Sweet Sixteen

Today, in my heart, I celebrate the birthday of our daughter Grace, born 16 years ago, passing away just the day before.

I never imagined back then that the clock would ever tick again or that this day could ever come. But it has, and Jeff and I have been blessed by God many times over ever since.

I have come to accept that I may never fully understand the path God has chosen for my life, but find great peace in simply knowing there is one.

I purchased the beautiful painting of the delicate pink roses yesterday, to honor Grace’s 16th birthday, from my favorite Etsy artist, Mary Wolf of marysworkshop. Isn’t it just lovely?

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86 Responses to Sweet Sixteen

  1. #1 - Lelainia N. Lloyd says:

    That is beautiful. I think that even if your child is gone, you will always be a mother, for they always live in your heart. There's a quote that says: "To live on in the hearts of those that love us, is not to die." Her memory will always have life and breath through you.

    Happy Birthday Grace.

  2. #2 - Linda in New Mexico says:

    Cathe: what a beautiful tribute to your daughter. I too have a darling baby boy, Trace who lives with the angels. I celebrate his birthday and am glad that I was touched by his spirit. Like you, I wasn't quite sure that I could breathe, or put one foot in front of the other at the time but with the years, I have learned what a blessing I have been given.
    The painting is soft, ethereal and now I will have to go and see what other treasures are out there by this artist.
    I have been away this week but have caught up on your many posts. How proud you are of your handsome husband. That is wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing a touching and beautiful post. (((hugs))) until next time
    the verification word is crucias today. I play a game with others to see how we can fit the crazy words in a sentence but with this one it is very appropo…crucias in spanish means crosses. How special is that??????

  3. #3 - Save the Date for Cupcakes says:

    Sorry for your loss~ Happy Birthday Grace!

  4. #4 - Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B says:

    Obviously she was too beautiful for earth..and Grace would have loved the painintg- and you! Please know we all care..

  5. #5 - Val Reaves says:

    What a lovely tribute to your daughter. She truly resides in your heart…Happy Birthday, Grace.

  6. #6 - thewillowsnest says:

    A beautiful painting for your beautiful angel girl.. what an amazing meeting you will have one day 🙂

  7. #7 - Stephane says:

    You've touched my heart. Much love to you.

  8. #8 - Collette says:

    This is lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us. Happy Birthday sweet Grace.

  9. #9 - My Life Under the Bus says:

    Lovely painting ! So sorry for your loss – it is amazing how strong we are when we don't even imagine we have the strength. Happy Birthday to your daughter !
    Big ((((hugs))) to you !

  10. #10 - Anonymous says:

    Felicidades por el blog,le acabo de descubrir y me encanta.Me lo acabo de ver entero.Felicidades grace.

  11. #11 - NicNacManiac says:

    My heart is warmed by your post…
    Congratulations to your lovely husband…Happy Birthday Grace!!
    xOxO Nerina

  12. #12 - Shawna says:

    My heart to you Cathe. The painting is beautiful and such a wonderful way to pay tribute to your dauther. I cannot imagine losing a child; you are courageous and wise to know that God does have a path for you. Hugs.

  13. #13 - Debbie @ ribbonwoodcottage.blogspot.com says:

    HI Cathe, I think this is sooo beautiful and what a lovely idea to buy it as a lovely reminder of your precious girl. I love the name Grace…very precious and describes our lives regardless of the loss we experience. Very very beautiful. I know I don't post much but I lurk here all the time (big smile) and enjoy your creativity. I always like to see what you are upto…God has given you an amazing talent and I'm appreciative that you share it with us! Thank you.

  14. #14 - Laura @ 52 FLEA says:

    Happy Birthday Grace…
    A lovely painting to honor your child. Thinking of you and sending a warm hug your way…

  15. #15 - Lorrie says:

    This is a beautiful way to remember the gift of Grace and the loss. Blessings on you today.


  16. #16 - Lisa says:

    That's a beautiful painting and a lovely tribute.
    Happy birthday Grace.

