Friday, January 31, 2014

What Does it Look Like in Heaven?

I stood at Rachel's grave on Sunday as Matt shoveled off a nearby grave for a friend.  It was windy and FREEZING out and a gust of wind blew snow that hit my face.  As I reached for my hood to cover my ears, I looked up and saw Matt doing the same.  Both of us still in our dress clothes from church, I smiled at how awesome my husband is to be willing to take care of snow at lunch time with a van full of hungry kids and Asa missing his nap... all for me.  I am a blessed girl.
I looked down at Rachel's stone and as another gust almost took my hood off, I said to my little girl... "I bet it's not cold in heaven"
And I giggled. 
It wasn't a common giggle.. it was more of the we-will-have-victory-over-this-freezing-weather kind of giggle.  The we-can't-be-shaken kind of giggle. And as I heard myself, I thought of the 25th verse in Proverbs 31 that says:
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She has no fear of the future - it doesn't scare her.  Because she has trust and faith in God.
And in that moment I felt so much comfort in the hope of heaven.  I was brought to a place of wonder about what it's like and what she was doing.  I wondered if she was playing and I thought back to our honeymoon... Puerto Rico - perfect weather the entire week.  I mean PERFECT.  And all I could think was it's even better than that.  Earth can't compare - even on the best day.
And I smiled for her.
I'm so excited for her that she already has that.
Today, a friend sent me this song and said it reminder her of Rachel (thanks, Amanda! I am so blessed by people letting me know she comes to mind!)  and I've found myself lost in it a few times tonight.
"I hope you're dancing in the sky and I hope you're singing in the angels choir....
here on earth....everything's different...." 
I miss you girl.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Her Tiny Hands Keepsake

I've been having trouble getting to the cemetery on Fridays - actually, I have trouble leaving my house at all.  By the time we're done school and Asa takes a nap, it's getting dark - plus, it's just a ton of work to load these guys all up to go anywhere. 

So, on Friday when I heard that my new necklace from Everlasting Memories had already been delivered, I was so excited! 

I had contacted them on Thursday night to see if she got my email with the photo attached and expected the email to say it was received... so when she said it had been delivered, I was floored!  I can't believe how fast they put that order through!  It was literally less than 2 days from when I sent the email to when it was delivered!

They have all kinds of memorial jewelry - some really pretty ones that hold ashes that if Rachel had been cremated, I would love to have.  I picked the photo engraved memorial because I wanted it to be as personalized as possible.  And I was really excited to see they offer a lot of room for writing.  My other necklace only offered two lines with minimal letters so I just wrote "miss my girl" but on this one, I was able to write more, which I really like. (after all, I'm a writer...)  I got the block letters and love that they are clear and easy to read.
These photos are horrible, my camera wasn't cooperating, but it says "Her tiny hands changed my world forever"

The photos didn't come out great, but the necklace is beautiful.  There were a bunch of options, but I liked this shape because it was a more modern looking heart - although they do have a heart that is more traditional too.  It's a pretty heavy weight, which I really like because I feel it on me as I move.  The quality seems really nice - the chain is beautiful.  I got the "upgraded" one.  I always have trouble with my hair getting caught in chains and this one hasn't done that yet.  I've worn it two days now. 

My only "complaint" is that I wish the etching was deeper so it could be seen from far away.  The detail is beautiful and precise, but from a distance, it's hard to see.  The silver (and rhodium) is so shiny (which is really pretty) that if the pendant turns, you can't see the design.  I asked my friend what she thought about it and she said that she loved it and could tell it was Rachel's hands.  When I asked her to stand back about 5 ft, she said that from there it was hard to make out - that it looked more like a rose.  In a way, I think this is special - kind of symbolic of how Rachel isn't able to be seen, but if you really look at me, she is there - her handprints on my heart always and everywhere.  But in another way, I would love for people who don't recognize her hands (which I am SO thankful that so many people do!) to see it and know what it was so that it could serve as a conversation piece to talk about her.

