Death of a Thursday

but first, a little throwback to an unfinished entry titled, “Thankful Thursday”


Thankful Thursday 

(Drafted November 16, 2013 (3 days before Cruz was born)

I know, I know… November is the cliché month to give thanks and recognize those things we often take for granted… but it’s in the midst of need that we’re suddenly aware of how much (or how little) support we have. From family to friends, I am blessed with SO many quality people in my life who truly-madly-deeply care about me. I haven’t always felt this way. I’ve gone through seasons of my life where I desperately needed what I have now, but felt like I had nowhere to turn. It’s comforting to know that the next time I experience trial, I won’t have to bear it alone.

So, how does a person adequately express their thankfulness towards someone when the generosity itself has left them at a loss for words??? I’m not quite acquainted with this sort of speechlessness , so I guess I’ll just jump off! –

Thanks to my sisters and some of my dearest friends, I had the BEST baby shower a girl could ask for! Not only was I pampered by ALL who came spoiling me with diapers, wipes, and gifts GALORE, I left feeling undeservingly blessed to have finally………..

(End of Draft) 11/16/13


Death of a Thursday

……. And here I am, in the midst of another trial. Wow. If I only knew, blissfully driving home that night with a car-full of baby stuff, that I wasn’t going to need ANY of it. Now looking back at the past valleys I’ve walked through, I can see how every journey has taken me oh-so-slightly deeper into pain’s crevasse; each one just toughening me up a bit, bracing me for the day I’d eventually step in sinking sand. Sitting here, suffocating at the bottom of the pit, it’s frightening to recognize that this fractured ground could give way again, and I might find myself disoriented by an even greater fall.

For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book on love. I have the title, the cover design, a general outline… but one thing was missing. Without running on with divulging details, I will just say, Cruz’s death finished the book. I had always wondered if losing someone is losing someone, is losing someone… and in fact, for me, it IS one-and-the-same. Whether losing someone to death, rejection, betrayal, unfaithfulness, what-have-you, the emotional-transcending-physical heartache feels the same, just at totally different dimensions.

I think we as humans were designed to be resilient; able to bounce back from major impacts by evolving and learning to move/live on with whatever our individual struggles may be. But – because of this ability to cope, we often gain a delusion of independence and underestimate our inherent need to be reliant.

There’s nothing quite like a humbling wound to the soul that sends us desperately seeking help from someone/something/somewhere beyond ourselves. We’re wired for relationship, we crave community, we live for love. But even (after trying psychological and physical solutions to aid the pain, or simply allowing enough time to pass) if I’ve truly had an encounter with my Creator, I find that I lean into Him jusssst long enough to regain my strength and wits about me, then I leave the nest regardless of whether my wings are still broken. Just because something’s no longer raw, doesn’t mean it’s cured; just because you’ve learned to ignore bloodiness, doesn’t mean you’ve stopped the bleeding and yet, well, you’d think I’d learn.

When answering the trite Christian-question, “how are you doing spiritually?”, I would honestly say I felt close to God……… but what does “close” really mean??? Any religious, disciplined person can read their Bible, pray, make all the “right” decisions, and still be absorbed and governed by their own feelings and selfish nature. There’s no other relationship in my life that would survive such narcissistic behavior, so I suppose that answers my question of closeness.

I feel like my priorities were so out of whack before this whole thing that I’m not quite sure how I ever justified it in my head. I was due for a wakeup call, I suppose. If I’ve somehow painted an image of a harlot or hypocrite in your mind, that’s not at all what I’m saying, I just mean I may have had other gods in my life, such as my children, home, and earthly treasures; I guess this is me pleading guilty of idolatry. I don’t think I brought this situation upon myself, nor do I believe that God is a God of vengeance, but sometimes bad things happen to good people, and I think our response to these “bad things” is what sheds light into the deepest places of one’s heart.

It’s hard to feel happy these days… but then that begs the question… was my previously-so-called happiness rising from a foundation of joy? Or, was my happiness subjective, suspended between ever-changing, unsecured circumstances? As children it’s pounded into our brains at Sunday School that “ I’VE GOT JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY, DOWN IN MY HEART – TO STAYYY!”, but we’re not taught how to practically live that song even if/when we grow up and find out that after generations of a hereditary disorder laying dormant, YOU are the one who was born with the defect that will someday kill your son.

