Sunday, June 29, 2008



...diddly pum...


...diddly pum...


...diddly pum...


...diddly pum...


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Field

This post should probably come with a warning. I NEED to post about this I never ever forget...and its rattling around in my mind and I need the rattling to stop. So...if you don't want to read about the car and the field it is lying in...don't read this post. The time I spent in the field with the car however...was incredibly powerful and healing for me.
This is picture of Gary and Kim's car before...well. Before.

This is picture of Gary and Kim's car as it sits in the field now. Although now...its been prodded and poked and we've been through it. Its seems...cleaner now to me.

It's a good 200 yards off of the highway. They had pulled off at a little semi circle rest stop. It was surrounded by huge trees. The first time we stopped was...odd to see the HUGE trees laying on their side with roots dangling all around. And RIGHT across the highway was another huge line of trees. And I first imagined them flying around in the air and getting slammed into the wheat field. But they actually...I have no doubt...were slammed through the line of trees. And pretty much the car exploded in those trees...and slammed through some fence posts...and the bounced through the field a little to the right.

To me...each time I stand there looking at the tree line and the field and the car...I KNOW they never made it past the first tree...they were already home. That has incredible peace bringing power for me. That peace opens joy for their celebration at home...and a respite from the pain...and permission to simply enjoy who there were...even looking at the things they had in the car.

The first time we went through the field...we went with Crystal the RWR. I'm so glad they went with us. RWR said, "This is the most unique experience of my life, and I will NEVER forget it." That's pretty much true. As much it was horrific finding red pieces of that car all over in those trees (its like the car exploded) was also like a treasure hunt...finding the last pieces. Silly? Maybe. But everything we found became precious...and I had a hard time throwing even the yucky things away.

Here is a list of the things we found the first time: (after the authorities and Kim's parents had already returned a fair amount of things to us)

--A Deck of Cards strewn under a bush (for playing Power Uno--I smiled when I saw them)
--Netflix DVD's and envelopes (where they watching a movie on the laptop?)
--A book of crossword puzzles (soaked of course)
--Papers about their wedding rings
--Kim's 888 reading challenge books (Karen Kingsbury and Jane Austin)
--Scrapbooking stickers (including camo letters)
--Addy's birthday present (a smashed High School Musical trashcan)
--Gun clips and shells
--Shaving cream, diabetic vitamins (Gary's), razors, lotions, fingernail polish, hand sanitizer
--Kim's sunglasses (pink and broken)
--Gary's shoes (which I HATE are still sitting there...but what should we do with them?)
--Flashlight, pliers, and a homemade rope
--A cooler with peanut brittle in it...wrapped around a barb-wire fence
--A box with Kim's handwriting on it
--A shattered plastic box and note cards she was bringing me
--An instruction booklet for my camera
--A Bear for Little Major
--Lots of pieces of the car, an intact door handle (I have saved for special project), headlight, springs, trunkhood (found another 150 yards away)
--A big nail file in Kim's seat (I saved that one for my project too)
--A pack of thank you notes still in the plastic wrap (I saved those too)
--A destroyed purse type bad
--A really nice bag (Kim's bag...that I have saved and washed and have hanging in my kitchen)

And the big finds made that trip:
--Kim's glasses (Crystal pulled them out of a tree)
--A camo baby shoe for Little Major (I think RWR found that)

It was such a odd thing to do...pulling their stuff out of the brambles and bushes and trees...but so good find pieces of their lives. And RWR mentioned how it was oddly beautiful out there. And it WAS peacefully beautiful out there in a field of golden wheat against a blue sky surrounded by green trees.

Last week the Kernel went out and found Kim's Bible and a Notebook.

And this time...I made a big find.
--Kim's cell phone. I found it lying open under a tree. It is sooo precious to me. I called her twice that morning before we found out. I know that somewhere inside its ruined an information chip holding that call. I love it.

Neal pulled the homemade rope off of the car to take home to Dad. And I also found the piece of the car that I think my door handle fits in. It has a key hole and everything. I kept it too.

And the Kernel didn't pick up Kim's notebook because...well...he's a boy. I picked it up because she was planning out her blog in it...and talking about some of her struggles. It's precious to me.

