Yesterday started off with an extremely emotional morning, hence the early blog post. As the day went on, I was kind of surprised by it. There was a lot that happened, I'll try to condense.
I've received a bunch of emails over the past 2 years about how the #43 stands for "love you". Back in the days of paging, you would type 143 for "I love you" and so 43 was shortened to "love you". Lots of people have written to tell me they think that Rachel's 43 minutes was to say "love you" to me. I got an email saying this the morning of her birthday too and then on facebook, someone had written "Rachel, please send your Mama a 43 today".
I posted about Restoring Aching Arms at exactly 10:27am, in remembrance of the time she was born. I started getting ready to go to her grave - and each minute was on my mind. Was this really all I got with her? 43 minutes doesn't last long. I got the kids ready, packed the top of her cake and some plates and plasticware, plus of course, my camera and we left.
I stopped at the post office to check her box. I sat in the parking lot to read the cards that came in and as I finished and pulled to the end of the parking lot, I looked at the clock and it was 11:10am. 43 minutes had come and gone and it went by like a flash. I took a deep sigh and looked back at the road... and the car in front of me had this license plate:
So, here are my thoughts about this week....
I spent hours preparing and money we didn't have to stand in the snow and freezing cold. I was let down by so many people and at the end of a very beautiful day, still sad. It was 23 and snowing Saturday, 30 and raining on Sunday... and out of nowhere, we get a spring day in December on her birthday! 54 degrees, not a cloud in the sky and warm - not to mention the warm night and clear sky. Then today it was back to cold and dreary and just 39 degrees.
Only a couple people remembered her birthday yesterday.... and people that should have, didn't...and probably never will. But somehow I had more peace and joy then I had with the group of people standing in the snow. And I guess it's partly because even though I know they want to support us, I hate feeling like I'm a burden. (they don't make me feel that way, I just do)
I knew God had something in all that snow for me... but I didn't know He would continue it throughout the next few days. It was actually the stark difference between the two days - and how out of place her actual birthday was weather wise - that finally made me see....
Rachel somehow became famous. Her story has always been 'loud'. There's always been a lot of people. And I've always felt comfort in knowing that so many were affected by her. As that has started to dwindled, I've fought it because in my heart, it means she is less important than she used to be. People aren't getting what they used to get from my story, so they are finding new things. It makes me second guess who they were in it for.... her or them? And the journey loses some of it's beauty.
I felt like my simple day at home and picnicing on her grave were the best hours I have had in a long time. I had so much joy on the hardest day of my life - because GOD met me there. The number of times I got a 43 or another message from above that day are innumerable. It was a good day. I never thought I would say that about the anniversary of the day she died.
Sure, at the end of the day, I was sad that only my mom & sister called. I was sad that she's still gone. I cried a few times and I still shook my head in disbelief that she is really gone. I wasn't beyond any of that. I'm still a human mama with a hole in my heart that can never be replaced...but I knew that I had God's blessing on my day. I knew I was right where I was supposed to be with the people I needed to be with. And she felt close.
So, I don't know what the next year will bring, but I feel like I need to change it up a bit. To rely on people less and not need their presence and approval to know that she matters. And God reminded me that even if I do, her legacy cannot be lost. I've labored long and hard to leave her handprints on peoples' hearts - and I believe they are there. For the first time since August 2010, I felt like I could rest. I felt like I was enough as her mama. I felt like I had all the support I needed while sitting all alone on her grave. It was beautiful.
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
the fruit of the womb a reward