The Macs

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This weekend was full of graduations and parties.

My brother graduated from college and Joel's sister graduated from high school.

We are so proud of both of them.  They have accomplished so much and are really seeking God as they plan for their futures.  

My eyes flooded with tears at one point during the high school graduation.  The tears just kept coming and coming and they wouldn't stop.  I couldn't help but feel so sad that we would never be sitting through Cora's graduation.  I sat there wondering what Cora would have been like. What would she have accomplished during high school?  What would her talents and passions have been?  What would her character have been like?

That evening I sat and cried to Joel as I told him about all these dreams that I had for Cora that are crushed.  I would never get to see my baby grow up and graduate.  While Joel was feeling sad for the same reasons that day, he gently reminded me of something.  He reminded me that Cora already has been promoted.  Her promotion to heaven is so much more incredible than any high school graduation I could dream up for her here on earth.  She is in the best place she could be--in the arms of our Savior.

But it still stinks to be left here without Cora.  Feeling at times like we are barely surviving. While it was Cora's time to go home, it is not ours yet.  God hasn't completed His work in our lives.  So we keep pressing forward.  Resting in His sovereignty even when we don't understand. And looking to see how we can live for Him even in the midst of grief--until the day when we too receive our "heavenly promotion".  

Many are the plans in a man's heart, 
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

To man belong the plans of the heart, 
but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue...

In his heart a man plans his course, 
but the Lord determines his steps.
Proverbs 16:1,9


Blogger Heather's Home (aka Chez Hez) said...

Jess, Congrats to your brother and Joel's sister on their graduations!

I keep trying to think of the 'right' thing to say...I can't imagine sitting there amidst all of that hope and feel sorrow at what might have been. Cling to Joel's words that Cora has received the ultimate promotion. Cora is there in everything you two do and that will never matter what.

*hearts & hugs*

~ Heather

May 19, 2009 at 10:01 AM  
Blogger Trisha Larson said...

Cora did fulfill her purpose here. Now she will live a beautiful life. She will never have to struggle with all of the issues we face on Earth. She will never have to be sad. She will never be tempted by Satan. She will never know what it feels like to lose a child. She will only know joy. She will always be happy. She's safe and sound forever. It's hard, but ultimately, that's the best gift that a Mommy can receive.

I felt the same way that you do when I lost Nathan last year. I just kept thinking of everything that I will miss and not get to share with him. But it does get better. God will replace the saddness with joy. You will be different a year from now.

Here's one of the best quotes that I've heard since I lost Nathan:

The best way to have Heaven in your home is to have someone from your home in Heaven.

Lots of love to you from a mommy who understands.


May 19, 2009 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Cora's life, her great promotion has helped to lead you and Joel to your greater purpose. The life of your family, the story of your struggles and strength and faith continues to impact the lives of so many.
Thank you again for your candor and courage.
Prayers and tears for you both,

May 19, 2009 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger The Mumaw's said...

Thinking and praying for you daily. She has been promoted to the most ultimate place!!!My students from Lakeview loved your thank you card.
Love, Amy Marinello Mumaw
Pickerington , Ohio

May 19, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Graduation is truly a wonderful time. A time to ponder potential and bask in accomplishments. Cora has fulfilled more in such as short time than most people do in a long life time. You and Joel have as well! You have been promoted too. You are still teaching, you just have a bigger class and more difficult subject matter. But your pupils are eager. Leading all these people and their hearts to love more and be better Christians. That's a tough job and you were choosen specifically because you do it better than we ever could have.

May 19, 2009 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Toni :O) said...

Still praying for you and sending you love and hugs (( )) (( )) (( ))for strength from Michigan.

May 19, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Marla Taviano said...

Prayed for you guys just now. It stinks that each new day has the potential to bring up a flood of new emotions--Cora will never do this. Or this. Or this.

Praying for God to splash His peace all over you today. That you'll truly be able to rejoice that sweet Cora has been spared so much heartache in life. Even though you haven't.

Loving you!

May 19, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger hoosier68 said...

Such honesty and clarity in your thoughts. Cherish your strong husband as he helps you along. Still keeping you in my prayers.

May 19, 2009 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Misty Rice said...

I can understand if a child goes to heaven much sooner than a parented imagined, and they are left behind to attend other children in the family. But it is SO hard to understand why parents of only children are left alone and empty, with the loss of their only child. I am deeply sadden for you.

I cried at my sons kindergarten graduation....

