Seems obvious right? The ground freezes in the winter in NH - not new news... but it had never mattered to me before that moment. I had things I wanted to stick in the ground to keep her decorations above the snow (which of course we got a TON of last year!) and not only could I not get anything in, but every store around was sold out of shepherd hooks and the ones in my yard were frozen IN. I tried and tried to get them out...nothing. I cried and cried some more. next year I'm going to beat the weather, I thought.
And so last week, while out shopping for a scatter rug for Asa's room, I saw shepherd hooks on sale. That led to looking for things to hang on it, which left me feeling down. Everything is expensive....nothing seems good enough... the weather at the cemetery is harsh and takes it's toll fast on things.... where do I find something strong, sturdy, cheap and pretty enough for my girl? ugh.
I settled on just the hook and decided I would make something - more my style anyway, I like to make things for my kids. Seemed like a good plan until I stopped on Tuesday night after music lessons to buy some fake flowers. I went to 2 different stores and finally bought some after close to 2 hours of looking, that I wasn't even all that happy with. I stayed up late putting it together. With Rachel's 10 month birthday coming up, I wanted to have this just right so I could bring it down for her day. It looked alright, but it wasn't functional for a grave because of the shape of the styrofoam I used to hold the flowers. The wind, rain, snow and direct sun would destroy it in not much time at all.
Yesterday I found a hanging basket on sale that seemed to fix the problem. I was feeling better. Until I tried to put it together... I wondered, how long my heart will break over her grave decor.... will this EVER get easier? Will I do this my whole life? I can say that I honestly think I will - I don't see me ever leaving her grave unattended (unless we move to a place far away) and I'm good with that. I just hope that as time goes on, and I become less 'new' at this, it will get easier...I feel like such a rookie.
Last night, as I sat here staring at the floor discouraged over this, I couldn't stay put. I decided I was going back out to get what I needed to finish this project. Matt was assuring me it looked good just as it was, but I hated it and wasn't able to settle for less than she deserves. So Des & I went out to a couple more stores...at which I bought a few things....and this do-it-myself-to-save-money-and-make-it-prettier project was no longer cheaper or prettier.
Now that it's October, the stores are loaded with Halloween stuff. Most of you know we don't participate in Halloween, but I decided we'd look through some of the stuff to see if I could find something "fall-ish" that would look cute on Rachel's stone. Not so much luck... what I did find was a huge scarecrow hanging decoration that said "If I Only Had A Brain."
I just stared at it.... somehow not funny this year. Most of the things having to do with Halloween got a whole less funny and "harmless" after I had to put my baby's body in a cold dark ground in a cemetery...but that's another subject. Des was standing at my side telling me of some hair dressing toy she wanted and was oblivious to what was happening to my heart as I stood there - so in an attempt to protect her from the feeling I was having, I just said "let's get out of here".
We went to the register with some fake flowers for Rachel's grave.... as the man put them in the bag, he said to Des...
"looks like somebody is going to have a new baby brother or sister soon"
Des nodded and twirled her hair (she hates these conversations more than I do)
"do you know which it is yet?"
"A brother" she said
"Would you have rather had a sister?" he asked. He had to ask, didn't he???
"mmm hmmm" she said.
"Is this going to be your only brother?"
"no" and she looked at me for help...
I jumped in and said "she has two brothers and a sister already"
"Oh, a nice big family - I bet your hands are full. I wish we would have had more, but we only had one and now she's all grown up and off to college"
"It goes by fast" I responded as I grabbed my fake flowers for the girl I only got to spend 43 mins with before sending her off to a place much further away (yet, safer) than college....just wishing I could have seen that day...
As we walked out, I looked at Des and said "those questions are hard to answer, huh?" she nodded and we headed home. I walked in the door, after spending another $13 on more flowers and stuff (so much for saving money), to find that the one I had already made didn't look as horrible as I remembered (an hour before!!). I took one look at them and started crying. "I feel like a psycho" I said to Matt. He just hugged me and said "It's okay, you want her to have pretty flowers, that's all."
Too bad something so simple feels so heavy and so complicated. Really what I want is to not have to decorate a grave at all - and especially not in preparation for a long, cold winter.... a first birthday without her here...another Christmas... an empty stocking...trying to keep her tree on her grave lit up for Christmas morning.... my other kids' birthdays, including Asa's.... jumping in leaves....sledding, building forts, and hot chocolate.... I wish I could have kept her. I wish I could love her here.
There is a hole in my heart that can never be filled by anyone else. It is there only for my 4th child.... and no matter how pretty I can make her grave, it's not going to make that hole any smaller. No matter how many other children we have here or welcome into our family, it's not going anywhere. Time isn't filling it in. It's been almost 10 months since I held her - a lifetime of missing her and battling a cemetery to go....
But thankfully, My Lord has conquered the grave and this is all temporary - no matter how permanent it feels.
outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you...... 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.