Friday, December 28, 2012

My Heart Marches On

The past two days have left me stuck on the couch... I've been so, so sick.  Not sure if it was just a harsh cold or a flu or what, but I slept for 12 hours on Wed night and could barely move when I got up.  Then Thursday, I spent most of the day out of it on the couch, had to call in sick to work and called Matt to come home early.  I couldn't even get up, let alone take care of the kids.  I don't even remember when the last time I felt that sick was....  it's been years. 

I called in again this morning.  I felt better than yesterday, but still really fatigued and short of breath.  I managed to get some cleaning done, but by noon, I was on the couch again.  All day long, Rachel's visit was on my mind, but since we got a ton of snow Thursday, I wasn't sure what kind of condition her grave would be in, and I certainly was not capable of removing snow.  So I kept putting it off - until around 4 when I couldn't take it any more. 

It took all my energy to pack the kids up and get them in the van.  I ended up stopping at Matt's work and picking him up so I would have some help since a grocery trip was in my necessary plans as well.  We got down to the cemetery and I was greeted with a flash back of the first winter without her...  read post from January 2011 HERE, where we trudged thru a ton of snow to visit Rachel (and I had to carry Sam, who was sound asleep, the whole way!)...

So there we were.... and all I could think was how I had managed to do it back then.  I wondered if I needed to get out and trudge thru the now 16 inches of snow.  I thought maybe I could do it fast since Matt could stay in the van with the kids.  I wondered if I'd pass out along the way from my cold - or be greeted by an animal since it was now dark.... and then God sent me an 'it's okay to let it go'....

There is a guy that comes to visit someone near Rachel.  He's an older man and he's there any time I am around 5pm.  I assume it must be his wife, but maybe a child, I don't know.  He's just the only other person I've seen that seems to have the same drive to be there as I do.  I always want to ask him who he's missing.... but haven't yet.  So, tonight, we were stopped across the street from the gates to the cemetery.  I was debating what to do, and there he was.... he pulled in the gates and over the snow pile.  I watched in disbelief... was he really going to drive thru this snow?  It's way too deep.  He parked and waited.  I watched.  I wanted to know, does every body get the same urge to march thru this stuff as I do?  Will he get out and walk it?  If he does, I certainly will have no excuse...  And he just sat there.  Matt asked what I wanted to do.  I felt like I needed to stay up to the standards I had set 2 years ago... let nothing stop me from my Friday visit.  I started to get sad when I remembered how they used to plow for me if it snowed on a Friday (at least up to her grave) and now they don't.  I watched the guy some more.  He wasn't getting out.  I could see his face lit by the light inside the car... he seemed disappointed too.  But he stayed in his car. And there he sat.  And somehow it made me feel okay about staying in mine.  I knew he wanted to get down there just as much as I did.  And I'm sure by now he knows my van too... I feel like God was letting us both know we're not alone.

Matt waited patiently for me to decide if I was going to attempt this (he is awesome)  and I finally said "it's okay, we can go".  He put his hand on my head and said "It's okay Stace, she knows you came."  and I just starting crying.  He prayed with us and thanked God for 'the gift of Rachel's life' (the address I picked for this blog a week after we found out she would die) and asked God to give her a hug and kiss for us.  And we left.

We stopped and picked up a $5 pizza at Little Caesar's (does anybody else LOVE that place?!)  and the kids ate in the car while I went into the grocery store.  My last stop in the store...I bought some 'Rachel' flowers for the house since the ones here were wilting and when I picked them up, the name on them was "Bring me home!"  I sighed as I thought about how badly I would have loved to bring her home instead of these flowers....  I went to the checkout and at the last minute, changed to an isle that had nobody in it.  I looked up after unloading everything to hand the girl my flowers and saw that my cashier's name was Rachel... the bagger asked if I wanted the soda double bagged just as I noticed it... I looked at him in a daze, confused as to what the question was....  He asked again... "umm, yeah, that's fine, thank you..."  I answered as I looked back to her name wondering what my girl would have had for a first job.  And I couldn't stop it... the tears started flowing.  The bagger made some joke about how Walmart gets the fancy bags that spin and they don't.  I pretended I wasn't crying and joked along. 

It's just my life.  Cemeteries.  Feeling defeated by snow storms and unpaved roads.  Fresh flowers instead of her.  Crying at random times and not caring what anyone thinks of that.  Being able to smile and cry at the same time.  Grief.  Missed memories.  Shattered dreams.  Wondering who she would have been... yesterday... today....tomorrow...ten years from now....  Hating that things hurt and being afraid of them not hurting anymore.  Complicated everything.  Nothing is simple like it used to be.  But that's okay. 

I might not have been able to march down to her grave tonight, but my heart marched there over and over.  My heart marched to her as I picked the flowers, as I checked out at the store, as I suffered through more 'morning' sickness tonight with her little sibling, as I took my ridiculous amount of folic acid.... and as I snuggled into bed with her blanket to write about how much I hate that I couldn't get to her.  She's with me.  My heart holds her, no matter how deep the snow is.  My heart marches daily as I long to see her again... as I whisper every time I lay down "I miss you girl".   My heart will be on this road for the rest of my earthly life, no matter where I am, what I'm doing, who I'm with, or how close to her grave I can get on a Friday.  My heart marches on.  It's not easy, but I have no other choice.  And as it marches, each day one day closer, to a sweet reunion with her... I can still hear the song by Selah in my mind.... I will carry you, while your heart beats here, long beyond the empty cradle and through the coming years.  I will carry you, all my life... and I will praise the One whose chosen me... to carry you.....

still carrying you with me sweet girl, every day of my life.  Praising our Lord for you... exactly who you are.  Exactly how it went.  Exactly what this has meant for me and my life.  My heart marches on for you - and for Him. 

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