The New Normal

Just to clear things up, I might have used the title “The New Normal”, but I don’t like it.  Nothing will be normal again.  That’s just the honest truth.  In counseling with my Pastor, one thing that he so wisely told me was that as a family, we must be INTENTIONAL in finding what is normal for our family.  If we do not, our days will turn to months and before we know it, our normal will be set for us.  We might not like what we become.  As Jay and I have talked, we both have agreed that we will be a family that always talks about Trey.  We will laugh at his obsessiveness with organization and cry when we hear a worship song that we know was his favorite.

Today marks one month since Trey went to be with Jesus.  Like I said in a tweet, it seems like one day ago.  Jay asked me this morning if I was okay and I said no, I am not.  I will not be OKAY for a long time. But I understand that part of the process.  It’s a waiting process for our bodies to heal.  We do not know how long that waiting process will be.  It might be 6 months (doubt it) or it may be years.  I’m leaning toward years.  But I have to share one thing that Trey shared with our Pastor during their talks.  When Pastor Fowler would ask Trey is there anything that I can pray for you, Trey would ask for prayer for Jay and me (and Collin) and for our strength to be able to endure after his death.  Trey and I had many MANY emotional crying moments that Trey would express to me how worried he was about us.  I told him many times that we were fine and that God was taking care of us just as He was taking care of Him and he did not need to doubt God.

Jay and I return to work tomorrow, Collin starts 7th grade at Collierville Middle tomorrow, Collin has football practice every afternoon this week (for which I am team mom again this year), our church has promotion Sunday next week with the opening of our new student center, our youth choir kicks off the year with a retreat this coming weekend, and our adult choir has kicked off its new year. My senior girls Sunday School class has a project to finish for the prayer room of the new student center by next Sunday AND they also start school tomorrow.  PHEW! Oh, wait, our 21st wedding anniversary is Friday!  Somewhere in there Jay and I will pay bills, continue to file on insurance policies, deal with the funeral home, write acknowledgment notes, send thank you cards, and find time to be JAY, LISA, and COLLIN.

I was on my way to meet Jay and Collin for dinner Friday night and the song While I’m Waiting by John Waller came on The Message – Sirius Radio.  These words hit me like a brick between my eyes and I just had to lift this song in prayer to God.  It describes EXACTLY how I feel.  I think the waiting is actually being able to turn a corner and smiles be more than tears; to not have the elephant sitting on your chest anymore; and, actually sleep through the night without hearing him call your name out from upstairs.  Jay and I know these days will come.

Julianne and I were talking about the different scriptures that have been sent to us during this time.  My favorite verse has always been Isaiah 40:31.  “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  They will mount up as eagles on wings; they will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint.”  I cannot count the number of times I have been sent this verse.  Julianne and I talked about how we become desentitized to the word of God.  In my grief and frustration, I have often thought if one more person sends me this verse I’m going to tattoo it on their forehead for them to walk through. (If you know me well, you gotta laugh.)  What this has taught me is to remember that ALL scripture, remember ALL scripture is the inspired word of God and in my darkest moment, God will bring this verse that I know so well to my mind and it will comfort Jay and me because so many have thought to share His word with us.

Tomorrow is not only the first day of school for Collin, but the first day of school for many of Trey’s friends and what would be the beginning of Trey’s junior year.  The Collierville High junior sponsor and I have already talked this last week and she knows to keep me in the loop of everything that is going on at CHS.  Our son may be gone, but we will not let him be forgotten.  We pray for an extra measure of success for the junior class this year!  There are so many that we love dearly.  I talked to Coach O’Neill today and we attended the football scrimmage on Friday.  You will NOT keep us away from the Dragon football games.  That was Trey’s team, that is OUR team, and we will be there with Trey’s last year’s jersey on, his button with his picture on it, and KNOW that Trey will be coaching his team from heaven (yelling CATCH THAT BALL!).

So you see, our lives are full.  The challenge will be how we choose to handle each activity.  We know that we will need to rely on friends just as we have since the end of February.  OUR PRAYER is for as we return to work and Collin returns to school, we will be able to minister to Collin in the way that he needs.  He will be coming home to an empty house each day and this hurts my heart.  He will not admit it, but I know that first day when he walks in to yell Hey Trey and there is no response, his little heart will sink.  So please pray for Collin.

