Waiting on kindergarten.

So..Has anyone else been looking through the Facebook posts to see if people spelled Kindergarten with a “d” or a “t”? Come on.. I didn’t find any and then I thought, I must have smart friends. LOL.

Okay, well I was thinking that and also…What would Walker look like on his first day of school? I’m going to be honest that I glossed over the fb pictures of the boys his age. It’s still hard to see other little boys his age.

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Walker and Andy’s coolguy secret handshake. 

He would be starting kindergarten(check it, I got it right )if he never got sick and I am so appreciative of the people who sent a sweet little text to let me know that they remember  what our “normal” lives would have been up to..if things didn’t change.. and that today might be a little difficult.

 

Little milestones like this have their power of tossing me back into the what ifs and how did this all happen?…I take the moment and feel it and then pull back into the present. Thankfully God has given me some things to do to take my mind off of the enormity of losing Walker’s life on earth.

Planning photography sessions and getting back into that world has been consuming. My cousins are staying with us for a few weeks while they move to Atlanta, close on their old home and have a baby! Weston is getting ready to start 4-year-old preschool in 2 weeks and Andy has started doing some baseball stuff on the side..

It’s been an incredibly hot summer to where I don’t remember what it is like to not sweat at all points in the day. I’ve questioned if it might ever end. Did the rapture happen? Have I been left behind and the earth is slowly turning into a volcano before the New earth arrives???

I’ve found myself missing the coolness of the hospitals and sweatpants in the summer. As strange as it sounds, the nurses and environment they create in the PICU ,make you feel like family. And I’ve missed them! Of course… in real life, I never want to go there again for what it means …but maybe God will give us a cooler Fall and for the love of leggings and North Face bring an early winter… And snow. I need some snow. I’ve got a snowman kit that hasn’t been cracked in two years. It’s just inhumane to not give him a life.

But back in the armpit of the South.. Columbia. I’ve been wanting to tell the story of how Walker got AutoImmune Encephalitis from my current perspective and without all of the craziness of living in that time.. Because the reality of what happened and if it can be prevented for other children is ALWAYS on my mind. Having a normally progressing life and then having an abstract illness take your child’s life leaves a whirlwind of questions..

A lot of you have asked, What exactly happened? And I told the story on our caring bridge page while we were experiencing it here…But through the journey looking for answers on how to help him gain his life back and how this could have happened..I have learned so much about food, Cannabis Oil, Effects of Medicine, Vaccines, Genetic variances and funerals, than I thought relevant.

I’ve learned that the Eastern and Western world of medicine are extremely different and there is a serious gap of overlap. I’ve learned to trust my instincts over what others think is best and when to trust God over myself. I want to explain it all.. So humor me over the next few weeks as I put information out there in the Interweb-oblivion. Not sure that’s a word.. but hopefully you feel me, on what I’ve learned and summarize some questions I have received from many of you.

Next up will be ..How it all started… Until then.. Thank you for sharing your pictures and life with those that are longing for what we had but also so grateful for what we have left and for what is to come..

 

 

 

 

Photography Love.

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So.. Long ago, began a passion for photography. It started in high school with Mrs. Pouncey and a desire to hold an office in an after school club. Lame , I know. I was historian. What does that even mean?

It means I started learning the history of photography and just fell in love with photographing people and places. I ended up as an art major at Clemson. I was three years in and not sure what I was actually going to do with an art degree.. So I transferred to Carolina to get a degree in Art Education and focus in photography. After graduation, I moved to Charleston to teach high school photography and art. It was dark room and film back then folks. That’s the real stuff. I miss the excitement of opening a film canister to see the the roll unwind with images if done correctly. I miss the darkroom and getting the exposure of a print just right in the chemical baths. It was exciting and I loved it. But I loved the idea of being a mom more and so I redirected my path..

So I started taking pictures of families and weddings and places in Charleston and soon had a little photography business going. It was awesome. Then motherhood came and a move to Columbia and another baby.. And there went my business. My love affair with pictures and art always stayed but the time was gone to do it.

Starting a new stage in my life and finding more time to focus on things that I love has allowed me to start up by little business again.. I love capturing candid raw moments, enjoying spending moments in other peoples lives and giving them a part of themselves from my prospective. I look forward to sharing my gift of photographing and creating some beautiful new memories.

