Friday, Sept 22, 2017 Clam Bayou Nature Preserve, St. Petersburg Fl.- Carter Joshua Reed Observation Deck

The last time I was here, we scattered Carter’s ashes not far from where I now sit. As I relive that day the tears start to roll again. It was an emotional and gut-wrenching day after a long and painful week. Then I hear these words from Steven Curtis Chapman’s Beauty Will Rise:
“It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed til my voice was gone
And watched thru the tears as everything came crashing down.
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift thru the ashes that are left behind.
But buried beneath all our broken dreams
We have this hope

Beauty will rise, we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes beauty will rise
For we know joy is coming in the morning
In the morning beauty will rise.

So, take another breath for now
Let the tears come washing down
If you can’t believe I will believe for you
Cause I have seen the signs of spring
Just watch and see

Out of these ashes beauty will rise…..

We’re rapidly approaching the four-month mark without Carter. It’s still hard; I guess it will always be hard especially these “anniversary” days, birthdays, holidays and so on. As the lead-in to this post indicates we are currently in St. Pete visiting our daughter and son-in-law on the heels of hurricane Irma. They, fortunately, had no damage other than one rather small tree blown down. We are going to get that cleaned up Saturday if all goes well.

As the song says “I have seen the signs of spring” after being with Katie and Joshua for a couple of days (first time since Carter died). I am amazed at where they are mentally at this stage. Katie and I talked about it yesterday; she said she still cries every day, BUT one of the first things I noticed after we arrived was her beautiful smile was back on her face; Joshua’s too. We have laughed together, we’ve talked about little Carter without falling apart. Katie also said she was able to smile and laugh and for the first time and has felt more “normal” just within the last week or two. I can’t tell you how much that means to us. We have so much enjoyed our visit with them and we still have the weekend ahead of us. Truthfully, if I had to leave right now, the trip would have been worth it, but I am excited about being with them over the next couple of days. As much as we all still hurt, there are many things for which we are so thankful and we are seeing beauty rise from the ashes. The end of the song says “it will take our breath away to see the beauty He’s made out of the ashes”. I don’t think we have that complete vision yet, but the signs are there.

Finally, to all of you who have followed this story from its beginning, thank you for your prayers and support, for anything you have done no matter how trivial you think it might be. You have walked this road with us, and we’ve leaned on you when we felt we couldn’t take another step. That’s part of the beauty from the ashes and we are deeply grateful for all of you.


  1. Steve, so glad to hear that Katie & Joshua are smiling again! My grandfather also plowed with mules, Big Red & Black Jack, if I remember correctly “Gee” was right and “Haw” was left. Not sure though, that was many years ago. One of my uncles was kicked in the head by one of the mules and died form his injuries when he was 3 years old.


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