Arc of Love on Heaven Day

It’s been raining and the sun has been peeking through the clouds today, a perfect recipe for a rainbow on Anna and Abby’s 4th Heaven Day. We headed out on a walk mid-morning in hopes to see their artistic work fill the sky. I prayed for God to release His glory as a sign for my broken heart.

I prayed and prayed.

Then He answered.

Our rainbow today isn’t the traditional arc of colors that fill the sky, but rather the arc of love that has been cast on us from all of you, our community both near and far.

For the past 4 years you have showed up, unconditionally, and honored our girls by choosing to love. You have walked through the shadows with us, held us and cared for our girls by speaking their names, sharing their love and celebrating their joy.

Thank you for remembering, for honoring Anna and Abby and for filling our hearts with warmth and love.

Thank you for being our rainbow.

rainbow tree on heaven day

PS. This happened this afternoon in Forest Grove ❤

rainbow real on hd

Photo Credit: Samantha McKelvey ❤ 

Thank you girls ❤ I miss you so much!

Lifeline

In the weeks following Anna and Abby going to Heaven hundreds of cards and letters flooded our mailbox. I remember sitting with them, unopened, wondering how I was ever going to get through them all. I would sit each night opening just a few, because that was all my heart could bare.

We were the family receiving the dreaded sympathy card. I remember sitting amongst them in total disbelief that we were on the receiving end and these written words were intended for us.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.” People shared their memories, thoughts and condolences.

These cards were from friends, family, old classmates, parents, children and complete strangers – all wanting to take just an ounce of our pain away. I remember feeling so loved and cared for as I read each one, still in complete shock of my reality.

One letter that we received has come to my thoughts many times over the past 4 years. I remember standing in the kitchen the first time I read it and remember exactly how it made my heart feel.

The sender, someone that we did not know, shared of her own loss. Two children, first her son (9) then her daugther (16), many years ago. It was the next line in the letter that I remember most.

“My son would be 54 and my daughter 53.”

I remember my heart sinking ~ 45 years. I remember thinking that there was no way I could survive all those years without my girls. No way!

She included a poem that was given to her by her son’s teacher and also her phone number in case I needed someone to talk to. I never called but have thought of her many times as each day without passes.

Today, while chatting with a girlfriend at the grocery store, a woman approached us and asked if she could give me a hug. She said that I didn’t know her but she knew who I was. She told me that after my girls went to Heaven she sent me a letter with a poem.

Immediately I knew it was her, still surviving.

She told me she included her phone number because she had no one to talk to when her children went to Heaven. She wanted to make sure that I knew I wasn’t alone. Her number was a lifeline for me if I needed it. Immediately my heart was full of gratitude and connection.

I needed her lifeline today.

Tonight I found her letter and there it was, the poem and the number that I know I will call soon.

I’ll Lend You a Child

By Edgar A. Guest

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of mine,”  He said.
For you to love – while she lives
And mourn for when she’s dead.

It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call her back,
Take care of her for Me?

She’ll bring her smiles to gladden you,
And should this stay be brief
You’ll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise she will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.

I’ve looked this world over
In search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd
Life’s lanes, I have selected you.

Now will you give her all your love,
Nor count the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to
Take her back again?”

I fancied that I heard them say,
“Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,

The risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter her with tenderness,
We’ll love her while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve known
Forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for her
Much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that come
And try to understand.”

 

Happy Easter

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.”  ~ Romans 15:13

Today I’m really emotional and extremely grateful.

He is Risen and through Him we have eternal life! I am so grateful for the love He shows me minute by minute and the hope He gives me in this broken life. I am extremely grateful for Heaven too!

Have a beautiful and blessed Easter! Happy Easter

 

Home on Heaven Day

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Three years ago today my girls went home.

I’m sure for them there was some shock and disbelief, going to Heaven wasn’t part of our family plan ~ not yet anyways. When I close my eyes and think about where my girls are now I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of peace through my deep pain ~ my girls are in the presence of God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

In the moment they entered Heaven I know that God opened up His loving arms and held my girls for a very long time ~ He’s still holding them (and us ❤ ). They were now physically separated from Tom, myself and everyone they love and I know that they were probably worried about all of us. I know that there is protection when little ones go to Heaven, protection from seeing our suffering. Anna and Abigail  I know see the whole picture of their love and joy before them – they have a front row seat to God’s glory playing out.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

I daydream about Heaven all the time now.

In my daydreams I think about Anna, my little nurturer. Knowing her heart and her love for little ones I have no doubt that one of her responsibilities in Heaven is to hold new babies as they enter. When I close my eyes I can see her beautiful smile as she looks down at these infants, lost too soon to this world, but taken care of by my girl. That is a perfect job for Anna, her own Heavenly childcare. I also know that she has her sights on her little sister, Alice. I’m waiting for the day that Alice shares her secrets from Anna with me.

