After each of my babies, when someone asked how old they were I'd usually tell them in weeks until about week 12 and then say months... 3 months, 3 1/2 months, 6 months, 18 months...
With Des I still counted months until she was almost 2 1/2
With Isaiah till he was 2
With Sam, well, as the 3rd child... I've been saying "he'll be 2 in March" since he was about 15 months.
With Rachel.... hmmm...
I feel like counting minutes would be appropriate... my heart has counted each one without her for the last 6 weeks...60,480 to be exact. As the minutes turn to hours and the hours to days; the days to weeks... my heart feels every second of it. The world goes on around me; the days pass by... my heart is still on December 3rd... particularly 43 minutes of that morning.
I went to her grave today... it dawned on me that my daily visits have turned to weekly visits... sigh....Fridays....
As I pulled in, the cemetery people were there digging a grave... a deep, dark, perfectly rectangular hole. They had their propane tank there to heat the ground. I hate frozen ground. I drove past them... Lord help me... My heart has had about all it can take. I wondered if I'd have to visit Rachel from the van since the cemetery was covered in 18 inches of snow all except for that hole... and then I saw Rachel's grave!! I pulled up and saw that someone had shoveled off about 8 square feet around her spot. It was the only spot in the place, other than the roads, that you could walk. Thank you!! And someone had also left her a little angel wind chime on the lilac tree above her. I stopped my van and started crying. I am so humbled by how people love her. It makes the last 60,480 minutes easier to bear. Still full of pain, but definitely easier to bear. I wish I would have had my camera for that one!
I brought a couple of bright yellow daisies that Matt bought me this week... put them on her marker and smiled at how they brought some color to the winter scene... I noticed a note hanging in a plastic bag and took it off. I wrote a little note to her with a stick in the snow, remembering the minutes she was here... "*43* Miss You Sweet Girl..."
I opened my note and realized it was from Matt... He had gone on his lunch break the day before the storm (without me asking!!) to take her tree down so it wouldn't get ruined when the snow came... and left me a little love note. He wrote how he and Rachel both love me and reassured me that we're waiting to see her again...together. This has been a hard road for us. I am definitely feeling this to a different degree as the "mama" and sometimes it's lonely. His thoughtfulness and love swept me off my feet today. The paper was dated 1/11/11... I looked at the plastic bag and the masking tape that protected that piece of paper through a big storm and couldn't help but think how it represented Jesus...and the paper, our relationship...
We met in rehab before we knew Christ, and I was still in rehab when we got pregnant with Des. (weekend visits, in case you're wondering!) I found out I was expecting while in jail for drug charges. I got out at 5 months along and we attempted to be newly sober parents together. It was a train wreck. We split up when Des was 18 months old and were apart for 18 months, at which point I came to know the Lord. We got back together and 2 months before we were going to get married, he accepted Christ as his savior.
Since then, we have struggled with the baggage that doing things backwards comes with... and have been through some major trials... all the while hanging on to our love, sometimes by thread... and sometimes with nothing by the "plastic bag and masking tape" protecting us from the storm. Had we not had Jesus, I am certain that we would not have stayed together. Our "paper" would have been ripped into shreds by the snow and wind. We will celebrate our 5th anniversary on Feb 18 and I know Who deserves the credit for that... and it isn't us. Thank You Jesus for covering us in our storms...
As I went to leave I said "6 weeks... the longest 6 weeks of my life... can't wait to see you again, pretty girl"
I got in the van as I hit my shoes together to get the snow off and the song playing on the radio was on this verse:
I sat there sobbing with my head hanging, tears flowing and hand held high to my great God Who is worthy of my praise... even as I sit at my daughter's grave counting minutes, days, weeks, months, years, decades... until I see her again.I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You