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!

Love

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Artwork by Anna Oct. 2013

We have lots of love in our house and in our lives so of course we love Valentine’s Day. I would spend the 13 days leading up to it giving little love notes to Anna and Abigail, making heart-shaped cookies and sandwiches for their lunches and planning what we were going to spread love on the big day. I loved watching my girls create notes for their friends, Abigail loved to bake heart-shaped cookies and Anna loved to decorate them. We did these sorts of thing throughout the year but during the days leading up to Valentine’s Day we created a tradition to really focus on love we have for one another.DSC_0263

Last year I started putting little heart love notes in their rooms early in the morning before they woke up. Abigail’s were placed on the mirror in her bathroom, or on her dresser where her favorite bracelet’s were placed; I knew she would be putting them on in the morning before school. Anna’s were in her closet to be found when she was getting dressed or on the floor just as she stepped down for the first time each morning. I loved making these little notes and I loved that both girls would come downstairs with a smile and a hug knowing just how much their Mama loved them.

These notes are still displayed in their rooms by my girls. Anna’s placed in the various picture frames around her room and Abigail’s hanging on her magnetic board. I love that they were so special to them they displayed them.DSC_0199 DSC_0189

I too have lots of little love notes displayed by my girls. Abigail used to leave me sticky notes expressing her love and Anna, at least a couple of times a week, would make sure to tuck a note into my bed to be found once she was in dreamland.

I love that these little gestures are still very much a part of our decor and I can’t imagine that ever changing. I can go into any room in our house and find a note left by my girls, always making my heart fill with joy for the love we all share.

Yesterday, February 1st, I would have snuck upstairs while the girls were sleeping and placed my notes in their spots. Instead I walked to the place they went to Heaven, tucked my note on their tree and told them how much I love them. I know they can feel the love in my heart, I know they know I love them to the moon and back and now to Heaven and back.

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I Miss….

We sent this picture to Emily and Ben. The girls were missing them tons and wanted them to know.

We sent this picture to Emily and Ben. The girls were missing them tons and wanted them to know.

I Miss…

~ playing games with the girls at night; Uno, Jungle Speed, Wig Out, 1313 Dead End Drive and our new favorite The Game of Life.

~ snuggling with Anna in the morning.

~ telling the girls to stop fighting.

~ hearing about Abigail’s day at school.

~ playing Cafe with Anna…I would cook dinner and she would belly up to the bar with her babies and pretend she was at a Cafe.

~ Anna asking for a bednight snack.

~ Abigail asking questions about whether 6th grade was a good time to have a boyfriend.

~ laying in Anna’s bed while she brushed her teeth and danced around her room.

~ kissing Abigail goodnight and having her grab and pull me into bed with her.

~ Anna so intently watching Tom shave.

~ telling the girls I don’t have enough energy to play lava monster at 7:30 pm and having Abigail give me a hard time. (I’m not a night person)

~ giving Abigail a hard time at 7:30 am when she was grumpy and didn’t want to dance around with me. (She’s not a morning person)

~ that we understood this about one another but still gave each other a hard time anyway.

~ how my girls made me want to be the best parent I could be.

~ having kids play hide and go seek in our house. Many times trying to find Abigail because she knew all the good hiding spots.

~ having Ozilline knock at the door around 5:30 to ask for a play date and then hearing Taylor Swift blasting from upstairs 5 minutes after her arrival.

~ the girls asking to go get ice cream, over and over and over again.

~ Anna holding my hand.

~ Abigail asking if her hair looked stupid or was sticking up on the sides. It always looked fabulous.

~ dropping Abigail off at school and rolling down the window just as she was 5ft from the car and Anna and I screaming, “I love you Abigail.”

~ the look she gave us when we did that.

~ new artful creations emerging from the studio.

~ hearing Abigail and Tom talking in her bedroom.

~ monkey bars in the morning before school.

~ relentless request for sleep overs with friends.

~ the excitement that filled the house when Emily and Ben were coming for the weekend.

~ seeing Anna at recess and having her kiss and hug me a hundred times.

~ watching Anna ride Tiva.

~ having Abigail show me all her new Tap moves.

~ hanging out at the dance studio watching Anna in her tap class.

~ the smile she gave me when her eyes met and she knew I was watching.

~ listening to Anna care and nurture Baby Mary every single day!

~ hearing the loud music coming from Abigail’s room, even when the door was shut.

~ picking Anna up from her dad and listening to stories about her weekend away.

~ watching Tom dance with my girls.

~ elaborate dance productions in the family room staring my girls.

~ looking through the American Girl Doll catalog with Anna while snuggling up in the big red chair.

~ the excitement of finding Joey Francisco, our elf, each morning in December.

~ thinking about their future.

~ Anna giving me the “I Love You” sign as she drove away with her dad for their weekend together.

~ watching Anna lift Sampson’s back-end up so he could stand up.

~ sitting at the table and eating dinner as a family.

~ asking Anna to stay in her seat while eating dinner as a family.

~ talking/fighting with Abigail to do her reading.

~ being amazed that even when Abigail loved her book she would only read for exactly 30 min.

~ listening to the excitement in Anna’s voice because she was finally learning how to read.

~ listening to Abigail’s plans for her future.

~ listening to Anna’s plans for the future.

~ planning birthday parties with lots of surprises.

~ hugging Abigail and having her squeeze me really tight.

~ hearing Anna shout from the shower, “Mama where are you?”

~ hearing “Mama.”

~ planning family adventures.

~ finding our journal under my pillow and reading Abigail’s latest entry.

~ writing an entry back and telling her how proud I am of her.

~ talking about and then writing down 3 things that made Anna happy each day before she went to bed. Looking at her drawings of those 3 things the next morning.

