I can't 'pray,' and that's OK

I wrote this post tonight—intermittently between helping the kids with homework, wiping my dog's vaginal blood from carpets (for the humor in that, please read my previous blog), attending my son's indoor soccer game and meeting with a Craigslist lady who bought a card table from me. So forgive me if it's all over the place.

OK, I'm not a big "feelings-y" person. I don't like hugging all that much and I'm not great with emotions and crap. I never was. I was raised Catholic and so with that came a lot of praying and repenting and feeling guilty and kneeling and all that. My extended family is pretty big on prayers —from Indiana to the Holy Land and back— boy do they love those prayers! But to be honest, I really don't know how to pray. Yes, I know how to lay in bed and give thanks for my kids, who are healthy and beautiful. I recite the bedtime prayer to them at night. You better believe every time the thermostat dips below freezing, I'm praising the heavens above that I have a house with heat to sleep in. But other than that, I'm not great at that thing called "Prayer."

I go to church every Sunday, and drag the kids along even when they just want to be in their jammies playing iPads. But I persist. I'm determined to get some meaning, some purpose from this twisted ass life I'm in right now. I want to be better at mothering, at friendships, at prayer—but every Sunday I feel numb, like a person simply going through the motions inside that church. I'm standing, kneeling, sitting up—trying as hard as I can to focus. I'm doing my best to get something out of it other than the free donuts afterwards. I don't know if any amount of holy water on this old girl will ever be enough to soften and heal this cracked and broken heart that only dwells on sadness, resentment and grief right now.

That was until I got a sign.

The past couple weeks I have been feeling so angry that I'm here doing this alone and he's not here. I have questioned my faith a lot, wondering why my husband got this shit hand—what did he do to deserve death so early? Why couldn't it have been me?

Then last night after the kids were in bed, I took the dog out. I stood in the front yard staring into my bedroom window, where my husband's last breaths were taken. And I got angry. I started wondering maybe there's nothing after we're gone. Maybe everything is here in this life, and we only have this brief amount of time to live and love. How unfair and sad and crappy is that? Then I started to think that if that's true, then my husband is just laying there in that box—being nothing anymore. I started sobbing. I kept saying over and over that it wasn't fair. This isn't fair. I went to bed crying and mad at the world, mad at God, mad at myself for so much time wasted in this stupid, unfair life.

This morning on the way to school, I got the usual amount of questions, but especially about dad today. They always want to know everything I don't have answers for—where is he? what is he doing? can he see us? are dogs up there, too? One of the twins said she hopes that she will turn back into a child when she dies so that daddy will recognize her. I told her that daddy will absolutely know her no matter how old she is. I told them that maybe daddy would be able to see our baby that I miscarried several years ago. This was big news to them, and they wanted to know if it was a boy or a girl and what was its name and how old was he or she. I told them I didn't know, but maybe daddy knows now.

It wasn't 45 minutes later that I got a text from a friend I haven't seen all that recently. She's one of those praying friends. She'll pray up a storm for everyone in Kentucky no matter who they are or what they believe. She texted me, "...I was praying for you this morning and the kids. I just saw Matthew in heaven with a child and he was so happy. Did you have a miscarriage?... I believe he is up there with that child and they are waiting on all of you."

Like I said, I don't like feelings and mushy crap. I'm skeptical and I'm a big 'Negative Nelly' most days. But my eyes welled up with tears because I don't know how at that moment she would have known I needed to know about him. I needed to know he was OK and that I was wrong about him just being in that box six feet under. All the tears of sadness and anxiety I cried last night must have been heard.

I can't pray to save my soul y'all, but I can sure as hell cry. After reading her text, I looked at the prayer card I taped to the fridge last week—it came in the mail from a complete stranger. It reads, "Tears are prayers too. They travel to God when there are no words to speak."

That's when I realized—I'm killing this shit called "Prayer."

This post was excerpted and published here at Today Parents on Feb. 1, 2018.
This post was also published Feb. 19, 2018 here at the Kathy Lee and Hoda Facebook page.
This post was also published May 9, 2018 here at Stephanie J Thompson: Learn to Discern.
This post was also published Feb. 8, 2018 here at Fabiosa.


