You won’t be the same

On April 3, 2004, this supercell thunderstorm dropped 2″ diameter hail over Chaparral, N.M. causing widespread damage. Even so, the sun broke through those formidable clouds.
Photo by Greg Lundeen, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”Haruki Murakami

There’s an old saying that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. I’ve never been particularly fond of that quote, and to this day I’m not sure I believe it. Speaking strictly for myself, I feel weaker than I’ve ever felt. But if that old saying is true, and if I survive the past five years with my sanity intact, surely I will be a female Hercules.

Until this most recent storm is resolved, it’s probably best not to discuss it here. Let’s just say that there is very little chance that Matt and I can hold onto even what currently remains of our life as it once was. Change– seismic, inevitable change– seems to be hitting us with overpowering force. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated. For now, though, please accept my deepest gratitude for being with us through all this. And please keep those prayers coming!

If you are facing unwanted changes right now, I hope you will grit your teeth and hang on. And if you are not, just wait awhile; sooner or later, it hits all of us. Let’s be strong for each other and keep believing that despair can be defeated, and one day it will be. For good.

For those who may be interested, the full video of Jeff’s burial ceremony
is available for viewing online at this link.


  1. Well. I’m reluctant to ‘like’ this post, but I have because I want to show my support. I have to agree that I don’t believe that adversity always makes you stronger, but it does show you what you can do and it shows you who your friends are. I hope that you and Matt have lots of support around you at the moment. It’s particularly difficult to deal with everything when you are grieving. I wish you strength to get through it.

    • You are so right about that. I used to say that Matt’s presence in our family was like a litmus test that showed me what people are made of inside, but with Jeff gone, that’s ten times more true than it ever was. Grieving makes it harder from the inside AND the outside, since so many people flee the scene of suffering. It’s tough to find out one can’t count on the people (or institutions or agencies or whatever) once thought to be reliable, but I suppose it’s ultimately helpful information for planning. Thanks so much for your encouragement and presence here. It truly does help.

  2. Ann

    I love the photo and the quote.
    I believe that despair can be defeated, and one day it will be. Hang in there!

    • Thank you, Ann. I am so glad you are here!

  3. Cherie

    Please know you are in my prayers, Julia. Love and Light!

    • Thank you, Cherie. As always, your prayers, love and light are a true comfort to me. ❤

  4. jholley1954

    Keeping you and Matt in my prayers, Julia, and sending positive vibes and hugs your way.

    • Thank you, Judy! I am so happy you are here with us. I hope it’s not too much longer before I can see you again. I am trying to find some way to get to Russellville this year.

  5. MaryEllen Davis

    Since my only child, Nick was killed in a motorcycle accident I have often felt his presence when I am low. He walks beside me with his arm around my shoulders saying, “You can do this Mom. Keep going.” I don’t care whether it is his spirit or my imagination either way it seems to help. Praying for you and Matt. Keep going Julia. You can do this.

    • MaryEllen, I agree with you– whether we imagine it or it’s real, the effect is the same either way. But of course, I think there is a very real sense in which our loved ones ARE with us. It’s just one of those things we don’t yet understand. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it until we all find out how this stuff works. 🙂 Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement. It is especially comforting to know that people can and do survive what seems impossible to survive. Blessings to you as you continue to live with a life-changing loss. I’m happy you are here with us!

  6. Ann Vande Zande

    Beautiful even in your suffering. Thank you for this post, Julia. I will be praying for you and Matt.

    • Thank you, Ann. It’s so wonderful to be in touch with you here. I still cherish the hope that the “she musketeers” have at least a few more future adventures in store…

  7. Susan

    Julia, blessings to you and Matt. Changes full of frustrations can be exhausting. I am finally understanding that God is with me through the pain and difficulties and is not punishing me for unknown offenses. Rejoicing and giving thanks through the hurt is something I am learning and it makes all the difference. My husband is undergoing radiation treatments for cancer through the end of this month, the outlook is good. Enjoying God’s creative beauty this Spring brings joy as do His promises. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us and he does work all things together for our good even through the tears. Take care.

    • Susan, isn’t it funny how easy it is to personalize all these universal human sorrows and think that we are being punished? I try to guard against that but sometimes it sneaks up on me. I am sorry to hear of your husband’s need for radiation, but happy that the outlook is good. Doctors tend to give pessimistic prognoses, so when they are positive, it’s truly encouraging. Thanks so much for your presence here, and for your encouragement. I will pray for you and your husband as you travel this path.

  8. Sheila

    Good morning, my friend. I so wish things could be different and life could somehow lighten up on you. I am so sorry and although I know most of the details, even now it’s hard to comprehend. Praying for strength and the miracle this will require! Hugs crossing the distance! Love, Sheila

    • Thank you, Sheila. Your steadfast presence here means so much!

  9. Veronica Brown

    My heart goes out to you with love and prayers

    • Thank you, Veronica. I am comforted that you are praying for me. I still believe in prayer, and always will.

  10. Thank you for this. Said a prayer for you today.

    • You’re welcome – and thank you for the prayer. I think I am surviving on prayers right now.

  11. Heba

    So true and beautifully said! ^_^
    I pray that God helps us through storms and that we come out a better person. ” Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us.” [Surat Al-Baqarah: 285]

    • Hello Heba, it is always a joy to hear from you. Thank you for being with us, praying with us and lending your encouragement and good wishes!

  12. MaryAnn

    Glad to meet you, Female Hercules! You ARE surviving because you depend on our Heavenly Father to sustain you, when all else in in chaos. I love you!
    This cloud photo is marvelous, magnificent power! And gorgeous!

    • Well Mary Ann, I’m honored by the prediction, but keep in mind I’m not ready for Prime Time yet, so don’t enter me into any Olympic events anytime soon. 😀 Please keep those prayers coming. As I told Alys last week, I AM going to find some way to come out to the NorCal Republic as soon as I can. I will give you plenty of warning notice before I come. Meanwhile, I hope you know you are always welcome here, and always in our hearts.

  13. Harry Sims

    Bill W is notable for saying something like, “we are kindergartners in the journey of faith”.
    I am a kindergartener in my journey of faith.
    I can do all things through God who strengthens me.

    I’m Harry, grateful alcoholic and devoted twelve stepper.

    • Thank you, Harry. This reminds me of Shunryu Suzuki’s writings on the importance of “beginner’s mind.” It’s helpful to remember that, contrary to what the culture might tell us, none of us are required to be experts. Confidence is a wonderful thing, but humility is probably more important.

  14. raynard

    Julia, I had to put it mildly” A Dr Doolittle” Stop talking to me moment”.. I told my baby sister ” Quote What’s the point of being on the phone with family members who” don’t atleast offer anything.. I’m not one who” guilt anyone into doing anything or feel” entitled because we might share the same DNA .. Now that I’ve” exhaled” if you need any help dealing with the V.A , I’m willing to find out any information and point you to the right person . I live about 20 minutes from the local one I go to.. Keep your head up.( Besides looking down too long will make you ” wonder about ” does these shoes go with this outfit? I digress.. Be blessed and have a great day..

    • Raynard, thanks so much for that offer. I’ll email you with an update when the dust of all this VA business settles. Thanks for the reminder to keep my head up. Not only will it keep me from worrying about my shoes, but also I might quit bumping into walls so often. 😀 Hope you and Mary have a wonderful week coming up!

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: