Monday, February 6, 2012

Week 1 Struggles

It’s officially been a week since our sweet boy has gone.  It has been the longest, hardest week of my life.  Yet it’s one that I felt closest to God and it’s one that showed me how the love of others can carry me through.  There is a song by Kutless that asks, “If I lost it all, would my hands stay lifted to the God who gives and takes away?” Well, my hands are still lifted. I still love and adore my Savior, but you are the ones holding up my hands with encouragement and prayers.  Everyone has been asking how we are doing so I’ll brief you the best that I can from my perspective, but really I can only speak accurately for myself.

Tim is a tender man.  He has always been the type to watch a sad movie and tears run down his sweet cheeks.  I love that tender side, but it’s really tough to see my knight and shining armor hurting.  He’s going to miss his little sidekick.  He loves all 3 girlies and is SO good with them.  He takes them on Daddy dates and has had many tea parties and makeovers.  But, with Brandon I saw joy in my husband’s eyes like I’ve never seen before.  The way that he and Brandon would tease each other and the commotion that they always made as they tripped, tackled, threw stuff at each other is going to be missed.  I’ll miss Brandon’s struggling squeals and laughs as Tim laughed his devious laugh at such manly torture.  You know, Tim never did let the poor boy win one of those wrestling matches.  But Brandon always picked the fight and came back for more like a little lion cub.  What was neat about Brandon is when (old man) Tim said “Enough.  Let’s settle down” Brandon would.  He obeyed immediately. 

Katie girl was the closest to Brandon in age and maybe even relationship.  They were the oldest so they both slept upstairs.  They shared a bathroom.  Because they are older and more mature they got to stay up later at night.  They’d spend their evenings drawing or building K’nex or Legos together.  They liked making forts out of sheets and blankets.  Occasionally they’d watch a movie.  They both liked Starwars and it was a treat for them to watch it since the little girls were a bit frightened by Starwars.  Brandon felt somehow safer with Katie upstairs.  If she was at a sleepover or at camp he always asked if his little sisters could sleep upstairs with him.  Even though Katie girl was a year and a half younger than Brandon, she was the leader.  He followed her lead in many areas.  Katie faithfully reads her Bible every night without being told.  Brandon witnessed her doing this for 8 months.  One night in the past month, Tim went up to check on the kids since it was so quiet upstairs. There he found Brandon reading his Bible.  Tim asked, “What are you doing?” (He asked because Brandon hid whatever it was he was doing under the covers) and Brandon replied, “Reading my Bible.”  The last Sunday of his life, he took notes in church because he always saw Katie doing so.  How precious.  I worry most about Katie tomorrow when the family is gone and it’s back to normal life around here….that is, normal minus Brandon.

Kylie is taking this the hardest.  She loves the deepest and her reactions are the strongest.  She was the first one to burst into tears when we told them the bad news last week.  She’s probably cried the loudest and the most of the three girls.  But she also responds to her sadness by rage and yelling.  We have to help her balance her emotions so she can express herself, but also use self control.  She needs a lot of hugs.  She needs a lot of reassurance of love.  The first few things she said when he died was, “But Brandon was so strong.  If he was that strong and still died, what’s going to happen to me?”  The other thing she said was, “Are we going to adopt another little boy?” She very much enjoyed being in the same class with Brandon.  He got a lot of attention from everyone, but she was so proud he was her brother. I’ve heard her say a hundred times, “I just want my brother back.” I intend to spend a lot of time cuddling with her and helping her heal.

Haley had stolen Brandon’s heart.  If the girls would wrestle, he had no problem throwing Katie or Kylie down, but Haley would get placed down on the floor like a porcelain doll.  He would give her piggy back rides whenever she asked.  She’d bat her brown eyes at him and say, “pleeeease?”  He would give her rides in the wagon.  He would brush out her hair to make her look like a princess or play Barbies with her.  He would lie down on her lap during a movie while she combed his hair or scratched his back.  He let her hug him whenever she wanted.  He was her hero.  In her eyes he was almost as strong as Daddy.  He could do anything and fix anything and she loved him dearly.   The 4 kids really didn’t fight often, but Haley and Brandon fought the least of any of the kids.

As for me, I’m doing okay. I am struggling mainly with sleep.  I cannot sleep even though I am so very tired.  Every noise in the house makes me get up and check on the kids.  I also am having a hard time eating.  Food has no taste and it all feels like poison when it hits my stomach.  I’ve never been a big eater and don’t have a large appetite even when I’m not grieving.  Often I would begin a burger or sandwich and he’d finish it off rather than allowing me to throw it away.  He said to me this past week, “Mama, you don’t eat enough.  You should finish your sandwich.  You not that big.”  So that is what I replayed in my mind all week as I forced food down my throat so my body has nourishment.  I miss every last thing about him.  I still expect him to burst through the garage door and ask for a drink, or just to come in to say, “Hi Mommy!!! I love you!!” before running back outside to play with his pals.

As I mentioned earlier, the rest of the family leaves tomorrow. We’re on our own starting tomorrow.  We have spent the last 8 months adjusting and enjoying getting to know Brandon.   Now it’s going to take a great deal of time adjusting to not having him with us.  Every last thing reminds us of him, and how we no longer have him to enjoy life with.  So anyway, I hope this gives you a better idea how to pray for us all.  Thank you for the continued prayers and support. 


