Commode To Joy

finding happy (even in the crappy)

This is What Coping Looks Like

There’s a couple I grew up with, Trevor and Jeri Ann. He and I were in show choir from middle school on. I remember him telling me on one of our trips that he was “going out” with Jeri Ann. Fast-forward to adulthood and Jeri Ann has worked with Muscato longer than I’ve known him.

Tragedy struck their family Friday when Trevor found their four-year-old son unresponsive in the pool.

He didn’t make it.

Sweet little, fun-loving, Evan who was loved more than some could only hope to be loved, is gone. Our communities are devastated. Whys are outnumbered only by tears.

May it be a testament to their family to see how many thousands of people have been impacted. Thousands who are grieving alongside them, figuring out their own ways to cope as The Higgins family, including their one-year-old-son, navigate this real-life horror.

Nothing shrinks your world faster than tragedy. As we sit with our families, squeezing our loved ones tightly and our babies even tighter, we find ourselves…coping.

Coping looks like slow mornings and wadded tissue.

Coping looks like doing the dishes…and the laundry…because cleaning is one thing you have total control of.

It looks like sidewalk chalk on driveways.

A common theme in psych units across the country is art. Drawing and coloring helps to work through emotions when words fail you. It’s an approach that helps children and adults alike. Anytime my world shrinks, I find myself creating art with my hands.

It’s not lost on me what came out of my hands today…

Coping looks like admiring your child deeper than ever before…and actually taking a picture during your everyday activity, just because…you can.

Coping looks like giving yourself permission to stay in your pajamas til evening…and then taking a shower because maybe some of the sad will wash away with the stink.

It looks like dancing that elicits a brief, real smile — because a song plays that moves your body before your preoccupied mind has a chance to say no.

It looks like more crying — because a song plays that sounds like how you feel.

It looks like going outside and laying down so that Mother Nature can hold you.

If you’re in a similar place right now, please remember this: Coping is not sadness at work. It’s love at work.

It’s love that’s reminding you of your humanness by showing just how greatly you can feel. It’s love urging you to hug, to cry, to create, to dance, to smile, to be, all in order to work through your sadness.

That mess of feelings isn’t there to torment you and keep you down. They’re there to help get you up again.

Please get up again.

Get up for the people in your life that you still get to love on.

Get up for the parents whose arms are unbearably, unfathomably empty.

Get up for Trevor and Jeri Ann.

Get up for Evan.

That heartbreak you’re feeling? That’s love calling.

Get up and answer it.

Categories: Death & Grief, Encouragement

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. My heart truely aches for the Higgens family. Unfortunately my family and I truly do know their pain. We lived in Moweaqua, Illinois and on August 13, 2009 our 2yr old son Gabriel fell in our pool and drowned. This year it has been 10yrs and there are still days were it feels like it was just yesterday. Please let the Higgens family know that we are here for support. Thank you, Justin and Lindsay Bowers. R.I.P Gabriel Bowers and Evan Higgens fly high with the angels and watch over all of us sweet boys!

    • I think my neighbor and friend is one of your relatives. Oh Lindsey…I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the loss the hurt and the devastation. Thank you for being here for the Higgins family and for sharing about your Gabriel. Those boys are so very loved. 💙

  2. Very much so. When I heard about what happened my heart just hurt so much for the Higgins because that is a pain no one should ever have to feel. And there story is so very similar to ours. My husband is the one who found our little boy and started CPR unfortunately we didn’t get to donate our babies organs because they never got a heartbeat back. But I am very grateful the Higgins family were able to share their little boy with others in need. I am an LPN and I believe very much in organ donation. Also who is your neighbor?

    • Their organ donation decision starts the tears all over again. Such a meaningful, selfless decision. My goodness. After a little more thought, my friend’s family lives in Moweaqua, but it happened on Lake Decatur. 💙💙💙

  3. This is beautiful…. This is coping…feelings that couldn’t be put into words, only to stumble across a page full of words that connects us all… And reminds us that it’s ok to cope… To feel any way and every way, whenever. This is love. Good bless you and thank you for touching so many with your beautiful writing.

  4. Jamie, this is beautiful. You’ve helped us all deal a little more with this tragedy. When you don’t know what else to do, just pray & he will help us through. Thanks for this post

  5. Jamie, your words speak volumes of truth. Thank you for your eloquence and desire to share your heart with our communities. This has been a very difficult loss as you well know and your words are perfect to help begin the coping process. I have heard wonderful things about you from CAM teachers… I hope someday to meet you face to face. Thank you again.

    • I had no idea it would be so helpful to so many. Seeing it is a great reminder of how connected we all really are. A&M seems like lifetimes ago…and also like yesterday. Thank you for your kind, kind words. It means a lot to me. ❤️

  6. Jamie, your words of encouragement will be helpful to so many that are “coping” and have been for maybe even years.
    Thank you for sharing.

  7. This is beautifully written especially when no words can begin to comfort this family.

    • “If love could prevent pain, they’d never have suffered.” – and adaptation from Glennon Doyle’s “Love Warrior.” That’s what keeps coming to mind. They’re so so loved…all Evan knew was love, and still…there’s suffering. ❤️💔❤️

  8. Thank you sweet Jamie for putting into words this heartfelt message. As my heart just aches for Jeri Ann and Trevor, I know how important it is to continue to hold them up, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What a legacy little Evan was able to gift to our world💙

  9. Jamie, you put into words what so many of us are feeling but had no words for. Beautifully written.

  10. Coping… I chose hobby farming and art. This is so spot on.

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