I’ll be posting all my shoots on my Karie Phillips Photography page and booking mini sessions for the fall soon! Email me at Karie2254@gmail.com if you are interested!

Heavenly Inspiration, Real World Application.

Never before has their been a time that I have relied on God and his community as much as I have since July of 2014..I’ve always loved God and believed in his son Jesus. I’ve always wanted to serve him and please him and go to heaven. But always wasn’t really everyday .. always wasn’t really all the time. ..always was more when it fit into my schedule..when I wasn’t doing anything else,..always was more if my way didn’t work.. always was more like when I was broken ..always was getting close but then figuring it out alone..until my ways became His ways..always..when your child is unexpectedly ill , I definitely…you know that your ways aren’t as strong as His ways…I couldn’t do anything, even the little things without activating my always in Him, everyday..

It’s weird when something you’ve said your whole life, Suddenly takes on a new meaning. It’s all I have, my trust in God..everything else until now was leading up to the moment of proof. I could stay broken or be used to help share his story and Gods glory…

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today. 2 Samuel 16:12

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.2 Corinthians 4:15

This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God. Zechariah 13:9

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But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.

Through all this , we have had two churches and communities stand beside us..

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new song in my mouth

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

Losing a child, as I write this, seeing those three words don’t even seem like my reality. It never stops surprising me that this has actually happened.

Losing a child is like hitting the reset button on your life. It stops all your forward motion and you stand still while the world continues around you. I have spent time reliving his life and how all this came to be. I find myself stuck on what happened before he was born that has made this all more harder to move past. Six years ago, we struggled through infertility. I spent those days longing for a child and dreaming of what my life would be like if I could only be pregnant.

I explained this more in my last post about how we were able to get and stay pregnant. What I did not share was how I felt through that time and the parallels that are coming forth as we mourn Walker’s passing.  Anyone that has ever been down the road of infertility, knows exactly how hard it is to not be pregnant…

It seems like your entire world centers around getting pregnant, having babies and being a mother. It’s difficult to be in the stage of waiting and wanting a child. I have to be honest and say that when we were going through this period of life, I found little satisfaction in anything else. I wanted to be a mother and couldn’t understand why it wasn’t happening. Didn’t God want this for me? Did we not pray enough? Was this punishment for not being “good enough”? It was all I thought about. Looking back, I see how short 2 years of wanting actually was but in that moment, I thought it would never happen.

Six years later, I can’t believe we’ve had two children and three miscarriages and then the death of our first child.

I have been experiencing the memory of the longings I had before I was pregnant and it has helped develop this amazing and also hard to swallow parallel of the two struggles. My desperation for a child and my devastation of losing that child has led me to recognize that children don’t complete your life. I know. Fill in the blank of children if that isn’t your struggle but bear with me here.

The longing of being a mother and having it fulfilled was the most wonderful and incredible experience I have had in my entire 35 years of life. I feel like becoming a mother redefined what it meant to be a woman. There are secrets that mothers have amongst each other that makes it the most sacred club to be apart of.

But,

Sitting here, six years after that longing and now feeling the losing of that dream. I am no more complete because I have become a mother. I am no more satisfied with myself then I was then.

I am changed but not complete.

I remember having an epiphany in the hospital when Walker got sick. I felt like the world was ending with the possibility of his death. Then I realized that this happened to him and not me. Until that thought, I realized that I had identified us as one. You do that as a mother. You physically feel the pain of what happens to your children. That is the glorious gift/curse of experiencing motherhood, it teaches you how to love others more than you ever thought possible but to the point of experiencing their pain as well.

“For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

Motherhood changed me but what I wish someone would have told me is that your circumstances don’t define you. Being a mother won’t fill you. Being pregnant won’t fill you. All of the cute monogrammed outfits won’t fill you. (well, a little but it won’t last) There is nothing to fill that void you feel except Jesus. Cliché but it’s TRUTH.

I loved Jesus so much back then but still allowed my mind to be consumed to the point of misery because I didn’t have what I wanted. I did this again after Walker died. I didn’t have my son. I didn’t have what I had longed for anymore. He was gone and so was my sense of who I was. Because, until this point in my life. My definition of who I am had become getting married, having children and raising them.  And who am I now that this child is gone?