  1. In tears again for y'all. We love you so much and will continue to pray daily.

  2. Carinda,
    I vaguely remembered your names from our time at Berean, and recognized the faces when I clicked on Jamie Rix's FB link last week. I'm one of the thousands of hits you've gotten all week long. I cannot imagine your pain and have been lifting your family up in prayer several times a day. While I can't know what you're going through, I feel certain that God has given you this trial so that Brandon's life can bring others to Him, through Brandon's AMAZING mom! For you to share your heart so openly and honestly, and praise Him so fervently in this storm is such a moving testimony. I'll be continuing to pray for your family.
    -Meghan Milne

  3. Carinda, I am so sorry for your family's tremendous loss. We are all grieving with you and we pray that you will feel God's love now more than ever! -Wendy Hunt (Melissa Purtell's big sis :)

  4. Dear Carinda,Tim and your sweet precious daughters, you all are in my prayers daily, I am grieving with you daily, in my wake at night, my first thought is about you, and you all are in my heart and the day Jesus will wipe away your tears and ours as well, is very near. God bless you all! I love you!!
    Olga Calhoun

  5. So many people praise you for being so courageous and your words are so uplifting to all of us. I just want you to know we are praying for you and realize the hardest times will be coming soon and it's definitely ok not to be strong all the time! God holds you in His arms and loves you but He also knows you are human and totally accepts you exactly the way you are. His shoulders are big enough to handle all the questions and pain you feel. Don't mean to sound like a "downer" but I know sometimes there is a lot of pressure to be strong and like you said in a previous post that often it's hard to let people see us as we truly are. Brandon's life has touched so many and we pray God will continue to heal the hurt for all of you. Love you all! Dorty and Gil (can't figure out how to sign in anyway except as anonymous)

  6. Hi Carinda,

    You and your family's story is heart-breaking and inspiring at the same time. I recently heard about your bog through Bryan Schlundt, who was interested in becoming a contributor for I'm the Editorial Assistant there. is a new social network for faith experiences. We combine community (like Facebook) with stories of inspiration and faith told through blogs, articles, videos, photos and other media. I'd love to send you more information on becoming a contributor if you're interested.

    I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. Brandon's time on earth was so special and God sure does work in mysterious ways. I admire your strength and honesty. I look forward to hearing from you.


    Amber Dobecka

  7. I agree with Nikki--tears again. We will continue to lift you up in prayer in the weeks and months to come. Thanks so much for sharing with us in spite of the pain. Love you guys!

  8. Carinda, I have been following your blog, and praying for you and your family, and will continue to do so. May the lord hold you in his loving arms and give you strength for the journey ahead.
    Love In Christ...

    Vicky Lishchynsky

  9. Well, I'm crying again too. I am glad to have read the post. I have often lifted your family up in prayer. I too have wondered how you are doing. It seems all normal to me. Keep trying to eat and drink. Brandon was right, you need to eat.
    I pray that you will have the strength to find a new normal, to let the family know it's good to laugh and enjoy life.

    Still praying,
    Debra Whiting

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  11. You don't know me,but a friend suggested I read your blog since we have something in common...we both recently lost our sons. We both chose to hold on to God during the worst storm of our lives. We both chose to write as part of our healing process. My friend told me I would be comforted by reading your blog...and she was right. I will continue to lift your family up in prayers during the coming days, weeks and months. Something good will come from this. Our heavenly Father promised that He would cause ALL things to work together for our good. And He keeps His promises. Praying God's continued peace, comfort and joy over your family.

  12. Hi Carindy! I want you to know that I experienced exactly what you have written about yourself here on this blog and then some. The gift that we have that many others don't, is the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father, and His comforting Word. But, if i can give you some advice, talk to Tim about what is going on inside you, and Tim should do the same. Tell him everything and he, visa-versa. I remember many nights that I talked all night long. I just HAD to get it all out... I must say, that alot of those nights were pretty one-sided. I talked, Uncle Jimmy listened. But we grew closer together, when we could very well have grown apart. God's Grace!
    If you ever need to talk, I'm here.(I don't know why, but I did most of my talking and grieving late at night.) I don't care WHAT time of day or night, call me.
    We love you all. Love, Aunt Ree

  13. I'm one of those "you don't know me, but..." I have just had the over-whelming leading to share some words of a song I heard on the radio on the way in to work as I was praying for you and your family: "When everything falls apart, praise His name; when you have a broken heart, raise your hands and say, Lord You're all I need, You're everything to me, and He'll take the pain away" Praise the Lord that you have and continue to turn to God during this time. You and your family has been an encouragement to me as I read about this tragic occurance that happened to your precious Brandon. You are in my prayers. -from Nashville, TN

  14. Still praying for you all. I think I've cried more this week (including now) than the combined last 5 years or so. My heart is broken for you as we miss your little man. I just had to smile though thinking about siting there at the men & boys retreat with Brandon while we both polished off table scraps, saving all those goodies (like those chicken nuggets today ;) ) from certain disposal. I remember him carrying on with the Brunson boys and having a great time.
    So if you ever need someone to finish off your lunch, just stop by and put it on my desk, and if the girls ever need a hug, send them over too. I so much appreciate you sharing with us your struggle. Our family will continue to lobe on and pray for you often.
    Keith & Velvet Collins