pain. There aren’t any words that will take it away. I am crying with you, sending your major HUGS, and lots of Prayers. Please God, grant Janet peace. Please let her know of your presence, your justice, your forgiveness. Please wrap your arms around Janet tight, and give her rest and peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 7:55 pm


      Thank you so much for your prayers on my behalf and taking time to respond to my blogpost. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude for your concern for me.


  8. Christine Dunbar

    August 19, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Dear, dear one,
    Praying the name of Jesus over your heart, praying the name of Jesus over the sting of pain, hold on dear one. This is a song by Jeremy Camp called “He Knows”… hugs and prayers from my heart to yours!

    He Knows
    Jeremy Camp
    All the bitter weary ways
    Endless striving day by day
    You barely have the strength to pray
    In the valley low
    And how hard your fight has been
    How deep the pain within
    Wounds that no one else has seen
    Hurts too much to show
    All the doubt you’re standing in between
    And all the weight that brings you to your knees
    He knows
    He knows
    Every hurt and every sting
    He has walked the suffering
    He knows
    He knows
    Let your burdens come undone
    Lift your eyes up to the one
    Who knows
    He knows
    We may faint and we may sink
    Feel the pain and near the brink
    But the dark begins to shrink
    When you find the one who knows
    The chains of doubt that held you in between
    One by one are starting to break free
    He knows
    He knows
    Every hurt and every sting
    He has walked the suffering
    He knows
    He knows
    Let your burdens come undone
    Lift your eyes up to the one
    Who knows
    He knows
    Every time that you feel forsaken
    Every time that you feel alone
    He is near to the brokenhearted
    Every tear
    He knows
    He knows
    Every hurt and every sting
    He has walked the suffering
    He knows
    He knows
    Let your burdens come undone
    Lift your eyes up to the one
    Who knows
    He knows
    He knows
    He knows
    Songwriters: Jeremy Thomas Camp / Seth David Mosley
    He Knows lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 7:58 pm


      Thank you so much for your prayers and for sharing the Jeremy Camp song. Music has always ministered to my heart.


  9. Sandy Seale

    August 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

    “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
    “I believe, help my unbelief.” Praying for you this morning. I am so, so sorry for the additional pain and weight this week has placed on you. Just one day at a time, sometimes one breath at a time precious sister.


    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm


      Thank you for the scripture references and for praying for me. My prayer life has unfortunately suffered in the aftermath of the accident. The awareness of Gracen’s prognosis has a lot to do with that. It has gotten better but I have a long way to go.


  10. camillern

    August 19, 2017 at 8:53 am

    …..and if you had, what would have changed? Nothing you could have said would have altered the outcome. Had there been any opportunity to affect a change, you would have been inspired and casted to do so. In fact, you were divinely spared yet one more futile disappointment. Please stop torturing yourself. You are not the villain, you are not the cause, you are not responsible for this in any way! Sending you prayers, peace and love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you for your prayers and staunch support. Obviously, I struggle with your conclusions, but in the long run what’s done is done. The events in court that day will be relegated to a distant corner of my heart and mind where disappointments and deferred hope reside. I will do my best not to revisit it. Doing so would serve no good purpose.


  11. lmgeorge4

    August 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Janet thank you for your honesty. I thought you had already been to court and wish I had known it had been delayed. I know nothing I say can ease your regret in not speaking up in court but I really believe unfortunately that it would have made any difference though I can see why you feel the way you do. Love to you.


    • Janet Boxx

      August 22, 2017 at 8:29 pm


      Thank you for your consistent encouragement and prayers. You have always granted me the grace to grieve without judgement. It’s a rare to find those who can patiently linger with the grieving. I want you to know how very appreciated you are.


  12. Donmarie

    August 22, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I have been reading your blog since shortly after my 22 year old daughter, Sawyer, died in October from pulmonary emboli, misdiagnosed over the course of a year as Asthma and then Anxiety.
    She was finally diagnosed correctly when she collapsed walking in to work. She died in the cath lab, no one expected it……her heart most likely just gave up.

    Your posts have validated me and resonated with me more often than not.

    You need to believe that YOU did not let Bethany and Katie down! Your job was to love them and care for them and be their mother. It was the court’s job to get justice for them and THEY let them down. I am so sorry that they let you down in this most crushing way and I hope that some day the prosecutor and judge get to look in your eyes and see the pain.