We can’t define ourselves based on having what we want because what happens when it goes away ? As everything eventually will.. That much is promised to us .

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar, and elements will be dissolved, burning with heat, and the earth and the works in it will not be found.” 2 Peter 3:10

All of this will go away!

Maybe not in the order that I have experienced. I feel like my lesson has been learned at a much faster rate then you normally learn when a child leaves your home for school or work or marriage. I’m sure that at the point all mothers who defined themselves by their children are left feeling like, now what?

I am saying that we can definitely delight in all these blessings of motherhood and pregnancy but not to allow these moments to define our happiness and worth in this life. I thought this was just being a good mom. I thought not having any other desires but to raise children was sacrificial. Uh.. Really?  Yes, I did and I know I’m not alone. Check out all the moms who have depression and anxiety after having children because they don’t “feel” the way they think or thought they would feel after fulfilling their hearts desire.

I totally felt unfufilled after my second child and remember thinking “How can I feel sad? I have everything that I ever wanted.” That’s because it is not meant to fill us.

Take hold of whatever stage of life we are in and allow it be enough. Allow it to be enough because our joy comes from the Lord. I find that if that does not ring true, “My joy comes from the Lord..” then my focus needs to shift from myself to seeking that simple truth. Nothing here of my own efforts will bring me the joy that I seek. The Lord alone gives that.

The desires of our heart .. Know where I am going with this? But what about the desires of our heart that God has promised to satisfy? He will give you those if you’re praying for His desires to be yours.  I wanted several children and definitely a little girl. That hasn’t happened yet and it may not in the way that I created in my mind but my joy comes from the Lord, not in him giving me what I want.

I am choosing to remove the provisions that I put on what my life should look like and just be present and allow God to use me where I am. If that means serving other families that I thought I was destined for or praying for the crowds of children in the neighborhood or praying that God would use the quiet of our house to please him. I pray that he will change my heart when I feel sad that I don’t have what I want and instead remind me that my circumstances don’t define me.

Focus on the good and on allowing the path that we are all on to be pleasing to Him. I am devastated that Walker is not here and it was awful going through infertility and miscarriages but it is through these trials and disappointments that God is allowing me to truly become the steward that He desires for His kingdom. And isn’t that the bigger goal? To be used for his glory. I’ve drawn encouragement from this scripture below. I pray that God will sustain those of you struggling and that he does give you the life you seek but for me… “He has put a new song in my mouth…” I love that and pray that those in this same stage of suffering can be encouraged and that my words are not meant to take away your pain but as an offering of hope.

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a NEW song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. ” Psalm 40:2-5


   

 

 

One block at a time.

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There have been a lot of Legos in the past three months. Big Legos. Little Legos.

Eggo my Lego.

We’ve watched Bricksburg, The Lego Movie and these weird B Lego Movies that Weston loves. We play with cool Lego people, build houses, spaceships and cars.

I’ve started working out again which has been amazing to get me up and going for the day..Things are going better as far as participating in the daily rituals of summer and trying to take ownership in my life again. I feel a numbness to what has happened but also hope that our life can move on and we can develop a new dream of what life will look like.

But I’ve been struggling to find purpose without Walker. Being a mom to two children was physically more demanding and time consuming. I knew what I did each day. Even though Walker had been sick for two years, I was still hoping that things would go back to normal.

How do you accept that things aren’t going to be the way you thought they were? How do you give birth to a person that isn’t here to grow up? I know I’m not alone in that question..I know there are bigger problems right now. Our world is in chaos. But I find myself wondering what I am supposed to do now?

I have all the christian answers but in real life, How do I make a new dream? Does having more children give me more purpose? Isn’t Weston’s life enough? Andy’s? Mine? Why do more people make being a mom feel like it is more fulfilling? IMG_3931

I’ve found my mind struggling to answer these questions. Truthfully the answers aren’t pretty. I’ve separated myself from relationships that are too much energy and clung to those that are positive and uplifting. I just want a clear space to wander through what happens next.

