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A little while after Charlie died, a girl I volunteered with at the Ronald McDonald House shared her idea with me about the grieving process. She had lost her 5 year old to Cancer a few years earlier so she had experience and was already a member of the “Moms of Angels” club.

She said grieving was much like a rock in your shoe.

And you can’t get it out. Can’t take the shoe off and shake it out. It is there and always will be.

At first it cuts into your heel and ball of your foot causing you to bleed and be in pain. Then after a little while, you can wiggle it around and get it into a spot where you can’t feel it too much.

But every now and then something will happen and make that rock get under the heel of your foot – causing you to bleed and be in pain. So you go through life with this rock in your shoe that sometimes causes you a lot of pain and sometimes is just “there”.

I thought that was very interesting at the time. And now I know that it is very true.

I attended a visitation for a friend’s stepdad about 5 years later at the funeral home where Charlie was. I remember our visitation almost too vividly. I remember greeting hundreds of people (seriously, like 500) – local friends and friends who had driven several hours or had flown in for our 24-day old baby’s funeral. It was very humbling. I had been in that room for various visitations over the last 5 years with very little pain. But tonight for some reason when I walked in the room, I felt physically ill. Like I might throw up. I remember feeling that way the first time I went in the church where we had his service (my home church) and that morning they just happened to have a baptism and sang “Jesus Loves Me”. Again, I felt physically ill.

You never know what is going to trigger one of those “Moments” and the moment might not make you cry and get all emotional or anything, but it puts a knot in your stomach and makes your hands shake and just makes you feel that rock in your shoe.

But I’ll be able to wiggle it back out of the way and go for a little while until it decides to get under my heel again. This is how we are able to go on.