love makes us whole

When I was in second grade I wrote a story about a little girl who was happy all day long.  The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming and she was smiling. The End.

My seven year old self wished for that storyline. To be honest, my present day self sometimes wishes for that storyline.

But real life doesn’t work this way. Pain and joy are inseparable parts of the journey. Until I allow myself to feel the discomfort of pain, I can’t experience rich joy and deep love.

I used to think I was in control and I could keep pain away.  In the days following David’s birth, I was devastated. We didn’t expect to have a child with a severe disability–but even if we’d known, how can one prepare for this kind of pain?  I remember in those early days after David’s birth, I cried tears that seemed to come from the depths of my soul. I remember feeling physical pain in my chest as I wept. There was no escaping grief. It surrounded us and filled the room. Pain was in the air we were breathing. But slowly, over weeks and months, it began to dissipate. It’s not gone completely, but it’s not overwhelming.

These days, if I’m open to letting the dark sadness and anger creep in, I find it’s doesn’t make itself too comfortable. It moves through me and and then moves on. Sometimes it stays longer than I would like, but it doesn’t take up residence in my heart. And once it leaves I’m surprised to find genuine joy. Somehow, there is more room in my heart for gratefulness.

love makes us whole

While none of us would wish for pain

Pain makes us tender

Tenderness nurtures compassion

Compassion helps us forgive

Forgiveness teaches grace

Grace gives us hope

Hope makes us brave

Bravery enables us to love

Love makes us whole


  1. I love your love for your boys, and the honesty you speak of it. I have one son…he’s an only child, and the ” light of my life “. He’s a young man (39), but will always be my ” baby.” I have your rings and they will never come off. Thank you for your wonderful words… Mary J.

  2. you are an inspiration to many …you are a great writer as well as artist and creator and most importantly, mother. Be proud that you are strong for your boys and your self but know you bring peace and great words of wisdom to others out there. Keep writing !

  3. I’ve been in that place where I wish for a happy life. But, over the years I’ve realized pain and hardship make life meaningful and rich. They help us grow, become tender and reach out to others.

  4. I love this. Although I don’t have a special needs child, I know the pain of grief. We lost or son suddenly, weeks before his 3rd birthday. I just heard someone talk about how you reach a point where you have to search out the beauty in your pain or you are overwhelmed by dispair. I love how you tracked the progress from pain to love…

  5. Well said, and felt by me when I gave birth to my son with a disability.
    Funny how something that starts out so scary and unknown becomes your soft happy place to fall.

    We, as Mothers are walking the same walk, let’s enjoy each priceless moment.

    I love your words,


  6. I love reading your posts. I wish I could put into words all the pain I carry. I had a son, I watched him die 6 years ago from leukemia. Also I love my ring, and I just ordered a mothers bracelet. Can’t wait to get it. Thank you .

  7. Hi Lisa,
    My cousin Sarah has been following your blog for a while now and the whole entire time she never knew how helpful this blog would be for me her own cousin. Just this December I gave birth to a son with Cornelia De Lange. At 37 weeks my perfect pregnancy turned into a true nightmare with fear of the unknown and the most severe pain in my heart that I had never known before. I cried as I read your blog when you described preparing for your son and then the scare at delivery. I felt like I was reading my own story. My heart still hurts and is heavy but the joy my son already has shown me in these short three months has masked that pain. I have entered into the journey of being a special needs parents and I’m starting to embrace it. Your blog has been so uplifting. Thank you

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