  17. #17 - GypsyNurse says:

    What a touching post…soothing painting~and a sweet birthday wish is sent to Grace~

  18. #18 - Pink Martini says:

    Beautiful. Your words, love and faith.

  19. #19 - carla (http://dancingmoon-carla.blogspot.com/) says:

    My heart is with you… hugs carla

  20. #20 - Suzanne says:

    What a lovely way to honor your daughter. I can relate to your feelings. We had a stillborn daughter 23 years ago. You're never quite the same.

  21. #21 - marysworkshop says:

    Oh, Cathe, my heart goes out to you and your husband today. How touching to know my painting will be a remembrance of your dear little daughter, Grace's sixteenth birthday. To say that I am humbled and honored is an understatement. Thank you so much, Cathe, for featuring my work on your blog in such a touching and meaningful post.
    Blessings and Peace- Mary

  22. #22 - Stephanie says:

    You will see her again. God does have a plan and you are living it by being the caring and loving mom, wife and sister that you seem to be. You are blessed.

  23. #23 - Melody says:

    Cathe you are a dear sweet person! Sending you a great big (((HUG)))! Life is precious and your sweet baby girl is alive in your heart and ours! Thanks for sharing your life with all of us. Happy Birthday Grace!

  24. #24 - merium says:

    Oh,Cathe, I had no idea. She would be such a big girl now! The painting is beautiful, a lovely tribute. Next Friday is my son's birthday, we were so lucky to have him with us for 34 hours. He would be 22 this year. I love the idea of artwork and am going to peruse the shop now. God bless, I will be thinking of you and your family..

  25. #25 - Valley Art Project says:

    Yes it is lovely. My thoughts are with you.

  26. #26 - Mackenzie Rose says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Grace. I'm sure she is looking down at you and is deeply touched. My son Sawyer would have 4 months and 4 days old today.

  27. #27 - Jan says:

    What a touching way to remember your dear daughter, Grace. Your faith and strength are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing such a special day and memory.

  28. #28 - Feather says:

    i love the tribute. what a beautiful way to celebrate her memory for years to come. i like how you mentioned that you don't understand this path laid out before you, but still acknowledge the blessings god has given you. so true. and He's with you today. He was with you when you purchased your painting. he's always helping you get one day further…

  29. #29 - Connie says:

    I hope I never have to experience what you did with your lovely Grace, sweetpea. But sometimes the spirits born to us are soooo valiant and celestial they are here for a brief time because they only needed to acquire a body. I know this doesn't help your heart much, but you will see her again. I have complete faith you will…and knowledge also.

  30. #30 - kiko says:

    Hi Cathe
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I want to share a little something I wrote. I wrote this for moms and babies who have experienced losses…..

    I enjoy your blog…thank you for giving us a little glimpse into your life and creativity.


  31. #31 - Elise says:

    Oh, Cathe. What a breath taking way to honor your sweet baby and her memory. Grace is a fabulous name ~ Grace describes her mother, flawlessly, so it is a fitting honor to you both. Your spirit and courage inspire me. Thanks for sharing this important event. My heart aches and celebrates with you. God bless!

  32. #32 - Rebekah says:

    Bless you today, Cathe, as you remember your daughter.

  33. #33 - La Table De Nana says:

    Thinking of you…..

  34. #34 - Tracey @ Art of the Letter says:

    What a profound loss. The painting is precious, and now has such a deep significance. Love and Peace to you, Cathe.

  35. #35 - Cheryl~ZanyMayd says:

    The Most Beautiful Post & Tribute ~ Thank You for Sharing Your Heart

    Happy Birthday, Grace

  36. #36 - Alyssabeth's says:

    I went and gave my 16 year old daughter a big hug!

  37. #37 - Jennifer says:

    Cathe, it seems trite to say that I am so sorry for your family's loss, but that is the truth. I have a very close friend who lived through a similar experience; as much as I mourn for her I cannot imagine how difficult this was and continues to be for her or you. Grace will never be truly gone as she lives on in the hearts and minds of those who love her. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl, who I am sure feels your love to this day.

