Blakely passed away at 5:15pm on February 18th and in that moment, everything went dark. In Blakely’s final moments I was scared. In Blakely’s greatest moment of need, her earthly daddy was completely helpless. I could not save her – I could not rescue her. In Blakely’s final moments I felt emptied and poured out. Death was like a black hole sucking all the life out of the room – it felt powerfully dark.


Moments after Blakely died I found myself asking these questions, “God where are you? God where is Blakely?” It felt quiet and it felt lonely. I felt disconnected and separated.

Death is like scissors that cut through relational ropes that bind us together. Blakely is separated from me. I don’t know where she is and I am not completely sure where God is either.


I remember in the first minutes after Blakely’s death feeling this weight wash over me. I could almost here someone audibly speak in my ear, in a mocking voice, “Michael, don’t you see, life is meaningless. Michael, don’t you see Blakely doesn’t matter”. Those whispers haunt me, they paralyze me in fear and fill my head with doubts. Throughout this whole process with Blakely I have often asked God, “Is life meaningless?” More times than not, I could hear God calmly say, “Life matters, I created it, it is good.” But in Blakely’s death I fully felt a crumbling of all I believed, as I saw life being stripped away. It was crushing. In those moments I was so unsure of God, faith, Jesus and the meaning of life. I wish I could say I never wavered but I most certainly did. I completely failed. I was scared. I was shattered. I was extremely weak.


For the first time on the dark night of February 18th, Emily and I would leave the hospital without Blakely. We left the hospital without a stroller, without a car seat and without Blakely’s clunky medical cart. Death swallowed all of it up and left us with memories that right now, make us cry. How cruel and how mean death is to those it affects.

The next morning the sun came up as it did the day before and it was bright. The sky was crystal clear and the weather was amazing. It was like creation was mocking us and laughing at us for being sad. It hurt to be in the bright sun when my heart was locked in a cave. It felt like death was re-telling the story of the world and the story of my life and the story of Blakely’s life. It felt like death was taking all that I believed to be true and twisting it into lies. It took my favorite memories of Blakely and my favorite pictures of Blakely and turned them into painful reminders of what is gone.


I often found myself angry at God again. I know what he says about life, about me, about Blakely and about this world but it feels like death is winning. Death seems to be emptying this world and this life of its purpose. If only I could know where Blakely is right now, if only I could see Jesus and feel the wholes in his hands and feet then I will know that God wins, but right now, it is really dark and it feels like death has the upper hand.

I have been convinced that darkness is real and that death is powerful. Death is more powerful than me. Death is more powerful than Blakely and death is more powerful than this world. Death will swallow us all up and it is scary.

“God, where is my beloved daughter?”

“God, where are you?”


8 thoughts on “Darkness

  1. Dearest Michael and Emily…….I go to Shindler with Buddy and Liz…actually sit beside her in choir. I have followed your blogs which amazed me during Blakely’s short but beautiful life. You exhibited FAITH in God for her, but now find it almost impossible to trust Him now with your life. I connect with you here. I trusted God for the care of my husband, but struggle still with doubts….are you there? Do you hear me? Do you care? I have no particular answers for you, just to tell you to “hang on”…….and hang on, don’t quit now. He promised us so many good things and we have to keep confessing them. I am not “there” yet and JC (husband) will be gone 3 years on April 11. Force thankfulness if you have to. I weep with you and am praying for you and Emily. Sunday’s coming!

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  2. The heartbreaking journey of your family is unimaginable. I first learned of Blakely’s story at your baby brother’s 12th birthday party. As the kid ran & played, your mom shared her pain & concern. So many of us prayed for a miracle – that your precious girl be healed before birth, that the diagnosis be a mistake. I am so so sorry that our prayers were answered in a different way. I have told you several times of the impact that your beautiful girl, your gut wrenching blogs, the faith & strength you & Emily have demonstrated have had on me & my kids……but I will just tell you today that I love you all, my girls & I pray for you daily & we pray for the return of Jesus so all the pain & losses of His people will be redeemed.

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  3. Oh, precious Michael…how my heart breaks for you and Emily! I cannot begin to imagine how it must be for the two of you to walk this path God has placed before you…but I know you do not walk alone….your family walks with you…not just your biological family, but the family God has formed for you to surround you. Thank you for being so transparent…you are lives by so many and I pray God will assure you and Emily of that love….and that He will reveal Blakely’s glorious place in His presence to you, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Hugs and prayers for you. 💗

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  4. I feel that pain, I feel that darkness, I am still navigating myself back to God. I’ve asked the same questions. I have no words of spiritual enlightenment. In fact they would feel like a slap in the face at a time like this. Losing a child is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It may be the most painful experience in life. You’ve lost an actual piece of yourself. You lost an innocent life, and that seems so unfair. All I know is right now I can only press in, and cover my face and my tears with his garment. Right now my questions have subsided. For now. I am just pressing in. It’s all I can do.


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  5. Oh, how my heart aches for you and Emily. I can only imagine the pain and emptiness you both feel. Please know that you are dearly loved and covered in prayer every day.

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  6. Dear Michael and Emily,
    You are truly going through that Good Friday and Holy Saturday moments feeling the true power of death that those who loved Jesus experienced on those dark days. God knows how you are feeling. You are in that in between time that Holy Saturday time, which for us lasts longer than Easter Sunday, which for us seems to last intil we join the saints who have gone before, when you will join Blakely in being complete in God. When the true Easter joy comes, we not only know that true joy of seeing Jesus face to face, but we are reunited with those whom we have burried, whom we have laid in the tomb, whom we have entrusted to God’s care. We are blessed in a way that those earlier followers of Jesus were not because we know death, although very powerful does not win, that Jesus defeats death for us and is raised from the dead and because of Jesus we too will be raised to new life in Christ Jesus. That promise is all we can cling to in the times we experience the tomb, the power and darkness of death. My prayer for you is that you can feel God’s love for you and cling to that Easter promise in the midst of your sorrow, in the midst of your pain. May you trust that your brothers and sisters in Christ have faith in the promise especially at time where you might not be able to see, feel, or believe in the promise. May you know how much you are loved even by those of us who have only met you through your writing. May the Easter joy of resurrection begin to bring you peace as it slowly reclaims the power over death and sin and brings light into the darkness.

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  7. This is such a wilderness of grief for you both of you precious Mommy and Daddy.
    We pray that a sweet freshness of grace and comfort hold you.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your pain and doubt. May God bless you with faith to keep believing in Him no matter what. “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). He understands. He is compassionate toward you. May you be comforted today by His presence as He draws you to Himself. Amen.

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