    I struggle with the guilt and blame, I accompanied Sawyer to her last Dr. appointment three weeks before she died. I promised her that we would go to the ER if we weren’t feeling fully confident that the Dr. was taking her symptoms seriously. But…..I relaxed for a minute and let my confidence in the doctor override my instincts. Why wouldn’t I? It was his job. I don’t blame the Dr.s. They were all devastated. Walking around with pulmonary emboli is pretty rare. Still….in my darkest moments…..

    I understand how you feel, but it is not the truth, you did not let them down.

    Sending friendship and love.


    • Janet Boxx

      August 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm


      I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter, Sawyer (What a beautiful name, BTW). I’m sure you have been bombarded by a cocktail of emotions. I imagine anger and frustration rank high on the list . . . if only . . . why . . . and on and on. I’m sure you know from an intellectual standpoint that had you gone to the ER the medical staff would have likely drawn the same conclusions as the doctor’s you’d already consulted. I can very much relate to your experience. It took 15 years to get a diagnosis for Gracen and Katie’s ARSACS. Early on the doctors we consulted believed acted as if I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Our first child, Cole, was stillborn. That event set me up to be a bit paranoid and overprotective. I struggled with the doctors attitudes and conclusions as I wrestled with my instincts and paranoia. It’s hard to discern fear from legitimate concerns. And honestly, there’s a world of difference between the instinctive Dr. Mom and the educated MD. The argument can always be made that God provided trained physicians for a reason.

      I’m glad to hear that you have found validation for your hurting heart among my convoluted ramblings. I firmly believe that validation is the foundation healing is built upon. We just seem to Chase our tails until we find it or make peace with the truth that your child was innately valuable for no other reason than the fact that God created her and that she belonged to you. We do not need others to justify the worth of our children – of any human being.

      I don’t know if you’ve read this particular post, so I thought I would share it with you in hopes that it might help you to let go of the guilt and self-condemnation you struggle with.

      Thank you for reading my blog, holding me accountable for the conclusions I draw (I desperately need that) and for extending the hand of friendship and love. I generally post about working through my struggles after I have found a measure of peace with them. I’m no less authentic then but I am less vulnerable that way. But sometimes, as was the case when I posted this blog, my heart was still bleeding. Thank you for stepping up to stand in the gap for me.


  13. Cristal

    August 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I’ve been wrestling with the Lord on whether or not to share this, and I hope you can forgive me if this causes more pain than help or healing.
    As I read this post the other day, I could see you sitting in that court room. I could see the “man child” as you called him, the judge, and even some of the other people in the court room. As I continued to read I could also see a giant angel literally sitting on you, holding down your tiny frame. This was an angel of the Lord, not a demonic or fallen angel, but a beautiful powerful angelic being with huge wings that pinned your arms down at your side. The arch of his back held your mouth shut. All the while you berated yourself, you had no idea what was going on in the real Kingdom.
    I’m not a bible scholar, but even I know this vision has something to do with God’s Justice.
    Please pray about it, and ask the Lord.


    • Janet Boxx

      August 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm


      Thank you for sharing your vision. Honestly, I have a dichotomy of beliefs about visions . . . and self-proclaimed healers. Unfortunately, we have seen too many con men that prey on the pain of others. As a result we develop a cynical attitude toward such things. However, I know that visions are highly regarded in other parts of the world. Not only that but there are plenty of biblical examples to support the validity of such occurrences. Not only that but we need look no further than Acts 2:16-18 where Peter addresses a crowd to dispel accusations of drunken behavior:

      “. . .this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

      17 ‘In the last days, God says,
      I will pour out My Spirit on all people;
      your sons and daughters will prophesy,
      your young men will see visions,
      your old men will dream dreams.
      18 Even on My servants, both men and women,
      I will pour out My Spirit in those days,
      and they will prophesy.”

      So, I will gladly prayerfully consider your words. Unless the angel in your vision was ginormous, my frame could in no way be described as tiny. LOL

      Your concern for me is very much appreciated.


  14. Misty

    August 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Always praying for you. Your family has and will always be in my heart. Thank you for putting your words out there. Many around me find my words hard to hear, as I have said the same. I just want to be with Samuel. It doesn’t mean I’m suicidal. I just want one of 2 things. Complete love, respect and understanding at every turn (not happening on this earth) or to be with Christ and Samuel…

    I can’t say I understand it from a parents point of view, but even as a Grandparent, it is all consuming to me.

    ~ Hugs


    • Janet Boxx

      August 27, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      I’m working on a blog that I will post later. In the meantime, take a look at 1 Kings 19: 1-4. I think you will find you are in very good company. Thank you for praying for me especially in light of your recent loss. Grief can be all consuming . . . Prayer is hard work but praying for others in the midst of that is something special!



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