I never really had any career aspirations. I wanted to be married and have children. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like teaching or being a photographer.. I did..I just wanted to pour into my children and build them up for God more. I felt like that was my career.

I’ve faced the thought of not having a family before. We were newlyweds and not getting pregnant. Two years later and no baby. I went to a fertility specialist in Charleston to have something called the “Dye Test” or Hysterosalpingogram. (Yes I had to google the spelling).

I had our family doctor suggest this over the typical steps they take with hormone drugs and testing. The test told us immediately that there was a problem. I had a uterine septum which was not allowing me to maintain a pregnancy. A few weeks later, I had a surgery to rectify the problem. But then was told with fertility treatments that I only had a 4% chance of conceiving. Awesome.

So.. Andy and I agreed we’d pray and do the Daniel Fast. 21 days later, I was pregnant.

Crazy. Normal pregnancy. Normal delivery. Normal child. 12 months later, I was pregnant with Weston. Three miscarriages and 22 months later, Walker was sick and here we are.

I will tell you that the feelings you have when you can’t conceive and when you see others with children the same age that Walker would be, well it’s a very similar feeling . There is this longing to have this family that seems unattainable. Infertility is hard. Death was harder. But both are surmountable. Both can lead to new beginnings and new dreams..

Just getting there, that time in between what you want and what you have. That time makes you feel like your world is just going to end. There is no way around  ignoring that things are very different now. IMG_3912

Having one child is glorious and rewarding and well, I marvel in all that Weston does. I know friends that would be satisfied with the blessing of one child! I am trying so hard to be content with Wes and our little family. It takes all that I have to try and do this everyday. I feel anger and sadness all at the same time on why he had to die. On why any child should lose their life. It doesn’t make sense. I’ve had some really rough thoughts about God allowing this to happen. I think that’s normal but I don’t like thinking that the God of the Universe could have saved him but didn’t.

Where do you go with that thought? Nowhere. There is no christian or sweet euphemism that will ever give me my child back or make me feel like this is okay. It’s not.

I don’t have poetic words to make this right. I choose to believe something that I don’t always feel is true. But it’s all I have. The hope of faith in our God and his promise to make all things right. Until then, I just have to get a new dream. I’m asking God to give me a new dream. I don’t know if I can handle trying for more children. Fear of what can happen is too great right now. Until I hear clearly from God what I am supposed to do, I’m just going to focus on Wes and Andy and whatever I feel called to participate in. God is working here and I am just going to join in until my dream is made clear. IMG_4007

It’s not what I would have chosen but it’s still a good choice and I choose to keep making it. I’ve shared some cute photos of the choices Wes is making to be hilarious and how his appreciation is worth fighting for.

So until that time comes, brick by brick. I put together a new life that isn’t one that I imagined but that is still lovely and creative and unique. It’s ours and I pray that God will continue to give me chances to talk about the journey we have been on and how we choose to keep believing that there is good in all of this.

 

 

 

 

Waves keep on crashing on me

IMG_3661” The waves keep on crashing on me for some reason..” No Doubt have I sung these words in my head over and over the past few weeks.

I haven’t been sleeping much the past week. It seems as if the enormity of what has happened seeps in so very slowly. It happens in waves. I’m functioning at what would appear, outside looking in, at a normal or acceptable level but then a wave crashes on me. I’m gasping for some understanding of how I got here. I feel suffocated with fear and sadness and shock. He’s really not here. I don’t wallow around in sadness and darkness but there are those moments in the day or more so in the night where it grips me so tight.

I have been having flashbacks to the first day that he got sick. I replay every moment of what happened as if my brain is trying to put the past 23 months into order. I see his face and I hear his cry and I try and think that if I would have done something differently, just a fraction of a second differently would he still be here. I know, it’s true torture. 1155A345-59BB-48EE-A77C-9E638BA3A599

I know things would still be the same, this was going to happen…but I haven’t allowed myself the entire time, to put these moments into order. I haven’t wanted too but more than that, it was a manner of survival. Moving forward, taking care of how to help him , how to deal with each day and there was no time for digesting the moments that have lead us here.

