Anna and Rowan

Yesterday while I was going through wedding photos I found this picture.

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I couldn’t help but remember a conversation that Anna and I had not long ago about the hyphen in our names. She asked why some people have just one name and we have two. I explained to her that both her dad and I felt it was important that she had both of our names and, when I got married to Tom, I felt it was important to stay connected to her – so I kept my maiden name and then hyphenated it with Tom’s last name. Hence we both are Dieter-Something. Anna totally understood all of this but looked at me with this funny grin. She then said very directly, “I won’t stay hyphenated forever Mama, because when I marry Rowan I’ll be Anna Toomey.”

The night Anna was born Rowan was in the hospital awaiting her arrival, he was seven months old. Anna would declare often that she knew Rowan the longest out of all her friends. She was very proud of this fact. She loved Rowan so much and I am so happy she had this life long friendship with him. They were so funny together, laughing and sometimes fighting like an old married couple. They knew each other, really knew each other, which came out often in the way they played. Asking for a play date with Rowan was a daily occurrence, they would disappear upstairs and enter a world of make believe like no other. Critters, grocery store, vet clinic, house, babies, spies and, my all time favorite (even though it was a bit disconcerting) – teenagers.  One time on a bike ride they asked if I would ride behind them, way behind them. I asked why and they told me they were playing teenagers without any parents around. I smiled then and I’m smiling now. They were so funny.

These two had a plan for their future. They were going to get married, live on a farm and have 16 head of cattle. Rowan was going to be an architect and they would have 2 kids, a girl and boy named Joey. Anna wanted to have one child herself and adopt the other. Rowan thought maybe the farm would be in Seattle but he wasn’t sure if Anna would like it there.

Their friendship was solid and I know that no matter what came their way, other friendships and new schools, they would always make their way back to one another. I know a lot of people pray for Tom and I to have peace with the loss of our girls. I pray for Rowan, and all of my girls friends’. Their little hearts are broken without my girls around and I pray that God will give them peace knowing that they have two angels that will be forever watching out for them.

I am so thankful for this little boy who loved my daughter with all his heart. I know that she loved him too. This is so evident my the number of times I have found his name written on random pieces a paper around her room. It was one of the first names she could write all by herself.

Who knows what would have happened in the future for Anna and Rowan. I would like to think that one day I would be putting together the best slide show ever for their rehearsal dinner.

This is where it would start…

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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.