And THIS time...I noticed that the seat belts were still buckled. Wow.

I love the car. I wish it could stay there forever...its the last place they were...a monument to their story. I hate that is has to be moved. But Neal disagrees and can't wait for the insurance company to come and get it.

As I was saying goodbye to the car (how silly is say goodbye to a car)...I tucked Gary's shoes into his seat. I found myself wishing for a can of spray paint to write "I love you" on that car. I settled for writing on the VIN sticker. I wrote "I love you Gary and Kim. I miss you. Bye."

And then I sobbed all the way out of the field back to our car. I wanted to take it home. :)

And then we went to the graves. This was much harder for Neal than me. I cried at the car...he cried when we had to leave the cemetery. I buried a few things from the nieces into the sunken corner of Gary's grave...and we removed the old yucky flowers and put new ones on. (And Laura...if you made it this should know I put some flowers on your mom's stone too. I miss her too. And when Neal said he hated to leave them alone...I reminded him that your mom was there to take care of them. Again with the silly...but I can't help it.)

And now I have a brand new set of chigger bites to deal with. I'm sure I'm leaving things out (like the silly outfits we all wore the first time we went through the field)...but I'm all out of words now.

I loved them.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

field day

Today I made my second trek out to Gary and Kim's car. And my first trip back to their graves.

I am emotionaly spent...but I want to post about this I won't ever forget.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I had a pretty ok day today. I had a few moments of hearbreak, but mostly felt stable. I will be visiting the graves and hopefully the car one more time tomorrow.

My day ended with my whole family snuggling on our amazing new furniture from Sally. Life is short. Eat it up. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What a day.

Grief looks and feels like a major Rollercoaster.

My Day:

9amish: I got up and spent my morning feeling very nervous about someone from our church coming to visit with me about grief.
11amish: Relief that said person was kind and compassionate and willing to listen and endured silences sometimes.
12:30pm: I was feeling pretty good about the support I had recieved this morning.
2:30pmish: I was ELATED when I got a call from my wonderful friend Meshellyn saying she would be stopping by for a visit! I hadn't seen her and her amazingly sweet and beautiful baby girl
in over a year. I miss her so much was so awesome to see her.
6:00ish: Out of nowhere...I was suddenly FURIOUS that I don't have Gary and Kim. I was furious at the unfairness of it all. I am FURIOUS that the rest of the world is continuing on...and I can't.
7:00ish: I was feeling so horribly sad and burdened that I will miss them forever. How can you miss someone everyday. It seems so awful to have to miss them everyday.

And somewhere inbetween all those emotions

--Ellie kicked over our little table that they eat at. The table had their dinner plates on it with meat, potatos, green beans, and watermelon. And ketchup. It was a good thing Neal was home at that point.
--Addy dropped a bowl of ice cream in the kitchen.
--My super kind friend L shot me a text message saying that she loved me and was thinking about me.
--My parents made a visit...telling me about a house they may be buying.
--I did a lot of reading online about phases of grief.

Whew. I am spent.

Neal will be home in about 90 minutes...thank goodness...I'm ready to be done with today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This is soooo fun!

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy
Create your own family sticker graphic at


I changed my font at

for Laura

This is Lalita Tademy. She wrote this AMAZING book called Cane River. It details the story of 4 generations of black women (in her own family) living in Lousiana during slavery. She did some AMAZING research and did an amazing job of piecing together the lives of these women. These women were her women and her family and her blood. Amazing stories. I didn't want to let go of the book when I handed it back to Neal to return to the library.

And since Laura seems to have a deeply rooted need to see pictures of the authors I read...I have included her picture.

I am continuing on in my 888 challenge...I have finished several books not included here. I will finish my list in honor of Kim...who was in the middle of her own 888 challenge...and I pulled two books she was working on out of a tree in the field.

I cannot finish the one I was reading when she died...more about that another time.

Life Lesson Learned (learning) #6

Being loved is hard. Asking for help is hard.

I had a major meltdown this weekend. I spent about 20 minutes (awful minutes) waffling between asking for help or not. I finally did...and after I sent out my SOS I feel so much better. I got some much much much needed help on my house...finally uttered that I still really wasn't able to cook or plan meals...and that I'm just still on the edge of functionality. Is that a word??? :) I don't know.