If I’m honest, I’ve been dealing with thoughts and temptations so foreign to me there might as well be some stranger whispering terrible-nothings in my ear, in a language I hardly understand… and if I listen… the things that used to be black and white start to warp and meld into shades of gray, and the foundational belief system of my faith is called into question. Perhaps this is how Eve found herself allured by the snake? It’s easy to judge when she APPEARED to have everything she could ever want already, but let’s just say she too, had a nagging void within her rendering her vulnerable and susceptible to deception. If she could be convinced that God didn’t have her best interest at heart, I think that’s all it takes for anyone to begin questioning the difference between good and evil.

It’s disillusioning when your personal absolutes suddenly seem subjective. God is good. Evil is bad. But then many have implied that perhaps Cruz was chosen to be some modern-day sacrificial lamb that would lead many to Christ… as much as I try to see that as good, I CAN’T. The God I thought I knew provided Abraham with a lamb so that Isaac didn’t have to die. Where was my Shepherd as I watched Cruz drowning in his own fluids for his last what-seemed-endless hours, struggling for  e v e r y   s i n g l e    b r e a t h. “HE’S ONLY A BABY! JESUS, PLEASE!” My cries seemed to have fallen on deaf ears and for that whole night I felt…………… abandoned.

Multiple doctors were in his room, but one of them was standing over me as I fell to the floor having loss all color, my left arm numb, chest cavity so heavy I felt like death itself was clenching my lungs; I was dying on the inside AND out. I had heard multiple “adult code-blues” blaring over the intercom during my stay at the children’s hospital and I was sure, I was next. As my heart began to palpitate, my body violently shaking, it was as though I was preparing for the birth of something only I assure you, labor pains don’t even compare. Everything began to fade out, both sight and sound, but there was ONE thing that gave me the strength to hold onto my fading consciousness. His name, Ezekiel. “YOU CANNOT LEAVE HIM, BRITTNEY, GET IT TOGETHER! HE NEEDS YOU JUST AS MUCH AS CRUZ HAS NEEDED YOU!” Then I’d think about little Cruz (who was just handed off to his father by the mother who had always been near – never afraid, always holding his hands and cheering him on)… WHAT IF HE’S SCARED!? WHERE AM I IN HIS GREATEST TIME OF NEED!? GET UP AND GO OVER THERE! I had heard about females in the animal kingdom dying after the loss of their young, and part of me was afraid that if I held him again, as much as I ached to, my heart would go into cardiac arrest. || Even as I try to recount these all-too-fresh moments, the frightening, familiar, paralyzing pain is gripping hold, convulsive cries are making it hard to type, and tears are flooding my eyes, streaming down my chest. || I knew this was the last hour because it was getting harder and harder for me to function, and it was requiring so much medication to keep him comfortable that he would soon overdose. It took every ounce of my existence to lift myself from the disgusting blood-spattered floor, like going for that 100th and final push-up when muscles tremble and joints give out… but I willed myself to crawl over and sit at my husband’s feet. The closer I drew to Cruz, the closer I felt to death. I reached out, determined to make myself known to my suffering babe, touched his swollen hand and spoke as many words as I could mutter. I think I knew he was waiting for me; I knew the sooner he sensed my presence, Cruz would feel like he could stop fighting… and sure enough… moments after my voice touched his ears, I looked up at the monitor just in time to see his last two heartbeats before the flatline_________________________