~ watching Wonder Kratts and Curious George before school with Anna.

~ movie nights snuggled on the couch.

~ asking the girls to pick up their shoes.

~ paying out allowance.

~ listening to the girls plan for their allowance.

~ laughter.

~ watching Anna continuously move throughout the house every single night.

~ Abigail’s sweet singing voice.

~ Anna singing “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” by Taylor Swift at the top of her lungs.

~ finding love notes on my night stand.

~ my girls, I REALLY miss my girls.

This list can go on and on. I pray for continued peace and know that I will spend eternity with my girls. Until then, I will miss them terribly and will cherish the life I had here on earth with them. Under His wings I will find refuge. I am forever grateful His grace and for the time I had with my girls.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.   Psalm 91:1-16

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Below is a post from Kaden’s mom last night – thank you to all that prayed and continue to pray for this family.

“Kaden is looking great. Has breathing tube out and he is already sitting up. He is back to his bossy self. Hoping he sleeps well and he is on the road to recovery. It will be long road but first hurdle is over. Praise the sweet Lord. Please keep up the prayer it has worked a miracle today. One happy momma!”

Proud

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The mail comes mid-day and lately we have lots of it. Cards, medical bills and all the usual junk mail. Yesterday we got a letter from the PNTB, Pacific Northwest Transplant Bank. We have been receiving letters from them thanking us for our donation and welcoming us to the “Donation Family,” a family we are very proud to be part of.

A couple of weeks ago we received a little box with a letter inside telling us that both of Abigail’s kidneys, her liver, and one cornea were successfully transplanted. We got a little description of the individuals that received these organs and tissue but nothing specific.

Yesterday we got our first letter from a recipient of one of Abigail’s kidneys. The letter was beautiful and talked about renewed life and how he will never forget what was given to him. He thanked us with all of his heart – he was so grateful! There was also a letter from another family member which described what happened during the week of Oct. 21st. How they received a call from their cousin, the recipient, on their way home from a Bible study. They wrote about how their cousin had to get to Portland by 8 am on the 24th, the morning after Abigail left for surgery.

They talked about how this donation was an answer to prayer and how much they prayed for the donor’s family, they prayed for us!  They said they are living through everyone’s prayers – just like how we are living through everyone’s prayers. Tom and I cried. Abigail saved someone’s life, she gave someone hope for a brighter future.

I remember thinking as I was saying good-bye to her that someone was getting that call they’ve been waiting for. That a family was happy because their family member was getting a new lease on life. I remember those thoughts comforting me while I was kissing her forehead for the last time. She was such a giver and she now has given the ultimate gift. We are so proud of her and we are so looking forward to meeting the individuals that she blessed with her organs.

When we meet, I will tell them about my girl and what her life was like. I will tell them about how she had so many friends and family members that loved and adored her. I will tell them how she was never afraid to try something new, she was so adventurous. I will tell them how creative she was and how our lives are now filled with her beautiful creations. I will tell them everything about her…I will tell them they are so blessed to have a little piece of her because she was truly AMAZING!

As a parent you never think that making a decision to donate your child’s organs is one you will have to make. Making the decision for our daughter was emotional, but not hard because we know that if Abigail was asked, she would have made the same decision. This choice of giving life is Abigail’s ultimate legacy and for those who were gifted, we will forever feel a connection. They are our family now too.

I am so proud to be Abigail’s mom. I look forward to the day when we are together again <3.

Update (10/23/2017)

It has been 4 years since I wrote this post about the day Abigail gave the ultimate gift of life. Since then we have received a letter from her other kidney recipient and have had the opportunity to meet her liver recipient.  We also found out this past year that her pulmonary valve was given to a young girl in California which ultimately saved her life.  Her gift of life continues and we are so proud of her and her little sister!

If you are reading this and are considering being a donor, here are a few links that will give you more information.

Donate Life Northwest:   http://www.donatelifenw.org/

Donate Life:  http://donatelife.net/


Abigail Donation

Sitting on a Cloud

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I love thinking about Anna and Abigail sitting with their feet dangling off the edge of a cloud watching me move through this world.

I remember one time when the girls and I were talking about Heaven, Anna asked what it looked like and happens when you get there. Abigail jumped in with this beautiful fairy tale like description of angels, the ability to fly and take different forms, fluffy clouds, and streams of chocolate that ran for miles…basically everything a little girl would want it to be.  At first I wasn’t sure about Abigail’s interpretation because I didn’t want it to sound better than the girls being with me.

Selfish I know.

I chimed in with something like, yes it’s a wonderful place and someday we will all be there but we don’t want to go there right now. Anna, with a serious look on her face, wanted me to reassure her that going to Heaven was only going to happen when we were old. I remember wanting to ease any concern she had, I said that was the plan but sometimes we go when we aren’t old.

I was so afraid that one of her friends would pass or if something happened to me she wouldn’t understand. I would tell her that when the time comes and I do go to Heaven (hopefully when I’m really old) that I would be her angel, that I would be safe with Jesus and I would always watch out for her. I wanted her to hear me saying that and not someone else after the fact.

During those moments the thought of them going to Heaven first never crossed my mind.

These conversations are what I think of now. I am so glad we talked about it and that Abigail shared with me her fairy tale description.

I hold on to that place of happiness.

I close my eyes and I can see my girls soaring high above the clouds, I can hear Abigail scream to Anna that the chocolate is the best they’ve ever had, I feel them comforting me when the ache in my heart is unbearable and I can hear them laughing as they jump from cloud to cloud…doing cartwheels and perfect flips along the way.

I can hear Anna whisper, “I love you Mama, Abigail was right it is amazing here.”

Heaven is real and my girls are there.