  1. Thanks for sharing. I am having a hard with thinking about family members that have passed include my papa who was a big part of my life. I too question my God and I am struggle with my faith. I hope one day I will have that kind of moment like you

  2. This is so amazing and such a testimony that God has it all figured out! I’m so happy you got reassurance when you needed it! He is watching over you!

  3. My friend sent me this article this morning. I lost my husband 2 months ago and have a 4 year old and 18 month old twins. I was just sitting outside crying because that’s what I do every morning at 6 am. The twins are awake right now calling out for Daddy from their cribs. I am really struggling. I know it’s weird but could you reach out to me so I can talk to you and you could give me some ideas to help me get through the day. My email isdebbiebradley911@hotmail.com. I too am killing this prayer S**t with my tears.

    1. Debbie, I’m so sorry for you too. This breaks my heart. I know your grief. Let people around you help you and lift you up when you just can’t anymore. I know it’s sucks, trust me, I know. Please be strong for your babies. Carry on for them because they only rely on and look to you in this time of sadness and confusion. The reward, I hope, will be getting to paradise someday reunited. Regards and hope to you in your despair. Thanks for finding me, Andrea

  4. Andrea I am sorry for your great loss. God does give us signs! Beautiful signs for sure! (If you haven't already name your baby in heaven.) I hope and pray too, your parish (church) community is there for you and your children. I can't imagine life without being Catholic. Hugs and prayers to you and your beautiful children.

    1. Thanks for your kind words😘

      I like to think that baby’s name was Gabriel πŸ™

  5. I have not walked in your shoes but I have gone through life tragedies and turmoil. My heart aches and I feel for you during this tribulation with the pain and grief you are going through. I have a almost 4 year old son and a 10 week old daughter I can only imagine not only your agony but then your heart breaking for your children as you try to figure out to live. You are a strong, courageous woman who will learn day by day how to live again it will take months even years to get there and even years down the road you will have days that you must talk yourself into getting out of bed that day. And that is okay! The reason why people say that time heals all wounds (I hate when people say this) but the reason why they do. Is because day by day we learn to live with the heartache and after so long it’s not that we have moved on it’s because we have adapted to the way the pain feels we cope through it the rest of our lives. You have to remind yourself every day and in time look forward to reuniting with your husband. When it’s your time to go home. Now you have to be as strong as a brick wall for your children.
    I am a praying person sometimes in my life that was all I had. I will pray for your strength, for god to show you mercy and give you empathy.

    I have never reached out or done anything like this before. I felt guided to do so sincerely

    1. Thanks so much for all the kind words. I hope you are right πŸ˜˜πŸ™
      Thanks for reaching out to me and following my story πŸ™ Andrea

  6. thank you for writing this.. its almost like you are in my head. I lost my husband to cancer 5 months ago. I have 3 kids with the oldest being a senior in high school and our youngest being in 4th grade. I get so lost trying to figure out why this had to happen to him/us. There's so many times I wish I could just talk to him one more time. I got so caught up in taking care of him that I get selfish in thinking that i would rather have him back and still being sick then letting him go. I too also have no idea how to pray and also ask the question why should I pray. What's the point god didn't listen to me when i " prayed " for God to either cure him or at least don't let him suffer. it was good to read this and see and know that someone else feels the same as me and i am not alone in this

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know the pain and grief you feel. Let your friends help you and love on you. I think sometimes God’s love in this world is felt through the kindness and loving attention from others around us. I don’t know what I’m doing either.

      Hang in there and stay strong for your children. You are who they will look to for strength, guidance and love through this.
      As for praying, I find that tears work just as well. He knows your pain. I believe that suffering serves a purpose- far greater than what we can fathom here. I’m comforted by words in a song played at my husband’s funeral: “All that is hidden will be made clear. All that is dark now will be revealed...”

      Regards to you and your family, thanks for following my story. 😘

  7. This is so beautiful! So powerful! Praying for you and your family! I'm a mother of twins too.
    Love and Blessings!


    1. Thanks so much Kelry for your kind words. I’m glad you found me and are following my journey. 😘😘

    2. I found you on today's show website
      Love and blessings!


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