Today makes 17 months since the day I had to leave you in your casket at the cemetery. The following first few weeks, I went every single day to sit above your grave. I read you stories, verses, even sang to you. I don't know if you could hear me, but really, it was for me anyway... I could not shake my mother's need to nurture and love you. I couldn't rock you at night or feed you my milk that awaited a baby who never tasted it. And I didn't know how else to do it. I've returned every single Friday - among other days - since then and stood on that same Holy ground... the ground that holds a piece of my future in heaven.
To say that I miss you...well, it doesn't even come close. I've ached for you every day since I heard of your diagnosis. I used to ache to hold you, for the doctors to be wrong, and for you to be able to live long enough to come home with us. And from December 9, 2010 until now, I have ached over what I'm missing with you, I've ached as I have fought a battle in my mind that wants me to focus on your sweet little body decaying down there, I've ached to hold you, nurse you, teach you new things and bring you to church. I've ached for you to be mine... here....not there.
And I'm sorry that I'm so selfish. I know you're not missing anything down here. I know that God has been so good to you. But I hurt. I cry. I have nowhere to direct this overwhelming desire to love you except for on a stone with your precious name on it - and mine.
I remember that day... kissing your sweet face just one more time before I had to close the top of your beautiful box we call a casket. I tucked your lamb up close and made sure you looked warm in case it was cold down there. I fixed your cross necklace and your "mama" bracelet.
Your body is wrapped in an identical blanket to the one I wrapped you in at birth. Desirae made it for you. I never got a photo of that one. She signed it from all of us in her 7 year old writing. I sleep with the other one still until I wake up to feed your brother each night. I'm careful to not let him use it - I like to keep it as clean as possible so I don't have to wash it much. But when I pick him up at night, your blanket goes to the top of my pillow where I can still see and feel it. I have a bracelet that matches yours with your name on it and a matching cross necklace - even a matching lamb.... and each one of the things I kept were the ones you used while you were with me - but you still feel so far away.
Missing you is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. And often I feel like I fail both you and our God when I'm in the middle of a valley. I'm sorry. I never expected to feel the way I do sometimes. I knew this was going to hurt, I had no idea how much or for how long.
Today while teaching Desirae a new recipe, I was showing her how to cut apples and couldn't stop crying... I want to teach you things. All I could say was "I don't know why I'm so sad lately" - but I do know, it's because you're still gone. I don't want to celebrate another Mother's Day without you. And most people think it's just the 'firsts' or anniversaries that hurt - and they do hurt more, but I've come to realize that every single day without you hurts in one way or another. I've come to realize a lot about this journey that I was clueless about before I was on it.
I need you to know that regardless of all of my pain, I still don't regret you. I don't regret hoping for you, I don't regret giving God the decision over how long you would live, I don't regret trying. I will never regret putting my all into you...ever. And I'm sure you don't really care about any of this in heaven, but I just need to tell you that I still think you're perfect just the way you are. You wouldn't be my Rachel if you were not exactly who you are... you are my 2nd daughter, our 4th child. You made us a family of 6. You are my dancer. The girl who showed me what it means to love without conditions and to love without abandon. You are the closest thing to heaven I have ever laid eyes on and knowing you has given me a glimpse of Jesus I had never known. Waiting for you, holding you and letting you go, did not go as I would have planned. I hate anencephaly. The word makes me sick. But you, my sweet girl are not anencephaly. You are Rachel Alice and I love you. You are beautiful. You are innocent. You are one of God's children. And I was blessed enough to hold you. You were a gift to me.
I will continue to tell the world about you...about my love for you and how you changed the world...and I will never ever forget you. Even if the rest of the world moves on. Your Mama will always remember, always miss you, always love you and always look forward to the day when I will see you again. I'm so thankful that I know our Savior and can rest in that truth.
I have to work tonight - I've spent much of the day crying again and really just want to stay home. But maybe on the way I'll stop to visit your spot... I wish you could meet me there. Could you?
Love you always - Hoping in Him forever,
|The last time I touched your face|
|Trying to explain to my heart that I had to walk away.|