Still filled with some bit of hope or perhaps denial, my adrenaline raged and I had a burst of strength pulse through my body, throwing myself overtop of him. I screamed his name loudly against his cheek, his body jolted, and my heart leaped, only to look up at the doctor to be informed this was “just a COMMON reflex”.  T.O.D. 7:44am, THURSDAY. I proceeded to vomit everything in my stomach until there was nothing left. I stood to my feet, took a deep breath, felt an unexplainable burden lift itself from my shoulders, then the words, “Well done, daughter” penetrated my spirit. Suddenly, this feeling of abandonment was replaced with nearness, and I felt as though my Father was standing next to me, smiling, with an empathy that only He knew. I did it. A piece of me was gone, and I was certainly not the Brittney I was even the day before, but I survived the impossible. I looked over at the body that once contained the soul of my precious, precious son, it was already so shockingly pale-green, but somehow I could separate the fact that he was no longer there, and my life-long fear of death was replaced with a calming peace beyond my understanding. As I watched them remove all of his needles and wires (for the first time in 2.5 months), some sort of freedom came over me, and I felt the same liberation I used to feel as I’d pass the baton at the end of an excruciating relay. He was out of my hands. We had fought the good fight. Now it was time to REST. This is when the Psalm 23 image of Cruz and Jesus walking hand-in-hand painted itself over my bleeding heart, and I felt healing, refreshment, cleansing – renewal. Cruz was alive!

Though he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, Cruz wasn't afraid, because Jesus heard his cries and comforted him; led him to green pastures, still waters, prepared a feast in the presence of his enemies (for his starving little tummy), and now Cruz will live in the house of the Lord FOREVER.

Though he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, Cruz wasn’t afraid, because Jesus heard his cries and comforted him; led him to green pastures, still waters, prepared a feast in the presence of his enemies (for his starving little tummy), and now he lives in the house of the Lord, FOREVER.

I don’t know what I think about God or the God I thought I knew… I struggle with feeling mad at Him but my love for Him has SOMEHOW increased. Did God plan such a tragedy? Isn’t He good ALL the time? Full of mercy, love, and grace? It comes down to the ongoing theological debate between predetermination vs. free will. Where I stand on this subject is neutral. To think it was premeditated and orchestrated ruins my belief that God answers prayer – without prayer I have no faith, without faith I lose hope… along with my ability to trust in anything. But to think God’s first design was for Cruz to live and that His plan got derailed by man’s sin-nature and the foolish mistakes/mistreatment in Portland, (although it takes the fault off God), it suggests that evil prevailed. So now God is the lesser of two powers at war??? I believe God could’ve intervened at any point and released Cruz of the ailments that bound him, but He didn’t. Why? It’s not like there wasn’t enough of us praying for him! I could entertain unknowns and what-ifs that’d eventually drive me straight to the psych ward, but correct treatment or not, thousands of prayers or none, this all started because he was formed with a failing liver, and that’s the part I struggle with. God intricately and purposefully formed him within my womb. He knew his every part. (Psalm 139:13)

I’ll admit I’m getting nervous as time goes on. My genetic screening was supposed to take 3-5 months (I think I’m down to 0-2) and although part of me is anxious to hear and get on with my life, part of me doesn’t want to know. Right now I can still have hope that the worst is over, and I don’t want ANYTHING to take away this hope. Now that the shock is beginning to wear off, the permanence of death is setting in. Cruz is gone. His cute little body I used to gaze upon is now rotting beneath the ground. His precious fingers that gripped mine so tight are now lifeless and cold. I COULD NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! I could never watch another one of my babies die… BUT, if I never try for another, how will I ever move on?! What will keep me from obsessing over what happened? I can’t get stuck here.

This goes without saying, but I’m obviously at a turning point in my life… we all get a few of those. Am I going to let circumstances destroy me or build me? Am I going to get bitter or better? Am I going to drown in self-pity or let the waves of grief spur my creativity? Am I going to thank God for His goodness and mercy regardless of my pending DNA results, or will I be overcome with anger and resentment if things don’t go the way I’d hoped? What if this isn’t an isolated one-time tragedy because the very fabric of my being is flawed!? This IS what will break me or make me; This has the potential and potency to imprison me or propel me down a road less-traveled.

I could easily live the rest of my life blaming God and overlooking all my many blessings because I feel shortchanged – but then I’d be just like Eve – forsaking all the other fruitFUL trees in my garden because I’m captivated with the one that I don’t understand; infatuated with the one I think I want/need most, the one God obviously set apart… and convinced that I know what-would-have-been best, distrusting that God could possibly have a better plan. I was blessed and chosen to be Cruz’s mother for the short time he was here, that IS good. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to meet Baby Cruz for anything.

