Grace Hayden.

My Grace.

Sometimes I say her name in my head over and over again and it brings me comfort. I’ve been missing her more than words can express lately, my sweet baby who would be turning 14 next week.

Grief has ebbed and flowed over these past 14 years – sometimes a quiet ache that lingers in my bones and others a gushing flow of tears and fierce longing that batters my heart. The last few weeks have been more gushing than quiet aching. This new layer of grief has taken me by surprise.

I have spent far more time in my bed, my car, the bathroom at work, choking on tears and weeping as if it was just yesterday that she silently and suddenly died in my womb. It has gotten more difficult in recent years to imagine what she might look like now. I’m struggling to picture how her sweet baby features might have aged into the young woman she would be at 14.

I can’t see her anymore and the loss of that ability to imagine her face has made her seem so very far away from me.

When she seems impossibly out of reach, I say her name. Over and over. Grace. My Grace. And then I try to remember and live what she taught me:

To always seek to find the beauty in the ruins.

When I am lonely, she taught me to look for those who make my smile.
When I feel broken, she taught me to see those who can sit with me in my brokenness and see my wholeness.
When I feel lost, she taught me to look for those people or places that brighten the darkness.
When things appear hopeless, she taught me to look for possibility – not guarantees.
When grief takes my feet out from under me, she taught me to see love in the messiness of tears.

She taught me that no matter how dark and uncertain circumstances can feel, life and hope will always sprout up in the ruins and flowers will bloom again.

She gives me hope, even when she feels so far away.

No matter how powerful the grief, hope always blooms.

My gift from Grace. Hope.

beauty in the ruins picEveryone is beautiful. Even in our weakest, darkest moments there is beauty in us. Even when all we can see is our warts and flaws and imperfections, we are beautiful.

I unfailingly believe that beauty can be found in everything. Yes, everything.

Sometimes we have to look really fucking hard to see it, but beauty is there to be found.

I say this even though there are many times I curse this and want to dismiss it or rail against the idea.

When my fiancé and children died, I didn’t want to see beauty. I struggled to see its existence. I was angry and full of grief, numb and destroyed. Yet still there was beauty.

Beauty in my love for them. Beauty in my doctor and nurses’ kind words and loving presence. Beauty in the yellow daisies given to me. Beauty in the raw, real emotion flooding through me. Beauty in the sun that rose again even when it felt as it the world should be dark.

Even when there is anger or grief or numbness or devastating sorrow, these things do not negate beauty. Nor does seeing the beauty negate the pain or difficulty of living. These things can and do exist side-by-side.

If we look into that which appears ugly long enough and deeply enough, we will find the beauty. Humanity. Grace. Vulnerability.


The same applies when it’s extra weight our bodies carry, extra sensitivity or emotionality that others criticize, personality traits seen as flaws or imperfections, and so much more. There is beauty in all of it, should we choose to look long and deep enough.

There are times when life crumbles to ruins around us and even in the midst of the devastation and destruction, beauty can be seen.

In the rubble and dust and mess of living, bits of beauty are always waiting to be discovered. Glimmering bits of color and light and glitters of sweetness can be found in the middle of the mess. Sometimes, the mess is the beauty itself.

You are beautiful. Even at your most messy and most imperfect. Life is full of beauty. Even at it’s most painful and broken. There is beauty among the brokenness that can be re-crafted into a mosaic of color and light.

Life is full of beauty. Even in the ruins.

Are you looking to find more of the beauty in the ruins in your life? If you’d like a little support on your journey, I’d love to be there. 


Twice monthly inspiration to find the beauty in life, in yourself, and in every situation.

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