Of Tulips and Death | A Mother’s Journey, part 1

My mom struggled.

She struggled with self-worth, body-image, and health fears.

She struggled with obedience to God and what that looked like in her real life and her day-to-day choices.

She had two kids and then her third baby, Laura, was born very ill and died as an infant. And my mom wept.

She felt her empty arms ache and she wrote about it. She journaled.

And she journaled as she got pregnant again and then was so very scared. Scared this baby would be sick too, never again taking for granted a healthy baby.

And then she had a healthy baby. Then a baby with Down Syndrome. Then twins. Then another baby.

And then, when she was pregnant with her last baby, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a C-section and a mastectomy in the same surgery.

And then she died.


I’ve been reading her journals, and I think her ponderings and her wrestlings need to be read more widely. They’ve remained hidden in her journal for thirty years, but now I’d like to share them with you, bit by bit.

I hope you watch a woman grapple with God and faith and loss and I hope you’re encouraged.

If you’ve felt or thought the same things, I hope you see that you’re not alone, and that it’s possible to cling to faith even when that’s the only thing left to cling to.

~ Jonathan Mark Trotter, Kerry’s son


~~~~~~~~~~ August 9, 1986 ~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve been thinking about the different rates that we “come into bloom,” “reach our potential,” whatever. If the US Government says our life span is 70 years, then I probably will have 70 years to reach my potential. And yet isn’t the early bird always the one who everyone applauds? With children, it’s the early walker, early talker, etc., but with adults it’s the early financial success, the early doctor, lawyer, etc.

Is this how God wants us to view achievement? Is this even achievement in God’s sight? I hope not, since at age 32 I haven’t achieved much by the world’s standards. No great job, no great income, no great status. Just a wonderful husband, two beautiful kids and a nice home! And I’m so influenced still by the world’s value systems. God help me!

Different flowers bloom at different times of the year. The tulips are beautiful in the spring, June brings roses, August the wildflowers and Autumn brings mums. Is one more beautiful than the other because it blooms earlier?

I want to see my life from God’s perspective, not just from the short-term point of view.

I don’t know if this is possible.


At my mom’s funeral, I read this first page from her journal. And then I added a son’s reflections. If you’re interested, it starts around the 34-minute mark.