CHALLENGE:  My challenge for you is the same as it is for me.  That we will continue to serve, worship, and be obedient to our Lord no matter what our circumstances might be.  For who will receive the glory if we are? HE will! Who will receive the blessings? WE will!Image

While I’m Waiting by John Waller

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord


33 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Yesterday I participated in Purple Stride in Columbus,OH- it’s a pancreatic cancer fund raiser. We observed a moment of silence and I prayed for your family. I have followed your blog for months and have cried many tears over Trey’s journey and his passing.

    I was diagnosed with a rare pancreatic cancer over a year ago. I am one of the lucky/blessed/unheard of people. I am cancer free. I had the Whipple surgery last July and had a very difficult recovery but I still praise the Lord every day that I am still hear. I felt so guilty yesterday. There were people there who are smack dab in the middle of their fight, there were people who have had there entire pancreas removed, and there was one man who had the Whipple three weeks ago. He was amazing! I was telling one lady, who just found out her cancer has returned, about my good prognosis. I told her a felt bad even telling her. She said an amazing thing. She said it’s good to hear the good stories and that it gave her hope.

    I know that you have hope. You have hope that you will see Trey again and I have no doubt that you will. I may never meet you on earth but know that I think and pray for you often. All I have to do is say Trey’s name and my friends no exactly what I’m talking about.

    May God bless you as you intentionally seek a new “normal”.
    Love in Christ,

    • I love that! Great idea! 🙂 And yes, as others have said, please don’t stop sharing your story and thank you so much for sharing your journey. We will all continue to pray for your family.

  2. so beautiful. as i thought it would be..trey will be there for his brother in a very special way. collin will never be alone…you keep posting as i do believe trey is there with you as you do so..i could never even think about what you all are dealing with..and i know i am blessed to have my children healthy and happy…but so is trey…that does not help the feelings we have as parents..but i do know he is there with you and your family as you all deal with his loss here on earth….i do believe you will see him again. and before that happens you have one very special person looking over you all..much love..penny

  3. Lisa, while I don’t know you personally, I have followed Trey’s story. When you have time, look on Facebook and go to Mercedes’s Story.
    I don’t know this family either but every time I read a post from Mercedes’s mom, I think of you. I feel you two will connect since Mercedes went to heaven in February. God bless you, Jay and Collin.

  4. Lisa, My heart aches for you, Jay, and Collin. Each time I read one of your blogs, my heart feels the presense of the Lord. Ya’ll will be in my prayers for many moons to come. Trey will not be forgotten. God Bless all of you.

  5. Lisa, I understand your frustration with the “new normal”. I’m still trying to figure that out too after the lose of my husband 14 months ago. My kids are grown & have kids of their own so their lives are full and they look forward to “alone” time. My life is lonely and the house is empty and I don’t like my new normal either. It’s just a very hard and rotten place to be but you will find yourself calling out the name of Jesus, you will cry at the oddest things, and each day that passes you will have your up moods and your down moods. You just have to learn to go with it all. My grief with my husband’s death can’t even compare (in some ways) to the grief of losing a child but I believe in so many ways the so called “process of grief” is the same. Take your time and don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or how long your grief should last. It will never end…you will love Trey forever. That will love will never change. Be kind to yourself and if things don’t get done when someone thinks they should, give yourself some slack. Your body, mind & spirit have gone through a trauma. Trey may have been the one suffering with the cancer but you, Jay & Collin suffered with him. You may find that your body just doesn’t respond like it did before Trey received his diagnosis. God does such an amazing job of protecting us during the most stressful times of our lives but it takes time for our bodies to heal from that stress. It is truly a moment to moment process right now so give yourself those moments. I’m so glad you are counseling with Pastor Charles. He’s amazing & God has given him such wisdom. I will pray for you, Jay & Collin as settle back into day to day existing…because right now that is how it probably will be. You will get up in the morning and breath and do what has to be done. Anything beyond that, people will understand. My heart goes out to you as you start this journey. God peace be with you and your family & all the of Trey’s friends.

      • Thank you for remembering him. The hardest thing is when people start to forget the one you loved so much & was such a big part of your life. I have been very fortunate, as you & your family have been….we have friends at GBC that keep us in their prayers and show us every day that they have not forgotten. Our class (Bob Julian’s class) has made sure I know they have not forgotten David and it’s such a comfort to me that they miss him as well. There is something every special about GBC….we are truly blessed to be a part of this wonderful, God loving church.

