where grace lives


I put that up on Diary’s Facebook page yesterday. Why? Because I needed to hear it. And I figured that I likely wasn’t the only one who did. The response that I got to it, both on the page and privately, made it awfully clear that I was right.

On Friday night, Katie and I drove down to Connecticut for Tuck’s wake. For so many reasons, I will never forget that day — the overwhelming love in that church, the stunning grace and strength with which the Gowens greeted and comforted each and every person who came to offer their condolences, the sheer enormity of the crowd, snaking around and through the sanctuary, out into the entryway, doubled back down the hallway and out into the parking lot. But what has haunted me most since then was a brief, simple exchange between Katie and Tuck’s grandma.

Katie had promised to stay strong for Jeni. Once we were inside the sanctuary, that was what I had asked of her. No tears until after Jeni. She made it. Sort of. As we made our way down the line of family, she couldn’t contain it anymore. A tear slipped down her cheek, followed by another. She tried to turn away so that no one would see her crying, but there was nowhere to hide.

Tuck’s Grandma bent down to her. “I’m Grandma,” she said softly, putting a gentle hand on Katie’s shoulder. “I know it’s sad, honey. There’s no way around it. It just is. But I just want you to know, I’m so glad there’s a YOU in the world.”

The moment stopped me in my tracks. The pure, unadulterated generosity of the exchange was life-changing. In a time of unfathomable pain, Tuck’s Grandma was telling my baby how glad she was that SHE was in the world.

And I got it. All of it.

THAT’S where all that strength comes from. THAT’S where the Grace lives. In spirits who enrich themselves by holding others. That’s it, isn’t it? By giving strength we build our own. By giving love we receive it.

Even in our day-to-day lives, how many of us take the time to say, “I’m so glad there’s a YOU in the world?”

I’m starting today.



I’m glad there’s a you in the world. Yes, you. And I’m asking you to be gentle with you today, okay? I’m asking you to treat yourself as you would a cherished friend. For you are no less deserving of love, care and FORGIVENESS than those who are not you.

You hear me?

I’m talking to YOU.


19 thoughts on “where grace lives

  1. What a beautiful story! I hear you but most importantly you must keep hearing yourself! I’m thrilled that there’s a you in this world!

    I love you,

  2. Jess, I’m glad there’s a YOU in the world. I’ve been trying to remember how i stumbled across your blog, some time after Cymbie was diagnosed. I can’t, for the life of me, remember how I found you. But it doesn’t matter. I did, when I needed it most. Through the Grace of God, we find the people we need in our lives, just in time. And some times, some one has the right words, just when we need them. What a beautiful moment, and a beautiful example of the entire Gowen family, and how they live. Tucker will live on in all of our hearts. He touched so many lives by his strength and Grace. My prayers will continue to be with his family.

  3. Because of you, I was introduced to the Gowen’s story. I was (and still am) in complete awe of how no matter what the day was like, they still seemed to find a little hope and joy during the day. It amazed me and inspired me. Because of them, I decided to take a closer look at my day and find my moments of joy. We have so much to be thankful for, but it is so easy to get caught up in daily life that we forget to just be joyful. A friend of mine in the States and myself (living in Thailand) decided to start a fb page called 3 Moments of Joy. This is just a page for us to all come together and share moments, no matter how big or small, with each other. We are hoping that we can add this little positive space to the internet and hopefully help spread a little joy. Thank you for sharing Tuck’s story and helping inspire so many to take a closer look at their own lives.

  4. I am so grateful there’s a YOU in my world. You’ve given me so much in the years we’ve known each other and my world is richer, bigger, brighter because of it. For YOU, I will be good to ME today– accepting, gentle, patient, forgiving, and I will find laughter. I hope you will do the same. Love you.

  5. That is beautiful, thank you. One suggestion about “being strong”…I think it’s important for kids (and us) to know that it’s aways okay to feel and to cry. Love to you all.

  6. Oh, Jess, I needed this today very badly. Thank you. And I will be sharing the message and its intent with my oldest Aspie. She is struggling to believe this today following a horrible bullying event. We are dealing with her hurt and grief…and as a mother, I am processing my own hurt and grief. I would have asked that my daughters never experience life’s hurts…the cruelty, the disregard, the black moments in life…but, I don’t have that option. The only thing I can do is be there for them when the inevitable happens. I fight for them and their rights, as human beings, as women, and as Aspies. I am heavily pouring the balm of love over her spirit. I am doing every single thing I can think of to counteract the poison that is swirling through her system, causing her to do self-destructive things to her beautiful body. I don’t have the luxury of giving in to my own rage and impotence and guilt. She is the focus. Her survival is the mission. But, in order to carry this load, I do have to remember to take care of myself…so that there is something left of me when we get over this hurdle. I especially love the use of the four leaf clover (I assume related to Luck to Tuck)…my daughter finds them constantly…she even found a five-leaf the other day. It will be extra meaningful. Thank you again.

  7. I know you are aware that I read them all but can’t always comment for sometimes commenting delutes the impact, at least for me. So just know that daddy is always there and has always been so glad the you are in this world. You have always been my world and always will be……

  8. Thank you for the reminder. I often am very hard on myself for what I *wish* I was able to do for my students, their families, and just others in my life. I need to take time to step back and love ME as much as I love THEM. I have gotten better about it…but can always use the reminder…and it is much needed right now.
    Sometimes I saw the wrong things at the wrong times, but with the best of intentions (you know what I’m talking about)…I risk upsetting, offending, hurting, or angering others when that is the last intention that I have. I need to forgive myself for those things…anyone that really knows me, knows that where it came from was of the purest place of love.
    Thank you for YOU Jess…and for the reminders, the stories, the hopes, the GROUP – every day.

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