When you can’t go back


On Friday, I witnessed a tragedy. It’s not my story to tell, but everyone who experienced it was deeply affected, and I spent the afternoon close to the surface, eyes brimming with tears. That night when I called my mom, I erupted into sobs, undone because what happened could not be undone.

I spent Saturday morning quiet, sad, in my backyard pulling weeds. The yard had been sprayed a few weeks ago and everything was brittle and dead, but I needed to clear the ground. As I worked the roots out of the dry dirt, I realized just how many foxtails I was dealing with.

The foxtail weed looks like a wheat head, small and bristly. When Toad would come in from the backyard, her legs would be covered in them, and I would pull them off one by one. But then Becca told me that foxtails can burrow themselves in a dog’s skin, working their way deeper and deeper – and like a porcupine quill, they can only move in a forward direction. Once in, their awn-shape makes it impossible to pull them back – you can only hope that they’ll work their way out someday.

I never let Toad in the backyard again.

When horrible things happen, we want to reverse them. Most of the time, they’re irreversible.

The only thing to do is to keep moving forward, looking for the light.



  1. Janelle from Canada on September 9, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    I’m glad you posted, as my heart was heavy for you this morning for some reason and I felt like I needed to check in with you. Praying for you and knowing God is wrapping his arms around you today.

  2. Becca Groves on September 9, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    You will be in my prayers today…this sounds heavy and horrible. Feeling the heartache for you.

  3. Katie on September 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    I’m so sorry for your grief, Annie. Love to you.

  4. Whitney on September 9, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Praying and sitting in this internet space in quiet with you.

  5. Christina on September 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Oh, my friend! Whatever happened, I am so sorry :( Will say an extra prayer for you and all involved today.

  6. Leigh Kramer on September 9, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    So sorry, Annie. Praying peace over you.

  7. Bree Jeffries on September 10, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    I am so sorry for whatever happened and the impact that it seems to have on many. I pray for peace and comfort for you and everyone involved.

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