  6. Praying for Collin as he starts school and football season. Prayers for you and your husband as you return to work I can’t imagine
    how you feel. But I do know that God has been with you every day!!!! But, you know that too:) God Bless You All

  7. ms lisa i will say it again-you are such an inspiration and i know trey was and that collin is, so proud to call you mom

    my aunt who has los,over the years, her parents and husband and a few years ago her son, has told me that while it hurts to lose your parents and spouse and siblings, there is no pain worse than losing your child

    i have never stopped praying for you and your wonderful family, the LORD will always have your back…at my church we used to sing a song called He’s All Over Me and the lyrics: ‘he’s all over me, he’s on the right, he’s on the left, in the front and back,over me,under me, and he’s living down inside, he’s all over me

    tey will live on in your heart and one day you will be reunited with him…and i know he is in heaven so proud of you and jay and collin

  8. I continue to keep all of your family in my thoughts and prayers. Your strong faith in such an inspiration to me. I am sure, if I were in your shoes, there would be MANY times that I would question God and His intent. Thanks for being honest, but, always, always faithful to Him. I pray this next week will help you start living your lives in a new “normal.” May you continue to feel His presence blessing you with His peace, comfort, strength, and normalcy. God Bless.

    COLE’s Prayer Team

  9. Amen. What true and precious words. Trey will live on, he has made a permanent mark in so many lives. My husband and I kept our youth group updated on his journey. I can say to you that Treys life is now living an moving through you. Your words are powerful and uplifting. You have an amazing testimony and please feel the assurance that Trey is working through you. God bless. We will be praying for Colin and his first day back to school. “New Normal” will take adjustment and that’s okay. God supplied our needs and I know He is working in your lives.

  10. God bless you all. I have followed you I pray for you and I cry with you. Mom you are amazing just like your son. I’m sure you get lots of mail and can’t imigine losing a child. But I am the mom to sarah 23 years old with c p seizures dev delayed it take a loving heart to see your child suffer. My oldest daughter was doa arrival will be 3 yrs in dec but by the grace of god he showed us a miracle it broke her c1 horrible I call her my 2nd miracle. So yes you inspire me and your Son is our angel to. I hope to one day bring sarah to a game and meet you. She thinks Trey is a babe. And he is your son that has touched so many lives like ours. I will keep following you as long as you allow because you lift me up. I’m raising my oldest daughter 16 year old son so they are just so amazing. Full of life joy and then yours is watching over so many what a guy. God bless you and your family.

  11. it was good to hug you this morning and introduce you to my husband. you, jay and collin will be in our prayers this week as you go back to work and school! i have a high school friend who lost her son to brain cancer at the age of 11 many years ago. she also had a 13 yr old son at the time. Her husband committed suicide when the boys were young so she had to face this alone. we talked about you guys when I saw her in june. She was and still is a strong Christian but talked about how hard it was to try to go on with her life without her son. She is praying for you too!

  12. Jay, Lisa, and Collin,

    I know Lisa remembers what I told her about dealing with bad news, because she made reference to it the other night while talking to a group at GBC. When I said that, “Y’all are about to get to know your Jesus in a whole new way”, I knew then that the way your family will get to know Jesus in that whole new way would be different from the way I did when I dealt with Triple Negative Breast Cancer! When a dear friend made that statement to me when I was first diagnosed, I thought to myself…I KNOW Jesus! What in the world can she mean by that? Well, as you are experiencing right now, and have been for some time, He never ceases to show us more and more of Him AND His Majesty!

    I think about my journey through cancer every day! The guilt of surviving such a mean beast is unrelenting at times, when so many have not. That was and is the Father’s path for me. It has really been hard for me to comprehend “why” I got off so easy…though I never once asked “Why me God?” The only “why?” I have came when Trey was diagnosed. THEN I was asking why such a precious boy with so much ahead of him had to go through such a horrible thing! Well, in God-like speed, the answer came to me as clear as a crystal bell…God saves his toughest battles for his mightiest and strongest warriors! Well, duh Joy! Trey was equipped to handle whatever came his way in such a God-honoring way! No complaining, no whining, no excuses! What an unbelievable and amazing testimony! Trey is the ultimate WINNER…again!!!

    While you are only just beginning to heal and grieve, I am SO HAPPY to hear that you are going to be a family who talks, laughs, and honors Trey! That’s the kind of people I know you to be and that makes my heart smile! Trey is still an Erwin…no matter WHERE he lives!