The brutality and finality of death remains unmatched. If I didn’t believe in something eternal, the Brittney we all know would surely disappear, buried alive in this insurmountable heartache; but I’m a firm believer that this life isn’t all there is. Cruz is alive, happy, healthy, stronger than ever and better off than he would’ve been on this hell-of-an-earth… he’s just not with his mama. And that’s actually ok with me, somehow. I know that I know that I know, I WILL hold Cruz again someday, and that someday-moment is what gets me through my every waking hour.


Moving on from here:

I PLAN to get back into blogging, I just need to get past the new-found superficiality of it all. It seems so pointless to talk about design and decor, but then again, I have never been so thankful for My Colonial Remodel as I am now. Having the ability to lose myself in projects has been a healthy distraction as I go through the motions of mourning, plus, 10 months of pregnancy hormones preparing me for the busy life of “taking care of baby” have left me with all this extra energy that I need to spend somewhere! Someone once asked me if I was going to seek grief counseling, and as of now, working with my hands has been my preferred therapy. I hope everyone else can move on with me, obviously never forgetting Cruz, but helping me pick up where I left off here.

Thanks for all your love, support, prayers, endless gifts and happy-mail… every day is delivery day here at My Colonial ReMODel! I am surrounded with the best of the best and I love you ALL dearly!



– B





39 thoughts on “Death of a Thursday

  1. Sometimes life just doesn’t make any sense…it’s frustrating. I always look for purposes and reasoning behind certain situations but there are just so many reasons unknown to me and I hope to get the answer one day….until then, I just wonder. I couldn’t imagine having your strength… But it’s an inspiring strength that has already helped many people. I attend Crossroads in Vancouver…. If you ever need someone to vent to or have a coffee with feel free to email me.

  2. Brittney,
    I was going through my mail before bed (I hate having excessive mail in my inbox), deleting any old or outdated emails and I saw your “My Coloniel ReMODel” post at the bottom of the list. I’ve held on to this post for such a long time, but never sat down and read it. Well that changed today—Thursday.

    Your way with words is UNreal. It’s like you took your heart, opened it like a book and put the pages on display. You have always been a role MODel in my life and you have always been someone I have looked up, way up to. You were definitely blessed with Cruz, but he was BLESSED by you. You are the best mom out there. You have exemplified that through Ezekiel and Cruz as well as by being the amazing sister that you have always been. (I think your perfect, but the Bible says no one, but Jesus is so I guess I thought wrong or Something…)

    I have no idea what-so-freaking-ever the pain you went through and are going through at all. Like not even a little. But I know it must be severe by the way you described it. You and Pastor Jared have made some deep marks in my life; marks that I will never forget. You have shown me what a Follower is. You have taught me true Love. Not fairytale love, but love of a Savior and Lord. You have shown me that even in our deepest and darkest valleys, God is always leading the way. If it wasn’t for you two (+Ezekiel+Cruz) I may not be where I am today. I truly believe that your’s and Jared’s leadership is part of what makes me who I am today.

    I love all of you guys and I will forever remember Cruz and your response to this valley; one of love and of a True Hope.

    I love you,

  3. I send love. Moved to the core. Your journey… Wow. Sacred. Deeply meaningful even when the loss of precious Cruz makes no sense. I send love.

    With deep respect,

  4. Oh Brittney, how I desperately needed to read this, today. Thank you so much for posting this, and for sharing your very real and very raw honest emotions. I have been feeling these same things…while my struggles pale in comparison, I have found such comfort in your words today. I live with a rare genetic disease that has caused some valley walking lately…
    I SO appreciate how you have allowed us into this space and shared with us, you have no idea what just sharing these thoughts and feelings may do for another hurting soul!! Xoxo

  5. I could never imagine any of this being REAL life… I am praying for you momma! May Jesus heal your heart… And give you all the strength. Praying for you and your family.