I feel like the journey has been a train barreling forward only to have had several stops where Andy and I look at each other and ask , Is this real? The moments of acceptance of Walker being gone were first of relief. He was not the same after that first seizure. We helped him hang on with medicines, doctors, g-tubes and therapy but he was still so sick. I wanted him to have his heavenly body and to be with Jesus. That is what we all want. I didn’t have time to deeply process the loss of my first born child.

I have nothing but time now. I have tried resting and staying busy but it is creeping over me like a sadness that I only felt at the very beginning. It’s not an all encompassing sadness but a deep gut wrenching wave that will take your breath away and then retreat. It doesn’t last long but takes enough out of you to stop your to do list or momentum forward and reflect. I can’t predict when I will feel it.. Sometimes it’s provoked and sometimes it’s just time to feel it.

IMG_0526So instead of pushing these waves away, I allow myself to feel them. I feel a lot of things…amazement that he made it this long, gratefulness that God used his story to impact others walks with Christ, joy that he is with Jesus and no longer suffering and sadness that he isn’t here. I do take moments, hours.. to feel the pain…

I have learned that each day is a choice. A choice to get up. A choice to enjoy Weston and Andy. A choice to move forward and to imagine my life without him physically here. A choice to not let the sadness dictate my mind. A choice that my fear of all that could go wrong will be subdued to the fact that God has promised me joy . A choice to endure it and feel it all. Feeling it makes it real.

I want to move past this fragile time to a point of not bursting into tears when I think about him or being shaken when a grocery store clerk asks how many children I have.. The reality of our life being so different now then it has been is a lot to process. I am grateful for a second chance at my life. A life that I had mapped out perfectly after meeting my husband and having children. I thought I knew what was next and now I don’t. Truthfully, no one does. No one knows what is next and I find excitement and possibility in that.                         660CDD84-FA68-48AD-875E-87D77C6FEC902D6A35B0-340F-4A32-92FE-0CC6F4435B90

So I take these waves of reality and moments of shock as they come. I press forward just as everyone else does each day and it’s hard. I look for meaning in this and encouragement from those around me that have supported us this whole time. I look for ways to encourage others, only if it is the small push forward that I can give that day. It matters, every little moment matters. Even the sad ones.  These pictures are just ones that I found off of Facebook of little moments that people took to show support of Walker and how    they matter to me so much more then they knew.

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“And if you’re feeling Hella Good then I’ll just keep on dancing..” Sorry, it’s catchy…

 

Rauschenberg Rd

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near Guanella Pass, Colorado Rockies

I find myself drifting off into the deep spaces of my mind.. Places I’ve been, things I’ve done, friendships I’ve made. I never remember tangible things, it’s always an experience or advice collected. Something about having Walker leave this earth makes me leave also..I  want my life to have mattered, my time and experiences to have been purposeful.. I sift through my past as if I’m looking through a queue on Hulu or Netflix.. It’s so familiar but also feels like something I’m so disconnected from. A life without medicine and shifts.. Now that he’s gone, I’m in that life again, the pause button lifted, but I feel stuck trying to find which way I move next. I keep being reminded of a friend who lost her life to Leukemia in ’07.

I found a verse she had scribbled on a slip of paper from 15 years ago..She gave me many handmade cards, all with timely scripture and cute drawings. This verse never meant more to me then it did this morning when I read it for what felt like the first time.

“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2

In what feels like this crossroads of my life.. I’m left afraid that I will make the wrong choices or somehow not make any choices. Chasing after a desire that has left me empty handed, I’m not sure what to do now. So I remember my dear friend who lived life to the fullest without realizing that it would be cut short at 26. As much as I have wanted Walker’s life to have been purposeful to others, I also have much of my desire to love the Lord sparked by watching my dear friend.. I want to share her memory..

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Ladies of the ’01 summer crew (Katie is in the second row, 2nd from the left. I’m sporting the ‘fro in the second row on the right)

Many years ago I had a friend that gave me a glimpse of what loving Jesus really looked like. She was the kind of person you meet where you feel as if you’ve known her your whole life. She saw through my shallow skin and insecurities but never judged me for them. Something was different about Katie and I wanted the confidence that she had and smile that could put you at ease. She signed all her cards, My cup runneth over..

