There’s always something to howl about

The Part You Give Away

Waits sings about The Part You Throw Away, and I did plenty of that once, but today, it’s about the part you give away.

For many reasons, I’ve been hesitant to discuss this except in the most general terms. It feels both invasive and self-indulgent to discuss my personal life here, but this post is about the part you give away.

I have a child who has been in and out of the hospital most of the summer, and she’s back there again. I’m not sure which is more strange- having a child in the hospital or, knowing exactly what to pack for the stay, and getting it packed in 20 minutes.

Things happen. We deal. And we deal. And we deal. And each time we deal, we grow stronger.

A mother becomes tempered steel, because she’s given away so much of herself that what is left, perhaps all that is left, is the very best. She’s dumped all the baggage, everything worthless, useless. What’s left is her essence.

I am now inside out. Stronger than I was two months ago, reduced and forged to my very essence.

I don’t want pity. I don’t want anything really, except to show you, and myself, that the part you give away is the part that creates the most strength and beauty in life.



16 Comments so far

  1. Jeff Brown July 26th, 2009 6:28 pm

    Since were promised He’ll never give us more than we can handle, He must know you’ve been tougher than steel all along. Our prayers are ongoing.

  2. Erion Shehaj July 26th, 2009 7:51 pm

    I’m reading this as my son (9 months) sleeps next to me and I can only imagine what you are going through. My prayer will have a special request tonight…

  3. Paula Henry July 26th, 2009 7:51 pm

    Teri – Only a mother can know and understand being inside out with only the essence (of what we were) left. Whatever you and your child are facing right now, I wish you continued strength and prayers.

  4. Greg Swann July 26th, 2009 8:55 pm

  5. Thomas Johnson July 27th, 2009 6:32 am

    You are in our prayers.

  6. Eric Blackwell July 27th, 2009 7:55 am


    You know how I feel about you and Jamie and your family. Team Eric sent some prayers your way…

    You are amazing. I know you didn’t ask for that, but you need to hear it and you deserve it, so I am calling it as I see it. 😉

    Best as always


  7. Russell Shaw July 27th, 2009 12:13 pm

    Beautiful. The post, you, your daughter and especially the picture.

  8. Don Reedy July 27th, 2009 2:10 pm

    There are probably no more than a dozen photos over my lifetime that erase everything but love.

    You two are so beautiful.

    In the Bible Jesus says “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” This picture is the Father’s great love, come to life through you and your daughter.

    You and your family remain in our prayers.

  9. Dan Connolly July 27th, 2009 6:01 pm

    Wow, very touching photo. Our prayers are with you both.

  10. Doug Quance July 27th, 2009 7:26 pm

    It is times like this that I appreciate the Internet.

    Godspeed to a full and lasting recovery.

  11. Brad Coy July 28th, 2009 1:13 am

    Bittersweet this life. So natural. So amazingly bright.

    Very touching. All of my best and continued blessings.

  12. Kim Wood July 28th, 2009 6:51 am

    I feel a special bond to your daughter.
    Seems like I *just* talked to you – I hate to see she is back in there again.
    I send my thoughts & prayers – for your toughness. It’s hard stuff on a Mom’s heart.

  13. Michael Price July 28th, 2009 10:49 am

    Our oldest spent quite a bit of time from the age of 5 to 17 in and out of hospitals, sometimes very close calls (asthma). My wife amazed me at every turn, without that same steely resolve, perfect timing and ability to learn about every last aspect of our daughter’s disease, she wouldn’t have made it. My wife did more than any doctor to help my daughter, including keeping me sane and grounded when it seemed like too much to bear. I stand in awe of women like you and my wife.

  14. Tom Bryant July 28th, 2009 8:12 pm


    This transplanted Buckeye sends best wishes and prayers to your daughter, you and your family. Loved the photo; it’s so….uplifting.

  15. Geno Petro July 30th, 2009 12:43 pm

    please be well

  16. Beverly Henson July 31st, 2009 8:36 am

    Hey. Well said.
    I can see the love. I can see how much you mean to her…and her to you…just by looking at the picture. The picture is all about unconditional love.
    I know it’s unimaginally hard. My sons have both been in the hospital for surgeries and stuff and that was hard enough to turn me inside out. (not to mention what it did to them) I love that you crawled right up in bed with her….hospitals are so scary ( and so is the food….)and, it’s so obvious that you two are meant to be with each other. Just keep on keepin’ on , girlfriend, and WHATEVER you do, don’t say “what else can happen?” God bless.