As for Abigail, well, I can say that she is probably keeping everyone smiling, performing in some way for everyone around her. Abigail also, I’m sure, is keeping her loved ones here very close. She always wanted her family to be happy and “ok.” If you personally know her and think you hear or feel her presence don’t doubt that one bit…I often hear her whispering,  “take care of my dad, Susan.”

Today, on Anna and Abby’s 3rd Heaven Day, will you close your eyes and daydream about Heaven with me and open up your heart to God’s love and joy? Choosing to trust Him with all of my heart the day my girls entered Heaven, not only has given me strength, but also has opened my eyes to a place that is so beautiful and filled with an abundance of love and joy.

This place, Heaven, is where my girls call home.

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:31 

rainbow-over-tree-ldl

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  Genesis 9:13

Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and support. Our family is so fortunate to have such an amazing community, near and far, that have chosen to join us in honoring our girls by loving others.

Love and Joy ❤

 

Settling In

I told Tom yesterday I wanted to write a blog post hoping that in doing so he would keep me accountable to sitting and writing. There is so much I want to write about.

Instead, I found that snuggling up on the couch with him and our little girl was what we all needed. Writing can wait.

This past week has been beautiful in the way life should be. We are settling into a rhythm that feels so familiar in so many ways but one that also brings to the surface a new set of emotions.

Leaving the hospital was very hard, the last time we left the hospital we were saying goodbye and embarking on a journey neither of us wanted. As the nurse took my blood pressure for the final time I was teary trying to calm my heart of the emotions that were taking over.  I didn’t want a reason for them to make me stay a bit longer but I also was very scared about stepping out into the world with a life I was now responsible for ~ so many emotions.

The nurse put her hand on mine knowing of my heartache and told me it was perfect ~ we were free to go.

Since we have been at home I can’t help but feel that Alice is surrounded by so much more than her parents love for her. She is comforted not only by us in this space but also by her Heavenly Father and her sisters that I know sent her to us filled with secrets.

This morning, sitting in the space we have created for Alice to get to know her sisters,  I sat and prayed out loud for her. When I was finished I then talked with my girls (as I do often), asking for them to watch over their sister from Heaven. At that moment Alice opened her eyes and gave me a little smile ~ the kind newborns give after filling their belly with milk and feeling completely comfortable nestled against their mama’s chest. The timing was perfect for my heart ❤  She knew, as her sisters do, what her mama’s heart needs. That little smile was an answer to my prayers and a gift from all of my girls.

The Interim

I’ve avoided this space for a couple weeks ~ not because the words aren’t very present in my mind, but because my list of things to do has been so long that I haven’t found the time ~ something I’m a bit frustrated with because coming to this space is very important to me. I know in the weeks (maybe even months) to come arriving here will be sporadic  at best, but just knowing I have this space means a lot.

This morning I woke up with almost all of my “before the baby arrives checklist” crossed off and thought to myself, today would be a good day to write.

Here I am.

In two weeks (or less!) I will have a little baby in my arms…such a crazy thought. Sometimes I still can’t believe this is where we are, in our 40’s and parents to a little one.  The emotions that come with this fact are overwhelming to say the least. I feel so blessed by this life growing inside me but I will honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared either.

I’m not scared about being a mom, I have nine years of experience, but I am scared about the emotions that I will feel the moment when she is placed on my chest, when the physical pain of childbirth is washed away and I’m looking at our child for the very first time. I’m scared of what those feelings will bring, both a tremendous amount of joy and a tremendous amount of loss for the children I so long to be face to face with again.

For the past couple of months my PTSD has come in the form of the exact moment on October 20th when I realized Anna was gone. That exact moment when my eyes saw the white sheet being placed, the exact moment when my mind began screaming and the moment my heart completely broke forever. In that instance my life stopped.

Soon I will have a moment which is the exact opposite of the one I had on October 20th, a moment when life will begin as our little girl, breathing, is placed in my arms.

The deep suffering of the loss of the love of my life and the overwhelming Joy of a new soul to care for will collide in that very moment ~ the thought of those emotions coming face to face overwhelms my heart and my mind.

This week my counselor shared with me a blessing written by John O’Donohue. She said as she read it she couldn’t help but think about Tom and I, and our journey. It definitely speaks to my heart and the feelings I have been having lately.

For the Interim Time

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems To believe the relief of the dark.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed to you.

“The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.”

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred;
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.

What is about to happen in our lives does not make me want to run and hide. I know God is working ~ I feel it in my heart and in my mind. He brings me to those deep places of suffering in order to transform me and draw me even closer to Him. I trust Him with every ounce of my being ~ how couldn’t I? Knowing, feeling and seeing the kindness and love that He has poured on me through my life. I have no doubt that there will be something so beautiful that happens in the depths of my own soul the moment I come face to face with our little one, I just wonder how much more my heart can take.

I trust God’s plan.