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

 

Crossroads

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Two weeks ago I sat here staring at a blank post, wanting desperately for the time I needed to write. I didn’t want to think about how long my little one would be napping or whether I should be checking things off my to do list. What I wanted more than anything was to connect with my grief and longing in the way I used to. I wanted to sit and wait for the words to come without trying to force the words out because I was pressed for time. My heart felt extremely overwhelmed.

Since the girls went to Heaven I have used this space as a way to connect with our memories as a family, share my heart through my grief and also share how, even in the deepest of suffering, my faith in God has allowed me to have joy. Through this space I have connected with so many people who have broken hearts just like mine, and I have always felt that sharing our story of love, hope and faith is something I should do for the rest of my days. God gives me peace each morning and I feel compelled to share that peace with others.

In the past couple of months I have also been feeling a nudge to share more of myself and my journey as a mom of a little one. Again, I have struggled finding the time to write and figure out how to merge both my present and my past together in words.

Two weeks ago as I sat staring at a blank post I came to a crossroads: do I stop writing in this space and ask God for peace in that decision or ask God to show me what I need to do to continue to write and share our journey, which now includes life with a little one?

I sat and prayed.

Later that same day, not expecting an answer so quickly, I saw a post by a friend of mine. She is a managing editor of a blog that is looking for new contributors.  Portland Moms Blog is a space to foster and support the community by connecting Portland-area moms to information and parenting perspectives unique to the city and region. Basically it is a collection of moms writing about mothering from their own unique and diverse perspectives, all living in the Portland metro area.

I sent a message to my friend asking if she felt it was something I could do. Her response was, “OMG, you SHOULD!!!”

Later that night the fear and anxiety of not being a good enough writer started to take space in my thoughts. I started to question how I would have time as a scheduled contributor when I didn’t have time to write on my own time for my own blog. I started to doubt and let that fear of the unknown make my decision for me.

Then it hit me. This wasn’t my decision at all. I had asked God for guidance and He was giving it to me. I just needed to trust that the door He was opening and be obedient. That is when the peace came and I thought about the mom that is out there suffering in the same way that I suffer. The mom, like me, that couldn’t relate to a mom’s blog because “those moms” still had all their babies. It became so clear to me that our story of grief is not the only story of grief in this area and that in writing in this new space I can give grieving moms a voice.

In trusting Him I know that I will also be able to find the time, find the words and share my story in a way that honors, not only my mothering, but the many other woman that mother through a broken heart as well.

Today I am honored to say that I am now a contributor to the Portland Moms Blog. I have no idea where this new venture will lead me but I do know that it is an answer to prayer.

Last Sunday there was a gathering of the contributors and leadership team of PMB. As I sat amongst these woman I couldn’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to not only meet them but also share stories of mothering with them <3.

One foot in Heaven

On Saturday my big old dog went to be with his girls. It was incredibly peaceful and I know that at the exact moment he went my girls were waiting for him. I could feel it. I told Tom that I wished I could reach through at that exact moment and just hold their hands for a second. He was thinking the same thoughts. We both felt the peace of Heaven surrounding us.

I always feel a sense of peace even in my hardest times. I feel this overwhelming sense that everything is good even though my heart is breaking.

Before the accident one of my biggest fears was that something was going to happen to me. Cancer, accident, weird illnesses…you name it I worried about it. The thought of leaving my family and having everything change for them was very upsetting. Tom and I have a will that outlines exactly what we want to happen just for this reason. My wishes of how much time Anna would be able to spend with Tom and the kids, my parents and other extended family is all outlined.  Our community is tight and the thought of her not being a part of that due to me being gone was hard to think about.

I wanted to live till 100 and experience all there was to experience with my kids, grandkids and life here on earth.

This all changed the day my girls went to be with Jesus. There is no need for a will or for any fear of not being here on earth anymore. I now have one foot in Heaven. Each day that goes by is one day closer to the day I get to join them. With this said, I also have a tremendous knowing that I have a lot to do here to honor my girls, to honor God and to take care of Emily and Ben before it’s my time. I know there is a plan and I am in motion to live that out, heartache and all.

How am I doing this? Where do I get my strength from? The answer is really simple, God. I have put ALL of my trust in him. How could I not, he is taking care of my girls, Tom and I. I see this in everything that has been laid out in front of me since the accident. Community coming together and loving each other, people taking care of us in ways I didn’t even know we needed, lives being changed for the better, people coming to Him for comfort and the peace that surrounds us even in the darkest of times.

I feel this amazing sense of peace that my girls are with me and I feel, see, smell and hear signs of this all the time. Little things, that if I didn’t have one foot in Heaven I probably wouldn’t even think twice:

  • An overwhelming smell of Anna’s favorite soap. Not all the time, but when I need it most.
  • A hummingbird outside my window the first day back in the house – that’s the  first time I’ve seen a hummingbird around our house thanks to the cat population!
  • More birds – geese honking as they fly overhead while I’m lighting the candles at dusk.
  • An overwhelming sense to buy a book that once read at home says all the right things at exactly the right moment, not to mention that after taking off the bargain sticker it’s revealed the author’s name is Anna.
  • Wind blowing, whispers of I Love You Mama in my ears.
  • Abigail whispering, as if she is standing next to me, take care of my dad Susan.
  • Double rainbows, single rainbows and lots and lots of sunny days during rainy season in Oregon. Sun is out right now actually.
  • Finding Anna’s glasses in a place that allowed me, once finding them, to move an inch further in this process of grieve. It was also a sign that it is alright to take pictures again even if my girls are not the subject of those shots. I found her glasses in my camera bag.

They are here and when I don’t feel them I know they are probably comforting one of the many other people who need to feel them.

I know longer look up when I refer to Heaven…I look around me.

So, if you ever see me give the I Love You sign and there is no one around, know that I’m giving it to my girls because at that moment they are giving it to me too!

Family Beach Trip 2011 (one of many)

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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