  38. #38 - Niki says:

    My heart aches with yours, sweet mama. I too have a little girl, Ellie, who went to live with Jesus on February 19th, 2009. Five years old and so missed. What a gorgeous painting! I wish you many smiles and much peace each time you gaze upon it. With Love and much understanding ~ Ellie's Mama

  39. #39 - Christina Song says:

    my heart ached reading this, but we do rest assured that God has our lives in control. He is always good and his grace is enough. thanks for sharing! happy sweet sixteen, grace 🙂

  40. #40 - Jill says:

    Your post and the comments left by others so far are beautiful, especially from Linda in New Mexico (crucias). I went to church just to sit and pray on the one year ann. of losing my first husband and my priest who was with me the night Jim died was sitting there praying. We talked of course about my husband and he told me that the Benedictines celebrate the anniversary day of death as the day of new life in Heaven. Grace was born into Heaven before her body was born here on Earth. That is pretty special.

  41. #41 - Donna says:

    It is a beautiful picture to remind you of your beautiful daughter. May God continue to give you comfort.

  42. #42 - Queen of Dreamsz says:

    What a beautiful painting…totally perfect to honor Grace's 16th birthday.

    God can leave us with our mouth hanging open at times either for good or the bad…one has to have faith in that there is a grand plan…and you know that..doesn't make it right but it's our faith that carries us through these times that we couldn't bear otherwise.

    Stephanie ♥

  43. #43 - Valerie says:

    My little niece's heaven day is coming up on the 25th… She would have been two.

    Happy Birthday to your sweet Grace…

  44. #44 - TexNan says:

    I've long loved your blog but felt a deeper affinity for you when you posted the pics of your hub–mine was a police detective for 25 years, now retired. I could feel the pride you felt in yours and understand it fully. There's a core of strength in men like ours who serve the public.

    Now that affinity's even stronger. My daughter died three days before being born 47 years ago. There are so many "what ifs" wrapped up in that scenario that I can't even go there anymore. (BTW my mother's name was Grace. I love when babies are given that name.)

    Like your other readers, I send my blessings.

  45. #45 - Jenxo says:

    a beautiful tribute to your daughter..

  46. #46 - FILIGREE MOON says:

    Cathe, such a beautiful and touching post and tribute to your daughter. Such a beautiful painting to capture the sweet remembrance of a very special angel. Warm hugs. ~ Angela

  47. #47 - Tales From My Empty Nest says:

    What a great tribute to your sweet daughter, Grace. I love the painting!!
    So sorry for your loss. Praying for you! Love & blessings from NC!

  48. #48 - mez says:

    Love is eternal… and Grace is a testament to that… my son Matt died at 16, many years ago.. I like to buy something at his birthday too – to celebrate and remember him.
    Happy birthday Grace!

  49. #49 - Creative Grammie says:

    Aloha Cathe;
    My heart goes out to you and your family for the loss of your daughter Grace. Your tribute to your daughter is heartfelt.

  50. #50 - Shelly says:


    It is SO important to remember those we've lost,,it can be through prayer, journaling, celebrations, family remembrance.

    The painting is gorgeous. What a wonderful way to remember her.

    Thank you for sharing your love of her and commemorating her life.

    Big hugs!

  51. #51 - Cynthia K. says:

    Very tender and precious post – thank you for sharing this very important and personal part of your life. I pray the Lord's comfort and strength for you and your husband.

    BTW, I feel especially touched by your little amazing Grace because today is my birthday also – I think the Lord led me to this special post today as a blessing to me. And I am blessed by it, truly…

    Cynthia K. (Beauty and Blessings)

  52. #52 - Prairiemaid says:

    It is a lovely painting. I think it is a good thing to remember those we love and to know we will see them once more.

    May God's love comfort you in a special way.

