remembering to believe

Ed note: I asked Luau to read the following before I hit publish. He had two comments: 1) People who don’t know you might find the first part a little self-indulgent and 2) You’re getting kinda religious in your old age.

I decided I was fine with both. 


Yesterday, I couldn’t write. I just couldn’t. My heart was too heavy, my soul too damned tired. I was angry. I still am. Because as hard as I try, I don’t get it. I just don’t understand how there can be some cosmic plan that includes taking an eighteen year-old kid from this earth. I just don’t. And I want to tell God that it’s a load of crap. That he can’t need THIS kid. Or at least not right now. That’s it’s not fair. That it’s not right. That it just doesn’t make sense.

Some of you told me not to write. To take a break. And I thought about it. I thought about turning inward for a day or two. And I kind of knew that it wasn’t really going to happen. But I thought, well, maybe.

But then I read THIS . And I got to the part where she said this ..

Whenever I hit a bump in life’s twisty road it makes me feel SO STRONGLY connected to all of you. So GRATEFUL for you. For this community of women, because even though I can’t have you on my couch, I have you. I can feel it.  I know that you face the same things I do, so I don’t feel alone. I love you so MUCH for that.

I stopped breathing for a second because I swear I could have written that and I said Oh My God, YES. I get that. Not even just I Get That but I AM That.

Because you see, I come to THIS place – our place where we all gather together – for you, yes, but so too I come for ME. I come to this place because there’s magic here. There’s understanding and support and strength – Good Lord the strength! – and there’s Me Too! There’s acknowledgement and there’s I Get That and there’s I Am That and there’s Love. There’s pure, unadulterated LOVE.

There’s love for each other, and love for our children, and love for humanity and for this whole messy, spinning ball of people – the ones we know and the ones we don’t know and the ones we agree with and the ones we vehemently, adamantly disagree with – and it’s all okay here because above it all, there’s LOVE.

So I come here to this magical place and I pull the threads apart and I lay them out on the table and marvel at their colors, their textures, and above all – above everything else – the way they all weave together to create this incredible quilt that would never, ever be as beautiful were all its threads the same.

So I come here. For better, for worse, for all the stuff in between, I come here. I come here because it’s here that my spirit finds comfort – with you. So I come. And I pull apart the threads and I tell my silly little stories and my big scary stories and together we muddle through it all and somehow we make sense of all of our stories together.

Today, this is my story …

Today I tell you that my baby girl played that damned clarinet. Remember the clarinet? The one that she picked up when I was busy being afraid? The one that reminded me that faith – in her, in all of us – matters most? That one.

She played that thing, my friends. A note. And then another note. And then Hot Crossed Buns were hot and crossed and she was PROUD of herself. Really, really, truly stinkin’ damned proud of herself.

And she did it because Ms J wouldn’t let her give up. Because she knew – she KNEW what Brooke HAD INSIDE OF HERSELF. Because while I was busy being afraid she was busy believing. And she sprinkled that belief – that FAITH on my girl. And she saw her through her tears (yes, there were tears) and she said, ‘I believe in you.’ And she gave her a break (because she needed a break) and she took her out of the room and she let her get a drink (because she needed control and she needed to stop and she needed to breathe) and then she said, ‘We’re going to try again. Because I believe in you.’

And my girl said ‘I can’t’ and Ms J said ‘I never want to hear ‘I can’t’ again’ and she told her that she BELIEVED in her. And she told her that they knew that this was going to be hard but that was okay because she can do hard things and then she DID. SHE DID. She made a note – a real, live note – and then she made another one and then she crossed those hot damned buns and she was so PROUD of herself because she DID IT. And Ms J said. ‘See? I told you you could. You can do anything.’

And she DID.

And I’m telling you this story because it’s so not about that damned clarinet. It’s not even about Brooke or Ms J. It’s about believing and knowing that it’s okay to try hard things because we can do hard things. It’s about taking breaks and walking away and taking control and coming back to try again. It’s about climbing mountains and standing on top of the world and being proud that we got there. It’s about teaching the RIGHT WAY – with respect and love and empathy and belief that anything is possible.