So many people laugh at that stuff (kindergarten graduation), but I cried, because I knew the reality of the situation while sitting there. I knew the reality that some moms and dads will never see their child go to kindergarten. I was sad because those parents sitting during the funny kindergarten graduation, there was a child or children in that very room that may not make it to the high school graduation.... and then college.

Im sad because although Cora is in the best place, you were not there to greet here with open arms too in heaven. She is up there, safe and happy..... but not with her mommy and daddy.

Today.... I pray extra prayers that God continue to get you through each day, and that God bring sunshine into your lives very soon.

God Bless.

PS: But I smile knowing she was promoted, and crowned the highest accomplishment human can receive.... ETERNITY.

May 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger  The Morris Family said...

Your right, your work on earth is not done, and according to the Lord's will, many sweet babies and children can come forth and grow up with such loving parents and you will have opportunity to tell them of their brave and cherished sister that fought a courageous battle and the Lord providentially worked her work in a short time but with great glory unto the Father!!! May He bless your womb!!
(Joel's mommy)

May 19, 2009 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Candice said...

I can see how almost everything must remind you of Cora. Joel had such a beautiful point. What a blessing to have each other to help get you through. Thank you for writing. I hope that our comments offer some support. Love & Hugs.

May 19, 2009 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Lacie and Stephen said...

Wow! What a way to think of it! Right after my daughter died, I had lots of moments that I would cry for what I was missing out on not seeing her do. It does get easier but never goes away. I cried as I read Joel's words. They were so true! I wish I would have realized it like that earlier! *sigh* Someday our work on earth will be done and we will be greeted by our daughters and others who have gone before us. Until then we keep on doing God's work! Thinking of you!

Wichita, Ks

May 19, 2009 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger Trasie Bressler said...

I believe she was promoted with honors.

Many Blessings!!!

May 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger wicker0407 said...

Still praying for peace and comfort for you. Your family and sweet Cora are never far from my heart.
Summer in California

May 19, 2009 at 12:37 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I sat here looking at my computer screen for a long time, trying to figure out what I could say in response to your post. But, I guess I agree with the others: Joel said it best. So, I'll just say that I pray for your family daily and I hope that Joel's words will continue to give you comfort!

May 19, 2009 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

I have nothing to say really.

I can't possibly imagine that pain.

I think of you numerous times a day. I think of how unfair it is that you have to go through this. I pray that God never puts us through it. I pray that He grants you peace and comfort.

It's just not fair.

May 19, 2009 at 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm hoping this doesn't sound trite, but I'm praying for you and think of you so often.

May 19, 2009 at 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Susy M. said...

Congratulations on the graduations but Joel is right on. We are here on borrowed time to hopefully serve the Lord. It is heartbreaking to loose a loved one especially so young and full of life. My heart aches for you both even though you know she is in a better place; you want her with you! God Bless you both!

May 19, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to the tough it must have been...seems though that Joel is as amazing as you are.
there are no words..
You, Joel and Cora continue to be in my heart, my mind and my prayers..


May 19, 2009 at 2:18 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

it has been a while since I popped in...

thank you for reminding me, once again, to rely on the Lord.

And in regards to mothers may not feel like a mother, but you are a mother. Your heart has Cora's prints all over it. You are forever changed. You are a beautiful, beautiful mother.

May 19, 2009 at 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Mammy said...

Precious sister, I stumbled onto your blog a couple of weeks ago and have checked back several times because your courage amazes me. Although I do not know your entire story, I have read enough to know that you are trusting God through one of the most difficult journeys we are ever asked to make--the loss of a child. Please know that I am praying for you and look forward to the day when I can meet you and your precious Cora in heaven. God knows and He cares. Blessings to you today.

May 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I was at that Pitt State graduation! At the Saturday one, at least. Maybe you were at the Friday one.

May 19, 2009 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger LakeLady said...

The "misssing part" is really difficult. It has been 31 years since my son Mark died at age nine. I still have the "I can't stand it days," but through the grace of God they pass. Please belive me when I say, it does get easier with time. Time is a good friend to those with broken hearts. Jess, you are light to others and Cora is a sweet and pure beacon. Please know, I do understand how you feel. ((hugs))

May 19, 2009 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Thank you for sharing what you were feeling that day. I'm crying with you and am so thankful for the way God has allowed you to maintain an eternal perspective in the midst of deep, deep pain. I love you!! You are a blessing.


May 19, 2009 at 4:36 PM  
Blogger jen christians said...

