Back In the Saddle- Or Giant Steps and Increments

Hello, my friends.

It’s been a month of giant steps and increments in the Lierheimer household. A friend of mine and I were talking recently about the differences between giant overwhelming steps in life, and little baby incremental steps.

He’s taking baby steps, worried about the effect of years of smoking on his health. As he should be. Quit the cancer sticks, watch your weight, get screened, all great baby steps to protect what God has given us from this evil called cancer.

Both of the Lierheimer girls graduated high school this month. Faith did not get the valedictorian spot after all. Another boy took it from her in a fair race, beating her by a mere .07% percentage point in their grade point averages. She gave a marvelous, knock-it-home salutatorian speech though, and brought the crowd to their feet. I’ll print the text of it here later.

Abi was not far behind. She clawed her way from the middle of the pack during freshman year, to dazzle the ranks in the top 9% when she claimed her diploma. Psychologists who specialize in children who have lost parents would call an event like graduation ‘triggering’. Triggering, because the last time they set foot in Red Rocks Amphitheater, their father was curled up in my lap. His cancer-ridden body was wracked in pain. His determination to get to our son’s graduation was monumental.

English: Shoot of the amphitheater at Red Rock... 

Red Rocks Amphitheater, site of 2012 Evergreen High graduation.

His complexion was yellow, and his steps frail.  He died six weeks later. But he made it, and for that, Chris remains one of my heroes.

Watching my children, it seems like when children experience such a traumatic loss, it’s almost primal. By that I mean that something childlike is broken in them, some sense of safety removed. If Dad, my protector, can die horribly, what can happen to me, after all?

Hmm. I muse about this and a lot of things. My faith in Jesus has been tested tremendously over the past two years.

The Psalmist says, in Psalm 127:3, that “Children are a Gift of the Lord.” True. The author of Proverbs writes “Children are a crown to the aged” (Chapter 17, verse 6). Well, I’m feeling that, I was forty-eight yesterday, after all.

I follow that line of reasoning  like a fish, or a blind woman. No one give gifts unless they have some sort of affection for the recipient. My children are a crown, too. They inspire me, cheer me, and make me think. Maybe Jesus does have some affection for me after all. Funny how I have to keep relearning that.

A man I was dating mistakenly took my kvetching about my children’s grief load for the desire for a co-parent. I had to laugh. He’s a very kind man, and took my correction graciously.  No one, absolutely no one, can shepherd my children through this process as well as I can. I have a huge support network, thank God. The proof is in the pudding, and so far the pudding looks pretty good.

I would be very interested in what you folks would have to say about this. Another blogger friend has a Q and A format that I am going to borrow., thank you for the idea. (Check her out, friends, she’s hilarious.)

For cancer families: What have you done to help shepherd your children through their loss?

What has helped you the most in your support network, during giant steps like graduations?

Lastly, What’s your story? Let the rest of us hear it. Grief shared is diminished.

Much love,


3 thoughts on “Back In the Saddle- Or Giant Steps and Increments

  1. After our son, Jesse, died of cancer last year, I feel as though his 3 younger brothers have played more of the shepherd role for his mom and I than we have for them. The youngest 2 took it all in stride. They missed their older brother but were young enough that it hasn’t really slowed them down. It has been their continued zest for life that has kept us parents going during the darkest hours. And it has been dark.
    Christian, next in line after Jesse, has had a much more difficult time. We make extreme effort never to compare him to his older brother in a negative way, and we rely on God to carry us through. Without our hope in Christ, we would not have survived as a healthy family.


  2. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story about Jesse, Peter. He is a delightful boy. You know, sometimes people ask me if I would ever want Chris back. You know what he and Jesse would very likely say?
    “What’s wrong with you guys! Don’t you know that time doesn’t mean anything here? You were right behind me! 🙂 ”
    I know, much easier said than lived. But we share an eternal hope, and I promise you, friend, joy cometh in the morning. Write anytime! I am reviewing your delightful blog!
    Much love,


  3. First of all, I wish I could add some words of wisdom to the conversation, but having no children myself and not having to succumb to the pain of losing a very close loved one, I feel completely ill-equipped to even attempt a response. I am, however, interested to hear what your other readers’ thoughts are!

    Secondly, thanks for saying I’m hilarious (even though this comment was so not hilarious…). 🙂

    Much love!


Leave a Reply

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 )

Connecting to %s