All in all, I would say that this jewelry is really pretty - and would make an amazing gift for a funeral or something since you can get it so quickly and write something special on it.  I am a HUGE fan of fast shipping since I have a hard time getting out with the kids, so that is something I feel you can't put a price on!  I also think if you have ashes from your baby or other loved one, you should look at their necklaces - I like them so much I thought about getting one to put a piece of Rachel's hair in. 

The woman that I worked with is named Hallie and her email is if you have any other questions.  She is super nice and has a heart to help people heal after a loss.

 So thankful to find something in her PO Box and especially on a Friday when I couldn't get to her.  Every keepsake I have helps me feel like she is with me - so once again, God's timing was perfect. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Joy Touched with Pain

Ezra is 6 months old today.  It's hard to believe I have had the great blessing of watching 2 of Rachel's little brothers grow so much since she was born.  And although I thought Asa would be jealous of his attention thief, he is absolutely head over heals in love with his baby brother.
my two babies

In every smile, giggle, cuddle and cry... I miss her. 

But in the same moment that I miss her... I get lost in thankfulness for him.  I stare in his big brown eyes and talk to him, hoping he knows what he means to me.  I feel his soft warm skin and pray I never forget what it feels like to know my little E as a new baby.  I feel his chubby strong baby hand around my finger and I am overwhelmed with the miraculous nature of each tiny detail of his body having been created inside of me... in the same space that once belonged to Rachel.

I know that my love for my children is deeper because of knowing what it felt like to hold her and then have to let her go.  I'll feel my sinful nature start to get frustrated with one of them and the next thought is if only I could be so bothered by her...  I wake in the night to care for another hungry infant, a screaming toddler or someone standing next to me saying they wet the bed  (often all in a row!) and I think grieving her is harder than any amount of sleep deprivation. I'm just glad they are here to care for and love.  I struggle though a day of schooling and cleaning and cooking and trying to meet demands left and right and remind myself any day one of these children could be gone too... how would I wish I would have responded if tomorrow never came?  Would I wish I spent the day differently?  Taken more time to love them?  Sat down and read to them instead of being preoccupied with my tasks?  Laughed instead of being mad?

I'm not claiming that I never get upset or frustrated or even that I never lose my cool.  I'm not claiming that I never feel so tired I think I could collapse or that I live my life completely regret free.  Actually, it's just the opposite.  I'm as human as they come with a hot head and quick tongue and I am grumpy in the morning and over stimulated and ready for a quiet house by 7pm.  But what has changed in me since Rachel left my world is that I am no longer content in any of that.  What is different is that I don't take time for granted.  What I work on every day is remembering the gift that each of these children are - and counting each "inconvenience" that comes with them as a blessing knowing that every single one of them is something I didn't get with my girl.  And every moment is a gift and I want to receive it as such.

Today after our Sunday school before church, I stopped by the nursery to check on Ezra and as I peeked around the door, I saw his huge smile as his eyes met mine and I immediately smiled back.  He's got to be the happiest baby I've ever seen.  He just lights up my entire world.  It's only been 6 months and I can't remember - or imagine - my life without him.  I'm very grateful to watch him grow and to learn more about him every day as I watch him develop more into his own little (*super cute*)person... but I'm in no rush for these days to go too fast.  Milestones are always bittersweet for me and much more complicated than for the common mother.  Things that 'should' just be exciting are reminders of what I never saw in Rachel.

I saw on my old calendar that on January 8th last year, I first heard Ezra's heartbeat.  As I went to write down the arrival of his first tooth exactly a year later, on January 8th this year, it struck me how fast life changes.  How quick they grow...  I wondered if Rachel would have gotten her first tooth at 5 months old too - and if it would have been the bottom left, just like all 5 of her siblings.  And a couple days later when he got his 2nd tooth and I was feeding him cereal, Desirae said "ooohhh, he's getting so big, getting teeth, eating food and trying to talk to us."  I looked up from the bowl and saw that her eyes had welled up with tears.  And in that moment, I realized how old SHE is getting... my little girl, getting emotional about her siblings growing too fast... I think her & I will be good friends when she is an adult... and oh how I pray I get to experience that with her.  But if I don't, Please dear Lord let today be a day without regrets.