Wow... Your heart... your words... your faith...all amazing...and so is the legacy left by your sweet Cora. Bless you and lots of prayers for you and Joel and you struggle with your loss. I can't fathom that pain.

May 19, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

Congrats to your family on their graduations. I wanted to tell you about a really sweet web site for families who have lost children. If you get a chance please visit
Courtney Mayfield

May 19, 2009 at 5:24 PM  
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Peace of Christ be with you.
Peace of Christ be with you.
Peace of Christ be with you.

May 19, 2009 at 6:01 PM  
Blogger Baylee and Blair's page said...

Congrats to everyone on the graduations! How awesome!

I have been praying my little heart out for you! But, Joel is so right... she had the most wonderful promotion of her life! Even though you miss her and wish for all of these wonderful things... when you get sad... just picture her dancing in heaven with the angels. She is smiling upon you!

Hugs - Tiffany

May 19, 2009 at 6:38 PM  
Blogger Shoebee said...

While reading your post about missing out on Cora's graduations, I was thinking the same thing Joel reminded you. Cora has Graduated. She has had the ultimate Graduation Party.
It is hard grieving. It's during these darkest times that God is the most comforting. Keep you eyes to Him, and seek His comfort.

May 19, 2009 at 7:14 PM  
Blogger The Carroll's said...

I'm so glad that you and Joel still have one another. Praying for you still.

May 19, 2009 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger Sherrie Kulwicki said...

Jess, I too have lost a child and know your pain and loss of the dreams and life you had planned. In Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, he states that he believes we will get a chance in heaven to finish what we started on earth. I think that means you will get to raise Cora in heaven. Isn't that a thought? Nothing lost or wasted in God's economy. Just a little delay. Praying for you, Sherrie

May 19, 2009 at 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are praying that the hollow feeling and painful disappointment will become less severe.
We love you and pray for you every day

May 19, 2009 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger Aimee said...

I love that verse! I have it posted above my desk at work and it keeps me focused on God's plans not my own.

Still praying for you and thinking of you daily!

Aimee in Minnesota

May 19, 2009 at 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

That is one of the most touching and wise things I have read. You will continue to help each other through these times. It is so good to know the truth and be a little comforted by it (maybe more as time goes on), and I think it is good to still be able to say how much it stinks as well. I pray that each day will bring healing, that God will teach you all you need to know and provide you with all you need to have to accomplish all he has for you to do.

May 19, 2009 at 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss...I read your blog and cry and I also read the above blog and cry...your children are so beautiful...the spohrs story is as heartbreaking as yours, and I hope you find some comfort that you are not alone...with love, Kathy

May 19, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger forever folding laundry said...

You're right - she did receive the ultimate promotion. And in her eyes, the time until you receive that same promotion will pass in the blink of an eye.

Still thinking of and praying for you...


May 20, 2009 at 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jess
I applaud Joel on his wise insight of the meaning promotion. It has given me some peace.I have gone to a graduation recently and cried through the whole thing wondering "what if" too. I am a mother who shares your pain and has followed your blog for encouragment. I want to thank you for that. I would love to contact you on a personal basis but not sure how.
Thank you again for your encouragment, openness and constent faith.
God speed

May 20, 2009 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger Beckypdj said...

When I feel those thoughts of what if's or we don't have, creeping in, I tell myself, Peyton has reached his destination before us. We went on vacation a few months after his passing and I wanted him there so much, but I can't take him anywhere better than where he is. I just miss him so much. Hugs to you and Joel.

May 20, 2009 at 11:18 AM  
Anonymous mandi @ it's come to this said...

I know nothing I could say will ever sound "right", but this post reminds me so much of my family. Six years ago, my husband lost his brother (he was two weeks shy of graduating high school). Alot of people made that same comparison that Joel did for you - Even though it's true, it was a hard one to hear ... especially for his parents - they had dreamed of seeing him graduate. BUT & most importantly they had prayed for his ultimate graduation & his ultimate "promotion".

I hope you're still feeling everyone's prayers & support - b/c you definitely have them!!

May 20, 2009 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Karina said...

I have no wisdom, only virtual hugs and an enormous feeling of empathy. That must be because you have a gift for writing; you make your experiences belong to all of us.

I can only think you MUST be going to have more children, or why would you be left behind to endure such torment?

Joel sounds like a wonderful husband, a rock for you. I think of Father's Day around the corner...and how every event seems to tighten the screws on the two of you.