    You may not have to wait very long to be able to see what “getting to know your Jesus in a whole new way” means like. In fact, you have probably already gotten a headstart! I guess I was a late bloomer..Heehee! I DID finally unravel the year of 2010’s “icky moments” and discover those little treasures and glimpses of how my Jesus wants me to love Him and honor Him! It has been such an amazing Hide and Seek game with God that I have NOT STOPPED PLAYING yet! When I doubt, He sends me searching. When I act like a “mother from another”, He sends me searching! I think He enjoys the hiding part WAY too much…at least He sometimes gives me hints. Even though I used a game to illustrate, I DO not think God is playing games with us or vice versa. I said that to try and explain that getting to know Jesus in a new way takes alot of searching on our part. It doesn’t seem feasible during the storm…and usually it is NOT…..but when the storm passes, and it will, you will STILL be all up in God’s lap wrapped up tight and like a little child, He will be telling you the story of “Once Upon a Time”….and they ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

    So, whenever you want to laugh, cry, pitch a fit, get mad, break out the new box of crayons and just scribble like mad because you need to release emotions…go right ahead! You don’t need the world’s permission to grieve. God says so!!! And we will be right here with you to do the same WITH YOU!

    I love you Erwins and will let you occupy God’s lap as long as you need to. It was hard but I decided that I needed to jump down out of His lap in order to let y’all have it. I know His lap is big enough for all of us but I want y’all to have that special place and feel the most amazing comfort and peace that only He can give!


    Joy “Can’t Say Anything Quick” Luke

  13. I could never assume to know the depth of your pain. But I do know how our Father, Alan, Allison,Rob, my mom’s sister and a couple of her cousins and my closest friends helped me survive our first year without my mom. Praying for all of you today, Lisa, and thankful for your support system and the wisdom of your pastor. We love you.

  14. GOD BLESS YOU ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have followed you guys updates on your son, although I never posted anything…. I can truly say that although I do not know you guys and i live some 6 hours away — you are TRULY a BLESSING to me….. As I have been a Believer and a striving Christian since I was a small child— your Faith and Strength has sustained a stronger will within me.. My oldest daughter- which is 24 years old– has been dealing with cancer for a couple of years now.. She has female cancer of the cervix…. How it devastated me when she finally did tell me….. It was when I turned her and the situation over to God Almighty– that I could find peace…. The doctors say it is stable. Not spreading nor decreasing.. Which is a good thing….Anyways- I just wanted to share that with you… I look forward to reading your posts– as you are Blessing more people than you probably know of…. (*_*) I pray that GOD will, and I know HE can– continue to strengthen your family as you take day by day dealing with the little things– that may not be the easiest things to deal with.. You all are such a Beautiful and Blessed family.. Praying today and always~~ God Bless You all !!!! Your sister in Christ— Lisia Layne

  15. Lisa thank u for this new blog u r helping so many people and so many of us care and pray for u jay n Collin .my sister lost her son very suddenly one year ago with no warning he was just 32 but to all of us he was our child . I think about my nephew Billy everyday and his mother and father they remind me of u . They take one day at a time .my sister goes to mass everyday her husband sends a scripture reading everyday on his cell phone to many followers .I know they will never get over their loss . I don’t know which would be the worst to have time to some how know and have time to say everything u want to say but at the see such pain and suffering or to have your child taken without a warning eitherway GOD can only comfort a mothers and fathers loss of a child .It would have to be the most unbearable thing to ever do . will never stop praying!!! Katie Buff

  16. God bless you and your family each day with mercy and grace. My prayers continue for you and I will never forget your very special young man, Trey.