We were all from different places in the country, gathered into this guest ranch to fill our summer of ’01 and make some money.  Our jobs were tedious and from sun up to sun down. Most of our conversations were spent while making beds and wiping down tables but allowed for a closeness to form within those tasks. We would get a day off to explore our surroundings and if we were lucky, we could borrow a friend’s car and drive up though unfamiliar Colorado mountains, walk through the streets of Boulder or dine in Denver.

We took pictures on the side of mountains as if we had climbed them and then in the back of trucks on the way to serve breakfast from cast iron skillets. She made me feel like I was her best friend and sister after only just being strangers. Katie was from Dalton, GA and we shared an interest in art and music. She was a student at SCAD and was chasing a dream of being a fashion designer. I don’t know how I remember so much from our short time together except that she changed me. My life was different after meeting her.

Katie could tell a story about her childhood that would literally transport you to that moment in time. I’m not sure if it was her southern accent or abounding grace that captivated an audience, but by the end of her story, we were all on a farm in the chicken coop with her. She was everything you’d want your own daughter to be and also hope for your son to find. She shared the Bible with me in a way that I didn’t know possible. Katie loved God and her family and creating art.. It wasn’t possible to be around her without being inspired by her. I wanted to know more about the Bible because of her knowledge and love for Jesus. It was contagious and a true example of emitting the love for Christ.

I had grown up going to church and had a basic understanding of Sunday School Christianity. I believed in Jesus but not to the point where my life was about him. I could look up a verse but didn’t really know how to live for him. Thinking of Jesus as my Father, was crazy and a bit bizarre..but not to Katie. She challenged me to learn and to trust that Jesus was real..

At the time, I knew there was something different about Katie. I didn’t know all these things at the time except that I liked her and for that reason, I kept all the cards and verses and memories close. She wasn’t sick then. She was living her life to the fullest because every moment counted. She knew that then, without the pretense of sickness upon her.

All of this is about that one thing. My daydreaming or lack of direction..I’m grasping for one thing.. To be on purpose and live life for Jesus.. It’s easy when you know what you have to do each day. Now my direction is turned and I pray that my next steps are focused and inspired by those that aren’t here now.

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Katie and I kept in touch for a few years but as it happens.. we lost touch. We had one email in 2006 where we caught up but then in 2007, I Facebooked or Myspaced her.. and found out that she had passed. I was so sad that I had lost time with her but so grateful that our paths had crossed and that she had continued to inspire my walk with Christ without her knowing. I found this quote from a fundraising page created for her.. It is the perfect snapshot of her vigor to be with the Lord in her own words…

It’s all I can do to clap in time to praise music … but I can hear Him whisper and I have felt Him only inches away if any at all and He has touched me and my insides stand in attention and my heart is red and it beats hard and fast and if you turn me inside out like an orange there would be some fantastic celebration with parades and Ferris wheels and fireworks and marching bands and jelly beans and pinwheels and fire eaters and Hula Hoops and … fat ladies in polka dots and lions and popcorn and acrobats.

I’m so tired of the sadness and daydreaming. Let us be filled with inspiration from those who have gone before us. Let us not be afraid but comforted by the closeness that both the heavenly and earthly realms overlap in. Katie had told me that when she started her clothing line that it would be called Rauschenberg Road. It was the road she had grown up on.. That name was so unique and so beautiful, that I have always remembered it. She carried her past with her and wanted it to be the name of her future. Her designs and creations. The beautiful overlap of where she’d been and where she was going.

The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” 

I wanted to share something she wrote to me that I can’t even believe when I read it now.

“God has been so good to us both..We have nothing to worry about..that makes it easy to sleep at nights…”

Did she know then what we would endure? That 15 years later, I would read these words and be reminded that we have nothing to worry about?. No worry makes it easy to rest… How much I needed those words..

“Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” Luke 12: 25-26

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Victory. Weary worry. Rest.

Phillips four minus one in heaven

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Exploring the parks in Mt Pleasant

I’ve had many thoughts these past two weeks. I’ve written many entries in my mind but couldn’t bring myself to actually type them out.