That’s it, really, isn’t it? It’s really just about remembering to believe.

About remembering that we don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step. About remembering to believe that God’s plan is far bigger than anything we can fathom. About remembering that we are so, so much smaller than we think we are. And He or It or All Of It is so, so much bigger.

And that if we let ourselves believe, anything is possible.

Dont’ believe me?

Jeni posted this on Luck2Tuck last night.


I asked her if I could share it here. She said, “Share away! It made me so happy!”

She said that Aisling saw it and knew that it was her brother, flying around in the night sky.

“Playing the clouds,” I said.

I showed the picture to Katie. I pointed to the shooting star. I told her how happy it had made Jeni. She looked at me sheepishly, her eyes filling with tears. “Mama,” she said, “last night, right before I fell asleep, I wished on the first star I saw. I wished that Mrs. Gowen and Mr. Gowen and Tuck’s siblings could find a way to be happy. Do you think … Do you think that Tuck heard me?”

I smiled at my girl. My sweet, aching girl. “Yes, baby,” I said. “I sure do. And I think he found a way to make it happen.”

It’s amazing what can happen ..

When we remember to believe.

*Ed note: The photo credit should actually be Michael Mastrioanni, not Bob. I’m just going to say “If you’re a Mastrioanni, consider yourself thanked.”


22 thoughts on “remembering to believe

  1. We must believe and hope everyday, every second of everyday. I know that every butterfly that I see that lingers to long, that comes way too close is my son telling me that it is all going to be alright……we have the strength of a million universes my friends you just have to believe.

  2. Tears. Beautiful writing again. The first part made me think, “Where would I be if there was no internet, no blogs?” Figuring out autism is hard enough. Without this wonderful, accepting, affirming, educating, LOVING community…..who knows. I believe, you help me believe, you remind me to believe.

  3. FIRST, I adore you too. (stole that from Jennifer B. above 🙂 ) SECOND, Wow, Wow, Wow…. So beautifully spoken and so incredibly true.

    And, to Tuck’s beautiful family, prayers of healing, comfort and peace…

  4. Thank you “Diary Of a Mom” I came across your page through Tucker. And I have to say I was right in the same boat as you all day. Feeling trampled over by the sadness of the loss of this beautiful soul. Tucker and I were treated both in Boston at the Dana Farber. However for some very unknown reason God decided to spare me my life at the age of 31 . I spent the whole day beating myself up and praying that I could come to an understanding of why he had to take Tucker . And why Cancer didnt take me this time . It was a rough day, but immediately when I saw that picture everything flipped around. ” Thank you Tuck , I said” I get it now . Im going to be okay and so is Tucker . God Bless you , I can only imagine that you and your family are quite amazing people. Melanie Butler – Middlebury ,CT( STage 2B /2 year cancer survivor, and mom )

  5. Pingback: What I was Going To Tell YOU… | Mama's Turn Now

  6. Thank you Jess! This is just what I needed today! I have been really feeling alone and this reminds me that no matter what I’m not really alone. Thank you so much!

  7. ‘teaching the RIGHT way.’ that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? whether we’re parents, aunts, uncles, friends or actual teachers. when we take the time to LOVE our students they LEARN. they all do, because we show them they CAN. real teachers know that. we call them ‘moms’ and they are our first teachers. hats off to brooke’s music teacher and every one of her team and to you, jess. thanks for sharing your life with us. i don’t know about everyone else but i am becoming a better parent and teacher from reading about katie and brooke. hugs to you all at this time.

  8. Hi Jess, Sorry I missed you this weekend. I just wanted to say, I am so glad you did “hammer down” and write!! Your writings are an amazing gift. Tucker’s dad delivered the eulogy in a moment of strength I have never experienced. A community like this onad the one around Tucker can bring great strength. Father Joe said, ‘the best way to honor Tucker is to pick one positive way to make the world better and comit to it'” You make this community batter in so many ways! Keep writing…hammer down! Love you!

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