  17. I understand your feelings right now, there are days, hours, minutes that you feel like I just can’t stand another blink of my eye to not have my best friend, my only child, my world, my Keisie. I know the real is sinking in, all the relatives, friends have gone back home, or back to their lives, the cards, calls are slowing more each day and wanting to see, hold, kiss or telling your child how much you love them, how they have blessed your life since their birth and your world feels like it has crashed on you. I so wish I could have had the opportunity to hold my daughter that last time and I know I said or did many stupid things like asking my nephew & brother-in-law that went to the morgue to identify Keisie, was she okay?, hello Pam, and saying it was my fault because I let her go that night to visit her boyfriends mom who was dying from cancer to begging for them to get her out of the morgue. If we had not had God, I don’t know how Paul & I could have faced the world to go on, but God puts you in stages to help you daily and you need God and daily until your job on earth is complete. There are so many things that have happened, not by chance, but absolute, that God has used to assure us Keisie is in Heaven and happy and to give us and so many others the ability to know and see Keisie, that is why I say “Open your eyes, God makes his presence known”. One example, the night before she left, her boyfriend told me Keisie never locked her car door and she said, “Mom, no one is stupid enough to steal my car b/c there is not another one like it. The next morning Paul & I were going to the cemetary to make arrangements, 20 miles from our house, on a dead end street and when we turned on this street, there was a car just like Keisie’s only missing the purple splash on the sides and a girl opened the door, got out and watched us drive by. There wasn’t any reason for her to be there b/c there was nothing there and she had the same long hair and same color has our Keisie’s. Paul immediately said, I can not believe what we just saw, 4 hours later 25 miles the other direction, at a stop light, we looked over, and there she was again, by chance, not, God at work. There are so many more things to tell that has happened over the years, she went home, 10/4/97, 17 years/1 month/2 days old. Please feel free to call any time, just talking, sharing your memories, anything, I would love to hear or talk about anything for hours, sometimes I think the more you talk and brag helps so much and I have nothing but time as I have spent the past 6 years in my bed the majority of the time and I would love to share our stories with yours. We have so much in common, Southern Baptist, Collierville Middle & High School, the football games, Trey & Keisie in Heaven together, etc. Ya’ll are in our prayers every day, ya’ll are a beautiful family and we truly wish the best for you each day as you heal, but Trey will always be remembered b/c you allowed the rest of the world join your family and make Trey apart of our lives too. Even though we did not meet Trey, through your Caring Bridge journals, we felt as if he had been apart of our lives and we feel like we lost a family member too. Thank you so much for sharing your son and what a fine one, God chose to spread his word and bring the lost to the life of Christanity, Jesus and the amout of people he/ya’ll have led to Jesus that will have eternal life in Heaven that may have never been lead down a new path. Continue sharing your story and spreading God’s word and he will stay right beside you every day, yes the emptiness will be apart of your life, pray hard, be as strong as you can, scream, yell and don;t feel bad about doing so, we are human and you are facing the ultimate of ultimate that you will have to face on earth, but your faith is strong and really, talk about every part of Trey, memories, etc. and don’t forget I will listen for hours and hours and help you any way I can. In Jesus’ love, Pam Hyde

    • Pam, Your words are SO real, as if Keisie passed yesterday. That’s how I feel and know I will feel for the rest of my life. We will continue to talk about our precious children, for they were blessings from the Lord! Thank you for your prayers!

  18. Thank you so much for this post, and for taking us along on this journey. Your family’s faith, including Trey’s, has been such an inspiration to so many that you will never know this side of heaven. A close friend of ours lies on her death bed as I type and your story helps me to help her and her family. Our prayers continue for your family and so look forward to meeting you all one day – in heaven if not before.

  19. Lisa, I’m so glad I can follow your journey on your new blog. I get lots of prayer requests. Some smallish, some big, some urgent, etc. Honestly, there are some that I pray about once and move on. Others, for reasons only our Father knows, He gives me a heavy burden that weighs on my heart and mind. I go to sleep thinking and praying for it, wake up with it in on my mind. I think about it and lift it up during the day. Your family has been one of those. I’ve never met you (that I know of although we lived in the Memphis area and shared friends thru church.) but I know God has allowed me the privilege of lifting you to the throne and as I have, He has strengthened my own faith as I have seen how He has answered those prayers for you. Prayers for supernat

  20. What a beautiful tribute to your son Trey. I have read your journal on CaringBridge. My family also understands the meaning of “new normal” and I hated that term when I first heard it after the passing of one of my grandchildren. Some days are harder than others. But our love for God and the knowledge that He is there and will “never leave us nor forsake us” gives us the strength that we need to keep going. I was brought up in a Christian home and have raised my children in one. I have always believed in God’s love and thought that through many other trials of life I had been touched by God so deeply, and I was. But when our Layla Rose passed away and I was holding her in my arms, I was touched so deeply in my heart and soul in places that had never been touched before by the love of God. It is truly amazing, if we just search and look, how we can use our tragedies and turn them in triumph for the Lord. Your faith in God is truly evident. I remind myself almost daily that this is just our temporary home, and that some day we will meet Jesus face to face and we will see our loved ones again! What a day that will be. The pain of the loss is always there, and there will always be a special place in our hearts that belong only to them. I thank God for the time that we had with her and I cherish with every fiber of my being the other grandchildren and my children and family that are still together here. Your story of Trey has truly been an inspiration to me and I pray God’s peace for you and your family.
    In Christ,

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