Grieving is a weird thing. In truth, we have been grieving ever since July 4 2014. That was the day that we lost our son. We had been fighting to get him back to little avail, the past 22 months. After his second seizure, he was gone. We hung on to hope that he would return. That he would speak. I truly believed that he would. I believed that God could move that mountain. I just did everything I knew to do until he moved it.

Having him slowly lose his life here on earth was the hardest thing we have ever been through. I can’t give you enough words to describe the amount of pain and heartache that we have felt. There is no word deep enough or wide enough to hold the feeling. But there is a release, a hope , a mass so much larger than the space of sadness created by watching your child die.. His name is Jesus. He carried my pain and Walker’s suffering and He is giving us peace. He is giving us hope for a new life and new purpose after death. That is the only way we are still standing and carrying on.

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Wes and Daddy

Since Walker’s passing.. we have slept and drawn in to our family and intimate circle of people who dug through this with us. I have organized and cleaned and rearranged like a crazy person. We traveled to Charleston, hence the pictures, and tried to do our new normal. Staying busy with projects and snuggling in my bed are my two new favorite things. Weston likes to create puzzles in some app on my phone of my pictures. We lay in bed and solve picture puzzle after puzzle. Sometimes they are of Walker.

Andy’s back to traveling for work and hitting the golf course. It’s like a veil has been lifted and we are starting to see the world again and it is truly exciting to think about other things. I feel like we stopped living  when Walker got sick and we are reentering the world again. This time as a threesome. Walker is                                       still with us and I think about him constantly, but it is different.

But three is less than four. Somehow losing one child feels like a lot more than one. Our physical presence is 25% less…but it is really 50% fewer children. Everything feels bigger and intimidating. We are having to start over with how to be the “Phillips Four”(my cute nickname for us) without our Walker. It’s hard. We appreciate the space that we are being allowed to take from our people. We will assimilate back into society soon..but right now, this time is just for us. For us to grow and regroup. We have had some time at the beach and home. We go back to the beach for a few days soon. The beach is truly God’s physical promise of His existence. I hear Him more looking at the water and sky than anywhere else.

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Downtown Charleston at the best restaurant, Hanks

Please keep sharing his story. Please live life differently for Him. I look forward to the many lessons I will learn and share through this next phase.. Thank you for listening and I will keep writing if you keep reading. Love to all,

 

Karie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been away..

Walker went to be with Jesus at 5:10pm on April 20 2016.

He is at peace. It is good. 

You can catch up here at his caring bridge page how we managed the last 49 days of his life. Here is his Obituary.. I will continue writing here as an outlet for myself and also as an offering to those who have traveled similar roads. While the the phrase of "waiting on walker " has changed the past 22 months.. It transforms again into us waiting on our reunion.. Thank you for caring to read and pray and watch us through this journey. .. 

Obituary for Walker Hayes Phillips

13063097_10206356443052811_7790580373505613383_oWalker Hayes Phillips, 5, was received into Jesus’s arms on April 20, 2016. He is survived by his parents, John Andrew and Karie Suzanne Phillips; and brother, Robert Weston Phillips, 3.

Walker lived his first three and a half years of life, full of adventure and laughter. He loved kayaking and fishing with his dad. He loved building with Legos and putting puzzles together with his mom. He also loved playing with his best friends, Price and Elijah, and riding on his Poppy’s tractor. Walker also enjoying singing and play his guitar. His favorite song was “Silent Night.”

Walker was diagnosed with VGKC Autoimmune Encephalitis on July 4, 2014 after suffering his first seizure. He spent the next 21 months in and out of hospitals and treatment facilities battling seizures and the damage that was cased from the initial diagnosis. Walker never regained his life as the Lord had intended but went on to share an undeniable strength and resilience that can only be attributed to the spirit of the living God. Walker gave us hope and reminded us all that we are not here on our own accord but that our purpose is in sharing in community and loving others as God loves us.

A memorial service to celebrate Walker’s life will be held on Saturday at 10am at Lexington Baptist Church, 308 East Main Street, Lexington SC 29072.

In lieu of flowers, The Phillips Family would like for you to consider donations in Walker’s memory to Hands of Hope Hospice Care (http://www.handsofhopesc.net donations/c2071) and/or Lexington Baptist Church Families of Hope (http:// lexingtonbaptist.org/hope/).