A year of life

It’s my birthday.

I’ve struggled a bit with how to mark this day. Do I celebrate the passing of another year or let it slide by without notice?

It was a long year.

We bought a house. We tangled with the local wildlife. Again. And again. We expanded our poultry flock and lost most of them. We started a garden and lost most of it to the weather and the geese and finally, when I became discouraged, to the weeds.

It was a learning year.

We slaughtered our first chickens. I performed my first surgery on a goose, relieving him of his pain from bumblefoot. I read everything the library had to offer on raising geese and ducks and bees and backyard orchards. We built our first fence. And I learned how to make jelly from the flowers growing wild on our property.

It was a hopeful year.

We bought this property full of dreams for the future. There were dreams for the land, dreams for our family, dreams of what we could do as we labored together. Seeds were planted in the ground and in our lives. New life sprang forth in my womb and I gave birth to a brand new baby boy. The miracle of new life touched our family for the sixth time.

It was a heartbreaking year.

We lost a son. And that seems to overshadow everything else.

But there was so much more to this past year. His first steps. His first words. His delight in the “chickie chickies” and the way he stood down the geese without any fear because Mommy was standing right there beside him. His love for outside, the tractor, “nanies” and his family. His wonder and his joy for the every day that so often made me slow down and think how beautiful life is right now.

And that’s why I can’t say that 36 was a bad year. A horrible thing happened. A horrible thing that has changed me and has changed my family. But my precious little Tiggy was with me for ten of those months and even if I could I wouldn’t trade the beauty of those days to escape the pain of losing all the tomorrows we thought we still had to be with him.

So what kind of year was it, with its ups and downs, joys and sorrows, dreams and heartache? I think perhaps it was a year of life and of learning just how precious that life really is.

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I am so inspired by your strength. I saw the picture of your son…..what a beautiful child. Your words as you describe your connection to your son the love of your children are so powerful- so beautiful they bring me to tears.


I think we can all learn from your hard-earned wisdom.


Happy Birthday Dana! I truly hope you do something nice for yourself today. You deserve it.

Laura @ PatioPatch

This anniversary post puts so much into the perspective of trivial compared to your loss. And yet you still manage to thread in the joys your little boy brought and the way that all the other aspects of life have continued. I hope this does not sound trite but send you and your family all good wishes for a brighter future.

Judy Aron

It was a year of living life, and all the good and not so good that comes along with it. I pray this coming year holds nothing but good things for you and your family. Your posts have been a reminder to us all (at least to me) to count our blessings and find strength in that which we hold dear.


Happy birthday! You are in my prayers every single day. I hope your day is filled with joy.


Yes, it was and I’m so happy that you had that time with Tiggy and that you can look back at the wonder and beauty of that time together and be thankful for it. Still pryaing.


Happy Birthday! I concur with Elena…do something special for yourself today!

What a touching post, Dana. I woke up thinking about you and wanting to wish you a happy birthday. I didn’t know how you would face the day. I’m thankful you found hope in the midst of sorrow and a glimmer of light. I pray that more rays of sunshine illuminate your dreams. You did live in the moment with Tiggy, sharing his delight. Those memories are a treasure. Thank you for sharing them with us. Happy Birthday, friend. There are so many smiles in Heaven for you! You are worth celebrating! Praying you continue to be covered in grace… Read more »

I have been following your blog for awhile. I have been so impressed by your strength. But, this post really just touched me. So well written. Through all your heartache, remember how blessed you are!


Happy birthday, dear Dana. I pray you have a lovely day today. You remain in my prayers.


Oh, Dear Lady . . . to everything there is a season – a season for big party celebrations, and a season for quiet and low key. Thank you for letting us know it’s your birthday – I pray you a year of new, of peace, of walking in His tighter grip.

Kim Buesing

Happy Birthday, Dana! May God continue to give you strength,

Susan Beth
Softly and tenderly I say: Happy Birthday. I am thankful for your life, even though I only know of it from the computer screen. Life . . . is so much more and so much less than we expect. It is why I have come to understand those who long for heaven, and in fact to long for it myself. Not that I want to cut life short, but the lessons will be learned when we get there. The flaws of this world will be perfected. The pain will be gone, and we will know nothing but joy beyond our… Read more »
Jennifer in OR

Happy Birthday, Dana! I loved your remembering of your year and all the special things it held, including Tiggy. God bless you today with new hope.


{{{Dana}}} I do hope you enjoy the celebration of the day! It is the combination of trials and joys throughout a lifetime which refine and grow us into the person God wants us to be and the person that others around us love and treasure. Take a moment to enjoy that blessing! 🙂

Continuing to pray for you and your family,
Tammy ~@~


Happy birthday.

I’ve just started following you and your family but I’ve already learned so much. I think if Tiggy through out the day and while I watch my toddler play.

Life is simply a short moment compared to the eternity we will all spend together. Thank you for sharing your moments. 🙂

Laurie T.

Beautiful, insightful, encouraging post. Please take all your writings and publish them in a book. Please. You are very gifted. The way you share your struggles and pain can help so many people. Thank you for letting us see.

Ali Workentin
Dana I have thought of you the last couple of days and wondered how you were doing. A friend of ours had a dear friend who lost their little girl at 64 days old due to a birth defect and she was asking me what meant the most to me after our son died. I told her what meant and still means the most to me is when people ask me how I am doing? Mention Royce by name to me. Even after so many years it means so much to have people ask about me and him. I am… Read more »