  53. #53 - lis says:

    This one touched me… You are truly special.

  54. #54 - C.C. says:

    That painting is stunning and your faith in the Lord is beautiful. Hugs to you hun.

  55. #55 - TidyMom says:

    What a beautiful way to remember your daughter Cathe♥♥

    My heart aches for you! {{{hugs}}}}I just can't imagine losing a child.

  56. #56 - . says:

    Thats such a beautiful way to celebrate Grace, you and the love you have for life, faith and the blessings you have. First when I read your post, I wanted to cry, but then it gave me so much inspiration and hope. My son would be 19 now, cant believe 19, young man and being able to drive… And it made me think, wow, Im a mum of a 19 year old. he is my heart and always will be. I too am belssed with many wonderful gifts. Happy Birthday Grace, and here is to all of our children.

    Big hug to you and your family, God bless.

  57. #57 - T.Allen-Mercado says:

    How beautifully human you are, Cathe. I question everything-all the time, and today I found answers I never knew I was searching for in your honesty, in your vulnerability, in your resolve. Thank you, and happy birthday to you, and sweet Grace.

  58. #58 - Lisa Leonard says:

    thanks for sharing your sweet heart with us. xxoo

  59. #59 - Tammy says:

    Cathe, the painting is beautiful. I am saddened to learn of your loss. What a touching post. I am sending you a great big hug. Your little angel is blessed to have such a loving mother. Happy Birthday to Grace.

  60. #60 - http://moorefromtheheartinteriors.blogspot.com/ says:

    Happy Birthday to your Grace. What a wonderful way to remember her. Your blog is an inspiration and a blessing to all of us readers.
    God Bless You

  61. #61 - martha says:

    Such a beautiful way to make a heavenly reality tangible. I am going to start looking for such a tribute for my baby. A mother's heart never forgets.

  62. #62 - Jeanette says:

    I am so touched by your loving tribute to your daughter. I experienced 6 miscarriages, all were at various stages. I try not to think about the losses, I am a big believer in focusing on what I have instead of what I do not – however, in doing this, I never stop to celebrate the life, however brief. You’ve inspired me to do something special in remembrance, perhaps Mother’s Day. Beautiful painting. I’m so glad I stopped in today.

  63. #63 - Mary Beth @ Live. Laugh. Make Something says:

    What a precious tribute! That painting is beautiful as is your heart for your daughter. great big hug…

  64. #64 - Three Owls says:

    Happy Birthday to Grace and to you… it's as much a day for mama as for baby. I think you show a lot of strength by sharing this with us and giving others an opportunity to express their own loss and love. Many blessings to you and your family.

  65. #65 - ZHIYING says:

    may God continue to bless you much! thank God for your life (:

  66. #66 - iHanna says:

    The paining is so beautiful, I too adore roses and shabby chic beauty. I'm doubble Grace's age but share her birthday!

    Cath, thanks for sharing your story.

  67. #67 - Virginia says:

    Thank you for being open about your heartbreaks as well as your successes and explorations. My great grandmother suffered the loss of her firstborn baby girl and that heartbreak has echoed down through 5 generations of my family. Our culture is generally mum about these losses but the unheard sorrow of a grieving mother does not heal easily. Thank you for letting others know that they are not alone and for carrying on.

    Are you familiar with this beatiful charity?
    I love what they do and how they do it – they are so gentle and compassionate.

  68. #68 - Rosemary, a child of God says:

    I love it. This post is close to my heart. 1 year ago (April 17th) I gave birth to my son… he had passed a few days before. My husband and I celebrated his birthday also. I love the painting that you picked out. It's so soft and light… peace is what came to my mind when I saw it.

  69. #69 - Alyce says:

    A beautiful painting for a lovely child. Blessings on the 16th anniversary of your daughter's birth. You gave her a lovely, lovely name.