    Rest in peace, sweet baby Cruz 💙

  6. Brittney, I cannot fathom the extent of ur grief, however I got a glimpse of it after reading this. I felt like I was there with u in that hospital room! The way u articulate the events of that horrible morning and ur emotions is amazing. I too had tears streaming down onto my chest. You have a gift for writing!
    I found u on IG thru my friend @danielle_cross and we, both mothers, have both been thinking of u so much through what seems to me an impossible time. It’s so unfair!! Yet ur strength is amazing!! Hoping each day gets a little easier for Mama xx

  7. My heart broke for you. It literally feels broken for you. Your stregnth inspires me so much. Cruz was lucky to have you as his mom. This post brought me to tears over and over, I just wanted you to know that your words, actions and heart have touched and inspired many of us. I am a better mom and Christian for having met you in the big wide Internet.
    Sending healing love your way.

  8. I originally followed your blog for design reasons, but as soon as Cruz was born I knew that God had other reasons in mind. As I’ve followed your story (and then @breeloverly and later @rykerandamanda) I couldn’t help but wonder why God was revealing all these beautiful families experiencing loss. It has made my prayer life vastly less superficial and selfish, and I’ve asked questions I’ve never thought before, so thank you for sharing your heart. Praying ceaselessly and so much love.

  9. Oh my gosh,Brittney!!!!!!!!!!!! I am balling like a baby! Your courage and strength to be so vulnerable and honest is amazing. I love you ,Brit and pray for you every day ❤ and #iheartcruz .Thank you for sharing your heart

  10. I am undone! Your words are a gift. Thank you for letting us peak into your heart. I do believe as you pour out your heart through your words hearts will be healed. Mine has already been touched by Jesus. Thank you!

  11. Beautiful, full of raw honesty. I think of you often and pray that moment by moment your heart will begin to heal. I’m going to follow your blog so I can keep you close in my mind and heart. You will always be one of my favorite voice students. You are a treasure in my life and I am praying that you will continue to impact many lives with your story. Love from Florida, Pamela

  12. I was going to share this with you months ago, I am not sure why I never did. This is a blog by Jill McClourghy. She is and incredible lyricist, writer, singer, human. Her blog hasn’t been written in since 2012 but I have on more than one occasion gone back to it, started from the beginning, and spent a few hours just reading and reading. You writing reminds me so much of her.

  13. I am so sorry Cruz died – so sorry that he’s not in your arms right now. Praying for courage for you and that you would continue to have a sense of the Lord’s nearness – praying that when you feel overcome, you would see a wounded Jesus coming to meet you, one who knows the darkness of Gethsemane and suffering. Also – a link to audio-scripture to encourage your heart for the moments when it is too difficult to read:

  14. Brit, your willingness to share your journey with us has been a blessing beyond understanding. Cruz brought us all closer to Christ.
    Margaret Harris

  15. You have a magic touch with your words. It is not spell you cast, it is love you spread. Thank you for sharing your heart, thank you for letting us in to those dark moments. You are loved as you know, you are admired, you are wonderful and you are a chosen Momma. Love you and praying for you.


    • Love you Liza, SO MUCH! So glad you’re in my life. Perhaps we were put in each other’s paths to mourn with one another and empathize! But mostly, support and pray for one another:)

      – B

  16. Some of us are stuffers and some of us are sharers. I believe that you may just find this entry far more cathartic than even your beautiful house has been. You are a gifted writer and a gifted lover (er, ew… being of love?) and you better sign my copy of your book one day!

    I wasn’t raised with faith. It’s something I’ve had to fight for (and against) my whole life, but there is one definite truth I land on over and over again. I can never and will never figure out God’s ultimate truths no matter how hard I read, or think, or pray. And I’m crazy thankful for that. Because if us lowly humans somehow managed to figure God out with our fist sized brains we only use a small percentage of anyway… well, God isn’t all that magnificent after all then. Sure doesn’t stop me from looking though.

    Love you!

    • Ahhhhh! So happy to call you cousin:) I agree with all the above. (And if I ever get the guts to go for the book… I will surely sign one for you!) About the lover thing…. how did you know???? hahahahaha! JK love you

    • Thank you, Erin:) I had this weird realization the other day that I really need to go in for an adjustment and I think I’ve been avoiding it because everyone at your office was so excited for me and they haven’t seen me since I was preggo. There are certain parts of my life that have been harder to return to than others and for some reason your office is one of them. Anyway, miss you all:)

  17. This is the last thing I am reading before I head for bed, it’s after midnight. I was deeply moved by what you shared and blessed to. I cannot begin to grasp the depth of your grief but I pray that as you move forward and the deepness of this grief begins to lighten and become more memory, I pray that God will bless you with more to say, more understanding to share. God bless you…I am so sorry for your great loss.