6 beautiful months with our 6th baby.


Um...don't you just want to squeeze him? 
I forgot to add Rachel's bear in this one.  Wishing she was in it.

I posted this on facebook, but for those who didn't see it, I think Ezra is saying "victory!"
as he rides in Jay's wheelchair and she stands behind them pushing!!

As I just finished up this post, the sermon we were listening to quoted a hymn and the words resonated in my heart and that speak of what I was just trying to say.  I'm thankful for the way my joy is touched by pain... it reminds me that this world is not our home.

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.
I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found
I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,

That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.
For thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Hast given us joys, tender and true,
Yet all with wings;

So that we see gleaming on high
Diviner things.
I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before
I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Child of Weakness

I was contacted by someone who offered me a memorial keepsake in exchange for an honest review of it on my blog.

It requires a photo and so I went looking through Rachel's birthday photos to pick one.  I had the thought that perhaps I didn't have the energy for what this could potentially take out of me emotionally, but I kept going.  About 5 photos in, I was in tears.  I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow it still feels like a rude awakening that I can't just look through my child's birth photos and not be sad.  And yet what I saw in those photos tonight was....

I was smiling.

Everyone around me was looking at me intently. 

You can tell by the people around me that it's not an every day kind of birth.  And yet, by looking at me, you can't tell.  And knowing what I know now, as I look at those photos I feel like I'm looking at someone else... someone who I feel is so unaware of what was about to happen.  I see a strength I didn't feel, but couldn't fake and I wish I could go back to that moment.  I see my belly and I know she was in there alive... with me...dancing... and I didn't know what I have come to know.  I didn't know that my darkest fear of what imagined this journey to be would be nothing compared to how hard it has actually been.

Matt heard me crying and came in to check on me.  "That's God" I said through my tears as I looked at a photo of me smiling.  "There's no other way to explain it."
Less than an hour before Rachel was born - her blanket on my lap.

He didn't even ask what I meant, it's obvious. We both know I was scared to death.  We both knew that our baby would die in a matter of hours or days.... or minutes.

I continued to scroll through the photos and the scene went from preparing for her birth to after we were brought back to the room.  The photos from the Operating Room are out of sequence because they were taken on my camera so all I saw was the before and after... and I was still smiling, but you could also see the pain behind my furrowed brows.  One of the first photos was a direct shot of the top of her head.

I just don't remember it like it was.  I stared at the photo, trying to just pick out the good... "She had SO much hair... I bet it would have been like Desirae's" I said... "Yeah" Matt responded.

I felt my head start to shake in disbelief.... and the tears just took over.

Over 3 years later I still cannot believe that my baby really had such a defect.  I forgot how much she bled.  I forgot how blue she became, even before anyone else - including our children - even got to see her.  And I can't believe I lived through seeing my baby like that.  I thought about what it was like for everyone who was waiting to walk into that room and I hate that the word "shocked" comes to mind as a possible reaction to her appearance.  I hate that "disappointed" could be how they felt.  I hate that they probably all had a hard night when they left.

I just want her to be thought of as beautiful.

As I was giving her a sponge bath and looking at all her little features, I remember the photographer telling me I should move things along and bring the kids in for photos because the effects of time on her would make it harder to get good ones.  I just couldn't see what they could see. 

I was truly blinded by love and covered by His grace.

I am not sure how I could have made it through that any other way. 

As I sat here staring at her bloody brain stem on my computer screen... heart racing, body shaking, tears pouring down like rain.... feeling like I had just opened up a wound I thought was no longer so deep; the tender scar being jaggedly ripped open... the radio played in the background and these words filled my air....