  70. #70 - La Vie en Rose says:

    Bless you sista…

  71. #71 - Katsui Jewelry says:

    I am so glad i stopped in, too, Cathe, Grace s such a beautiful name. I lost twin sons in the process of birth, Brooks and Andrew. They would be twenty-eight now. I am so grateful for my thirty year old daughter but I will never forget.

    Happy Birthday, Dear Grace!

  72. #72 - Tiffany says:

    Beauty. Strength. Huggs.

  73. #73 - Cathe Holden says:

    Thank you everyone for your incredible kindness. My heart is full.

  74. #74 - Annalea says:

    One of my favorite doctrines taught in my church is that mothers who lose children in this life will be given the opportunity to raise them during the millenial reign of Christ–the time when all loose ends are taken care of.

    Whatever your beliefs may be (or not be), I know this: God loves His daughters, and He loves infants with a fierce and precious and redeeming love. Grace is not lost to you any more than you are unknown to the God of Heaven and Earth. May His blessings rest upon you and your family, and may you know His love and the power of His care.

  75. #75 - Apron Thrift Girl says:

    I wished I had seen this on the day so that I could have driven to you and had brought you a hug and some flowers in honor of your daughter Cathe. Life is so complex and there are no easy answers. But I imagine that this post itself has touched many people, more than you can imagine. Maybe they wished that they could have written a similar post but could not find the courage to form the words. I'm sure they found comfort reading your story. What a blessing that you shared this with us.

  76. #76 - Liz@Violet Posy says:

    That is really beautiful tribute to your daughter. Thank you for sharing it x

  77. #77 - woolywoman says:

    What a lovely tribute to your child.

  78. #78 - bridget {bake at 350} says:

    Oh, Cathe. What a beautiful way to remember her.

    Happy birthday to Grace.

  79. #79 - The Takeout Wench. says:

    Happy birthday to Grace…I'm so sorry for your loss.

    That is a beautiful painting.

  80. #80 - Halo Hill says:

    It is beautiful. Bless your heart. There will be many more birthdays, and eventually you'll be together forever.


  81. #81 - mixpix says:

    What a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to Grace. I lost my daughter, Bella, 4 years ago, and I appreciate your sharing of your celebration of Grace. Our children will always be with us.

  82. #82 - Anonymous says:

    You gave your daughter a beautiful name and I know she will always live in your heart!!! This Christmas my sister lost her beautiful daughter to breast cancer aged 36. My heart breaks at her suffering and her courage!!! I know she will live too in our hearts. I'm glad you are blessed with your other children and your wonderful husband. None of us know how it is to lose your child, unless it happens to you, but we can only send you our love!!!

  83. #83 - Little Lovables says:

    I'm so sorry, her name Grace is beautiful and so fitting. Hugs!

  84. #84 - Laura Campanelli says:

    I also lost a son .. Luke seven years ago.. Luke was 16 at the time.White roses fill my heart . For any parent who has lost a child it’s a painful feeling we deal with every day of our lives.But this i know for sure.. there is a heaven and our angels do come visit us.. we see a glimps of them or a smell that passes by you when you are home.. they visit us in our dreams and touch us when we cry. No child should go befor a parent, but the day i die.. will also be a happy one.. to see my luke..

  85. #85 - Bonnie says:

    Dear Mary,

    I came across Mary’s art on Fine Art America, and she shared this link. I am truly sorry for your loss of sixteen years ago. Although I’ve lost both my parents, I can’t fathom how it feels to lose a child. Your deep faith and commitment to God’s plan is a beautiful thing–and I share that faith. Some things I suppose we just won’t know this side of heaven.

    Many blessings on your family. I’m so glad to have found this website.

  86. #86 - Mary Wolf says:

    Dear Cathe,
    Six years have now passed since you first posted this beautiful tribute to your daughter Grace. You have been in my thoughts often over the years and especially these past few days. I felt I needed to thank you for so bravely sharing your beautiful message with your readers. Your trust in God’s goodness in spite of the great sadness you’ve endured has left an imprint on many hearts, including my own.
    Thank you, Cathe, for all the good you bring to this world.