I was so thankful that Laura shared with me in a comment that she had to let someone come and vacuum her floors and that she felt like saying I can handle it...but the truth was she really couldn't. Ah...thank you for giving me permission to say I really can't handle it either.

It's horrible to open wide your door while standing in a puddle of toys and laundry and dishes and dirty underwear and let someone swoop in and fix it. Its hard to accept the help and love...but once you choose to let go of your pride -- you just get blessed.

My amazing friend Miss May has been unbelievably helpful to me. In so many ways that are so painfully precious that I can't even start to list all the ways here. But right now...she has cleaned most of my house, done my laundry, let me shower, made sure I ate, helped through Father's Day, comforted, and even went grocery shopping for me. Knowing that I can stand in front of full fridge not knowing what to do with it...she left me a list of things I could do with the food she brought over. How AMAZING is that!!!! She has also rallied the troops so more help is coming.

She encouraged me to share my emotional vomit with the rest of my small group...who immediately responded with compassion and love for both me and Neal...and I am feeling so much better. And much more in control of my domain and my grieving messy self.

So...I guess I have learned it would have been much more painful and awful to choose to not be loved...than to chose to be loved. Isn't that do HAVE to CHOOSE to be loved sometimes. Oh...its hard. But so worth the risk.

And I'm praying that after this is...over (?) I will be able to know just what someone else in a situation like this might need. It's like...wanting to be a tool for the Lord...but having to be on the anvil. The heat, beating, and shaping are really awful...but being a purposed tool on the other side just might be worth it.

And .. can I just say that I MISS Gary and Kim sooooooo much. I listened to Gary's recording today on Crystal's machine...and I just...miss them. I miss them. It is the weirdest thing in the world...knowing they are in heaven...their bodies are in those caskets in those vaults...under THAT earth. How bizarre.

This is a picture of Gary on their Honeymoon. Oh I miss him. (And creeps me out a little that this picture could just as easily be Neal. They looked so much alike...walked alike...stood alike. When I think about our extended is like feeling Neal is half of something that used to be whole.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cover your ears. :)

Can I be honest?...ok...good.

Today I just feel like screaming. And I considered going out into the back acres on my parents property and screaming like a crazy person. Until I realized it is not my throat that wants to scream. Its my spirit. My very ... most... deep? self. It wants to scream. And maybe it is...which I why I am having such a hard time lately.

I cried most of the early morning.

I want to scream for my brother. I want to scream for my lost summer. I want to scream for my mind to i can match a pair of socks in less than 15 min. I want to scream for the phone call I won't be receiving on my birthday. I want to scream for the seats that will be empty at the Hamm Bash. (How will I EVER make it through it that weekend? It seems unbearable. How did you do it that first year, Laura?) I want to scream for the lost comments on my blog and e-mails in my inbox. I want to scream for my patience to return.

I saw a magazine cover talking about "Easy Summer Living." I wanted to rip if off and throw it away...with a scream.

The question I hate most right "How is your summer???" The fact I can't bubble over with the fun things I had planned makes me want to scream.

I want to scream for everything else to stop until I get it together.

Most of all I want to scream for my little girl...who has equated storms with death for her or someone she loves...and just about can't handle the CRAZY weather we are having. I want to scream for her sudden and awful ability to read the radar--and for the moment when she pointed to Pratt and said, "That is where Kim and Gary died." I want to scream for her fear. It just isn't right she has to sort that out in her little mind. I'm mega irrational with the weather ... how unfair for my kiddo to have to deal with that. HOW UNFAIR!!!!!!!!

Having said all that...I'm so glad that I have a God who has ears and a heart big enough to hear me screaming. And then doesn't need to scream back. How good is that. I was thinking about Hagar. And how she was left in an awful situation...and God said..."I see you." I'm thinking about Him saying, "Jayme...I hear you."

Monday, June 9, 2008

Addy's Birthday Pt. 1

In the midst of all the craziness and ickiness of the last few weeks...Addy turned 6 on Saturday.

(How can THAT be???? She should be about 3...and Ellie should still be a baby!)

I thought I would never be able to pull off a party...but I did.