I am so so so so continually sorry for your loss and for your endless sorrow. I wish there was SOMETHING I could do for you. :(

May 20, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My heart simply is broken for you. I just saw your blog today and have a daughter the same age. I just cannot imagine how you feel without Cora. What a beautiful little girl that was so brave. I pray for God's comfort for you. in college, I read a book called "Lament for a Son" about the pain of losing a child. It has been years since I read it, but perhaps there could be some comfort in reading it (it is about a father who lost his college age son). God bless you.

May 20, 2009 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger  The Morris Family said...

There is a little one year old girl in Texas that was dx a few weeks ago with NB, I did not know if you would like to encourage them....I know our family an I am sure yours as well were so grateful for the support with your Cora and our little Joel as they both fought this beast of NB.

I think you have to make password and all, but it should not be too hard, I guess if it does not work I can e-mail you the address again, here is mine,


May 20, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Sarah @ said...

Congratulations to Cora's aunt and uncle on their graduations.

I know I'm a stranger, but I thought of you guys at my sister's college graduation last weekend. I'm so immensely inspired to come here today and see that you are finding a way to rise above the grief and missing, even if in only some small part. I wish I could take it all away.

May 20, 2009 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Natalie H. said...

My brother died in Iraq at the age of 20, two years ago this monday - memorial day. About 6 months after he died, I was at a wedding and in an appropriately happy mood. Then it was time for the mother of the groom and the groom to dance and seemingly out of no where tears began streaming down my face. I realized that I would never get to see my brother dance with my mother at his wedding. And being he was my only brother, my mom's only chance of such an opportunity was gone. All these things - the dream of graduations, marriages are such a loss to those of us left behind. WHERE can our hope be but in Christ? It is only in Him that we will see, hold , and dance with our loved ones again. Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

May 20, 2009 at 10:05 PM  
Blogger Momofgirls said...

You are remarkable! You are so encouraging! I am praying for you, and will continue!

May 21, 2009 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I have been following your journey since January. I have written before - I told you about how Cora's story inspired me to pursue a nursing career. So here is my update. My husband was injured on duty in February (he is a police officer) and he require a major surgery to repair his knee. Immediately following his surgery and the news that he would be out of work for 4 to 6 months recovering, he lost his job entirely. I have been a Realtor for the past 8 years but the current economy has made it extremely difficult to make a living in that field. Some days I think it is just fate: Me being so touched by Cora, my husband being injured and me having to care for him and meanwhile needing to find a new job that would pay the bills...
Anyway - I started back to school this spring and at the same time I started applying to our local hospitals for some practical experience (as well as some tuition assistance) I finally was hired a few weeks ago to a GREAT job in the hospital closest to our home. It is like it was meant to be. I was so afraid I wouldn't be hired or that I would have a long commute but that didn't happen. i was afraid I would be stuck behind a desk but that also didn't happen. I got a job working with the Physical Therapists in the Physical Therapy and Rehabiliation Dept. I get to follow the therapists all day visiting patients all over the hospital in their rooms. I have been in ICU, the ER and every floor in the hospital. I have met some of the most incredible people and have a chance every day to make a difference in someone's life. I love my new job and I am so looking forward to nursing school. I still intend to pursue Pediatric Oncology (because of your darling Cora) or maybe Hospice to help families facing dark days.
I am hoping to make a difference somewhere. I wanted you to know that you made a difference to me. Cora made a difference to me. Her purpose on this earth - to someone who never met her was so very powerful - and I wanted you to know that.
I think of you often and hope for the very best for you. xoxo from virginia - Karen (

May 21, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Amber Bradley said...

I know this might sound crazy...You don't even know me, but I want to share something with you. I have been reading your blog for months. Your lives have touched mine in ways I could never explain. I am so thankful for the impact that your little Cora and you have had on my life and yet I have never met you. I have become a more patient mother and realized in ways never imaginable that I need to enjoy the little moments that are sent my way and be stronger in my faith. For that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I have been touched immensely by your strong faith in our Heavenly Father and his plan for your little Cora. I believe in God and Jesus Christ as well and would like to share something with you if you wouldn't mind. It is like the Bible. It is called "The Book of Mormon." It like the bible was written by ancient prophets. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and has carried me through many trials in my life. I would love to send you a copy if that is alright. I truly believe that one day you can have the chance to raise your little Cora. Some day, on this earth, after our Savior comes again. Please email me if it is okay for me to send it to you. My email address is

Sincerely, Amber Bradley

May 26, 2009 at 5:05 PM  

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