Seventeen years after Alexis Grace

Alexis GraceIf you have tuned into any of these little essays or videos of mine you’ve likely observed that Jessica and I have a daughter that died seventeen years ago. Alexis was three-and-a-half when we lost her, and we’ve thought about her every single day since.

I don’t know why it’s been on my heart to write about her—perhaps some of you need to be encouraged in regards to bereavement and loss, or maybe it’s just part of my ongoing therapy. 🙂 Regardless, I wanted to share a few thoughts seventeen years later.

Jessica and I still miss her daily. There has not been a single day when we haven’t thought of her multiple times, and the emotions are still surprisingly fresh. We are very happy in life and we are probably as healed as people can be after losing a child, but it doesn’t take much digging to have all of the old emotions rush back to the surface. The right sight or smell or memory can very quickly open the floodgates and ruin us.

We don’t understand why Alexis’ life went the way it did. We haven’t been able to make sense of her–or our–pain. There aren’t any neat little platitudes that can put a pretty bow on this part of our life. We haven’t easily moved on. Rather, our recovery has been more like being pulled, barely breathing, off of a battlefield. We’re here and we’ve healed, but we’ll never be the same.

Great good has come from our life with Alexis. She lived up to her middle name in stunning ways and forever introduced us to the amazing grace of God. Our life with Alexis taught us to love people…it focused our priorities on things that truly matter…it filled us with a gratitude for life that has never left us…it bonded Jessica and me in precious and priceless ways…it injected our parenting with a joy and delight that we experience every day with Amber and Madelyn…it made us better human beings…and it brought us into the presence of God.

However, just because good can come from a bad situation it doesn’t necessarily make the bad good. The bad is still bad, and we should always remember that when we comfort or counsel people who have lived through loss. The bad is still bad, and we shouldn’t disrespect people’s pain by only focusing on the good. Having said that, we must also remember that sorrow and death do not have the final word. We are indeed following a God who can create breathtaking mosaics out of the shards of our lives. He’s done that with Jessica and me, and He can do that with you.

Loss will change you, and you might carry a limp forever, but it can also be a portal that opens new horizons and brings you face to face with the eternal, boundless grace of God.



19 thoughts on “Seventeen years after Alexis Grace

  1. I’m going into 30 years since losing Shane and like you say…a smell, old truck, big fish, and the like, constantly stir the sadness, the why’s, the aches, the longing, and the wish. I’d like to think that it’s brought me closer to God but more often than not I have just gone thru the motions …the memories are daily as you state and the anger lurks behind each one. And I know it will never stop.

  2. Chris, I think about Alexis all the time, and really miss her. I write about her when I think about the lives that have affected me. She will always be my little “angel baby”. She made me look at people a bit more like the way Jesus sees them. SO PRECIOUS. SO PERFECT. SO SWEET. SO IN NEED OF HEAVEN! Love you guys madly, and hope to see you in a few weeks!

  3. Terrific post, Chris. Just imagine the wondrous things Alexis is up to now. We love you guys and wish the coming year to be the best ever for you! Tod and Jeanne

  4. Yes and Amen. No words, so true. No doubt I feel always the same, but surely not quite as intense as you both, but Close . Very wise, Chris, very wise I love you all

  5. Astor Chris, thank you for your heartfelt encouragement to those who are going through their trial. Alexis is such a sweet pretty girl. It blesses me your commitment to remember her openly. When I lost my mother, it seemed everyone was uncomfortable when I wanted to talk about her. Your post blessed me beyond words. God Bless you.

  6. Chris, Nancy and I have always said that you have an ‘old’ soul. By that we mean that you are wise beyond your years. Certainly Alexis has a great part in your wisdom. We love you and Jessica!

  7. Simply incredible. I loved every word, as I read it multiple times. What a great family you have. God bless you.

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