  18. Wow.
    My heart aches for you.
    Words are so limited with which to express deep emotion, and yet you did, so beautifully.
    Still praying for you.

  19. Wow… Beautifully written. I’m basically speechless. I will say, as I’ve said many, many times before, you never cease to amaze me!

    I love you SO much!
    Always, ALWAYS here for you.
    Miss you baby Cruz!


  20. Brit your genuine rawness amaze, inspire and break me. It’s easy to be “all in” for Jesus when we face no challenges or repercussions for those beliefs. In biblical days being stoned for your beliefs was a reality…..choosing to follow Jesus was truly an act of faith, all in or nothing. As I read your story I thought what a gift she has to grab people and bring them into her story 100%! Maybe that was part of Gods plan….the sheer number of souls touched by you and Cruz is truly the hand of God at work. We all want to be “used” for the greater good of the kingdom but are we willing to walk the path you have had to walk to do it? I, as well as many I’m sure, would have to initially say NO! Please God don’t take me down that path. Your spirit and belief touch and encourage me more than you can imagine. To say thank you for sharing your journey seems so trite but truly….from the very depth of my soul, thank you for sharing Cruz and your story with me, with us.

    All my love and prayers,

  21. Beautifully honest, full of faith, and deeply touching post. I sit here with a tear stained face hurting deeply for you, strongly convicted in a good way, and grateful we both know Jesus. Love you guys and are continually here for you (though trying to give you space) and supporting you through this! Love you Cruz!!

  22. This is an incredibly honest, vulnerable, and brave post. Thank ypu for sharing it. It brought to mind many of the thoughts, feelings, and questions I dealt with after our losses and I marveled at how far He has brought me since those dark days. One day, all of our questions will be answered and the pain of this life will be a distant memory.

    • Can’t wait until that day! In some ways, at least now we have something to look forward to… I used to be so freaked out at the thought of death and leaving my loved ones behind. You guys are often in my thoughts:)


  23. Where to begin…..I began following your story around the time Cruz was transferred. I walk a different path than you, your reality is my worst fear, but a fear I have come too close to living twice. Both of my sons were born with congenital heart defects, my youngest was critical at birth, tho not prenatally diagnosed. He had open heart surgery at 5 weeks old, went into cardiac arrest a few hours after and I thought that was it. I watched them revive my son and he’s here today, 20 months old with a huge scar down his chest. He will have multiple surgeries in his future. Last October, at 15 months, he got a bad virus which sent him into a febrile seizure, not uncommon but he went into respiratory arrest right when I happened to look on the video monitor I check on him. I had to revive him myself with CPR while the paramedics were on their way. I struggle daily, sometimes hourly, with the WHY? Why my son? Why is this the life he was, we were, given? What did I do to deserve it? What have I yet to do or realize or give fully and faithfully to God? I don’t have any answers, I just have hope. For me, for you, for all mothers who carry the weight of the WHY. Praying for you without ceasing from Arizona….. Hugs

    • Lindsay,
      Oh. My. Gosh. I am so sorry! The part about you having to do CPR before the paramedics arrived really got to me. It’s true, the first thoughts that flood our minds are the “why me’s”, “why him”, and it just doesn’t seem fair. Then I remember it “it rains on the just and the unjust” and it’s not like we earn good things by doing good things. It almost makes you want to throw caution to the wind and just have some fun if it’s not gonna make a hill of beans… but then I go right back to the eternal perspective. I hope you’re little guy has good things in store, and I will keep you in my prayers. Do you have an IG?


  24. Wow! I don’t want to be like Peter and say something just to say something. Thank YOU so much for sharing … For being so raw. For not holding back. I sobbed as I read these words and they will echo in my head as I continue to pray for you. God bless you B! If we never meet on this “hell of an earth” it will be my privilege to meet you in heaven sister! Xoxoxoxo

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