Addy chose to dress up as movie stars and take a few friends to the new movie "Kung Fu Panda." (Which I thought was a wonderful movie and is one of my new fave movies. I'll buy it when it comes out.) Then we came back from the theater and had cake and ice cream. It was such a fun day...and I think Addy had a blast and seemed to really enjoy seeing her friends!

Here is Addy in her "Movie Star" outfit...complete with what we call "hairbops."

And of course Ellie wanted in on the fun!

And my mom being the amazing mom she is made THIS awesomely cool cake. She used to make these panda cakes for me when I was a kid...but took the time and effort to give this panda some really cool Kung Fu pants. How fun is that! The kids loved it!!!!

Here is Addy and her buddy Maddy. Aren't they cute!

And here is Maddy, Addy, and "The Boy." He is "just a friend" as I've been told over and over...but I think they are really good friends. He gave Addy a super special birthday bear from Build-a-bear that he picked out and built himself. He is a really good kid. :)

Here is a fun picture of everyone after seeing "Kung Fu Panda" with Wall-E.

After the super fun party at our house...we drove over to Sally's for a family dinner. Stay tuned for Pt. 2. :)

Life Lessons Learned #5

I have learned that I knew absolutely NOTHING about grief or death. I thought that by now I would be able to post like...10 really important things I have learned about grief. While...I probably have learned 10 things...I have mostly learned I knew NOTHING about it and I am really struggling through it.

Here is something though I found signifigant about grief. First, you think that it will NEVER happen to you and that if it could NEVER live through it. You could never handle it. Like when I heard about Steven Curtis Chapman losing his daughter...I thought..."How sad...I could NEVER live through that."

Oh yes you can. And you do. There really isn't a choice. Yes...all those painful things you think about not being able to going through a loved ones clothes, their last letter, realizing you have a hotel booked for them for some upcoming thing...oh live through it. And it sucks. And it just about as painful as you would imagine.

I didn't know this. I think this will eventually make me more compassionate to others who are grieving. I can't handle anyone else grief at the moment...I'm all full up of ickiness. But later on...I can see understanding and not just, "I couldn't live through that"...which now seems the silliest thing to think to me.

And I keep finding new layers of grief to live through. Like when Millie and Wayland came back from working on cleaning out Kim and Gary's house...they walked in the door with this photo blown up and framed.
I know it isn't the best picture...but I was taking a picture of a know?
But after the tornado...Kim's family found their digital camera...but couldn't get it to work. When it finally got dried out and now it does work. And they were taking pictures of the storm they were in.
UGGGGGG...that just rips through my heart even sitting here! I dissolved into tears when I saw it and it took my a good while to gain control of my emotions again...although the now familiar wet coat of grief seemed heaver than normal for the rest of the evening.
The scripture on it says, Nahum 1:3 -- The Lord displays his power in the whirlwind and the storm.
I need a heart transplant. :) Mine hurts.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Life Lessons Learned #4 and Gratituesday

God is big and infinate. But at the same time he is personal and sooo tender. And he holds our fragile little lives in his hands...

...and he did something for me that has just...blown my mind. He gave me a gift there is no other way it could have been...but for God to know loooong before May 23rd what was to happen and what I would need.

Kim was bringing me a digital camera. And I was sooooooo excited to be able to put pictures on my blog. And everyone knew it.

When I heard about the of the first million thoughts was about the camera being lost to the tornado. And one of the first things Sally and I talked about that morning we found out was the camera.

Me: So much for the camera.
Sally: You never know. You might get it yet.

I doubted that even if it was would work...or that Kim's family would know it was meant for me.

But -- believe it or not -- Kim's mom walked in with a very muddy camera case with a working camera inside...saying "Here is the camera Kim was bringing for Jayme."

I immediatly started sobbing and announced I wanted to find a "store" where I could trade in the camera for Kim. Holding that camera in my hand hurt. Such a precious blessing...but such a painful blessing too.

But there were no cords or power cables. No biggie...I can always order one.

EXCEPT. I prayed specfically for God to reveal his tenderness to me.

One of my small group friends invited me over to go swimming. When I had arrived in her kitchen--

L: Hey...I have something for you. But you can't cry. I don't want to cry.
Me: Ok. *starting to sniffle*
L: Did you get your digital camera?
Me: Actually...I did.
L: Oh...I was going to give you this one.
Me: ****GASP***** That is the SAME EXACT CAMERA I got from Kim!!!!!! Except I don't have the these.
L: You can have them. They have just been sitting here in this cabinet.
Me: *crying* How can that be!!!!!!!!!! How can that be you just have these sitting here waiting for me!!!!!!!!
L: Don't cry...I don't have waterproof mascara on.
Me: But...God put them there!
L: We always use J's camera...this one of mine just sits in here.

Isn't that amazing? God held life and time and people and space and relationships all his hand long before May 23rd. And he took the time and thought to show me such tenderness by placing that cord in her cabinet for me.

Ohhh...he is soooo good. I love how Laura (the hostess with the mostess for Gratituesday) talked on her blog about how God equals our biggest pain with his biggest comforts.

Amazing. And in honor of the gift from Kim and the are my first bloggy pictures from the new camera. :)

One day in my grief all I could do was help the girls paint.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

2 sad things for today

1. Today would have been Gary's 34 birthday. I have his card sitting here with me. Its going into the "Gary and Kim" box I am making. Along with a red door handle I pulled out of tree, one of Kim's sweaters, her nail file I found on the floor of the passenger side seat, a baggy of wheat from the field that I pulled out of Little Major's onsies, a "Blue Day" book she gave me, and other things.

2. There won't ever be any more of Kim's comments on my blog. And even though I know they are gone, and I really stopped expecting them to walk up, and I really feel the finality of their death...I still look a little for her comments and jokes on my posts. just hurts. I miss her.

Hey Meshellyn

Remember one and Sara and I were walking in the mall and

Meshellyn: know how you sing when you talk?
Me: ahahahahhaha yeah?
Meshellyn: Well J was making fun of me because I started doing that like you.
Me: (In a sing song voice) I *love* to *sing* my words. Starbucks last night

Lady on the Speaker: (In a sing song voice) HeLLOOO. WelCOME to STAAAAARbucks!!!! Whaaaaat can IIIIII get youuuuuuuuuuuuu?
People in our car: *giggling and giggling* A blah blah blah (I don't drink coffee-I'm not sure what the actual order was)
Lady: Whaaaat SIIIIZe??
People in our car: *giggling louder* Grande
Lady: Thaaaaank yoooooou. Please pull uuuuuuuuuuuuuup.
People: *laughing*

Lady on the Speaker to the car behind us: (In a sing song voice) HeLLOOO. WelCOME to STAAAAARbucks!!!! Whaaaaat can IIIIII get youuuuuuuuuuuuu?
People: Wow...she did it again!

She made me laugh so hard...and was a great example of my not wasting five minutes rule. How cool she was injecting joy into something so routine as taking coffee orders.

Life Lessons Learned #3

Tell People What They Mean to You.

I'm gonna say that again in case you didn't hear it.

Tell People What They Mean to You.

Tell People what you need to say. Never let "I never did tell them...." be something you have to think or say. Never let "They never knew" be a part of your vocabulary.

And always always listen when God tells you need to send a card or make a phone call.

I've always known this a little. But having someone suddenly ripped out of your life makes you KNOW this on a whole different level.

Things I need to tell people:

I need to tell Millie that I think she WAS a good mom to Neal.
I need to tell my Dad I love him more.
I need to tell me kids more how unconditional my love for them is.
I need to tell Neal more how proud I am of how hard he works for us.
I need to tell RWR how hard I prayed for him when he was helping the two families make decisions about burial plans. He diffused a lot of tension I think and I was sooooo proud and grateful and thankful for his Godly man-ness in that situation.
I need to tell April how much her walking through my grief with me has blessed me. Its not fair she has had to carry so much...but she does anyway.
I need to tell Neal how afraid I am that I will lose him in my grief.
I need to keep telling the Lord how much I need him to be sufficient for me.

I did get to tell Kim I loved her. There are NO words to describe this.

I want to scream this from the street corners. Love your families, share in small group, be open with your friends, unveil your hearts to the Lord.

Live so that if you were told you only had 3 months to'd only be repeating yourself in the calls, letters, and notes you'd want to make.