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in Me thine all in all

And I felt my ache lift as both Matt & I began to sing, my voice still trembling with my heart....

"Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
Sin has left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow...
And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
 'Jesus died my soul to save' my lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe...
"Oh, praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead...."

I look at her head and I know that it's a result of the sin in this world and it makes me hate sin more than I have ever hated anything before.  But it also makes me love Jesus more than I've ever loved anyone before.  Because without him, I'd have nothing more than a baby who was born to die... I'd have a birth defect and empty arms with no hope. 

But with him and because of what He did for me and for Rachel on the cross... because HE was born to die... this gut-wrenching, breath stopping, paralyzing pain in my heart that feels like a ton of bricks on my chest... it's just temporary.  And while I wait for relief... she already has it.  She is already complete.  She has been cleansed white as snow...

And I hear my Savior say, thy strength indeed is small... but child of weakness, watch and pray - and you'll find in Me your all in all.

So even while I cry - and I've been crying for 3 hours now... I pray.  I wait.  I look to Him.  I look through what took her from me  - her weaknesses - and I see Who will bring me back to her for eternity.  I recognize my weakness and I rest in His strength.  He is my all in all.

And I rejoice that even if it hurts, she was my good and perfect gift from above.  The closest thing to Jesus I've ever held in my arms.  An irreplaceable, precious, perfect gift who has changed my world forever. No matter what that means I have to endure or how complicated my heart is now... I thank Him for her.  And I thank Him for the cross.  I thank Him for making me so weak that I need Him like I do.  Because if I was strong without him... well, it would be an illusion. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong
Psalm 34:17-20
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken

Follow Through

For Rachel's 2nd birthday, I asked you all to contribute towards our 501c3 application.  Soon after, I announced that I was not going to be doing the application because I was too overwhelmed to make it happen.  I was feeling like God wanted me to focus on my living children and husband in 2013 - and so I laid aside my ambitions for Rachel's Legacy and rested in His will.  It was not an easy decision, as a matter of fact, I think it was the hardest decision I had made since I got her diagnosis.  It was excruciating.  The whole year was tough.
But I did it.  I spent 2013 focusing on my family here with me and trying to listen to God's voice where Rachel's Legacy was concerned. 
And I couldn't shake it...  I had to do it....  and so I sat back down and with lots of prayer and the help of one of the Board members, got all the numbers down on paper and what you see in this picture is me FINISHING my 501c3 application!!  I am absolutely blown away by how much easier it was for me to make sense out of it this year.  Last year I couldn't even understand the first page.  My mind just couldn't comprehend any of it.   This year I was able to work on it here and there without it becoming a wedge between me and my living family.  And so I know God has shown me something about balance that I really needed to see.  I'm super excited to be following through, even if it took a while - and very glad I was smart enough to sit on the money! I have this thing about integrity... Thank You Lord!   I put the application in the mail on the 16th - and even asked the woman at the post office to pray about it as I gave it to her.  So PLEASE pray that it will go through without a catch.  I hear once they flag it for something, it can take months longer. 
Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this possible and for all of your patience with me as I try to make my way through this thing we call grief.  I've never had to do anything like any of this before and I know I mess up all the time - so thank you for loving me and seeing me through it.  I need you.
Rachel Alice Aube... It's for you I ache and for you I fight... Love you pretty girl. 
2014 here we come.... get yourself some racing shoes! :)

Where Do Babies Come From?

I make these return address labels that have caricatures on them underneath our address.  I started making them after Rachel died because I needed her to be included - and I make new ones as new little Aubes arrive.  (I tend to need to add someone before I run out of labels!)

Yesterday, my new labels came in the mail. 
 Isaiah went down the line, counting our family members and when he got to the end, he said "That's everyone except Silas."
It's interesting to me how concerned he is with the baby I miscarried.  He wasn't old enough to know or remember it happening and I hardly ever talk about it.  And yet when someone talks to us in public and does 'the count' - my sweet Isaiah always feels the need to announce that we have 'two babies that died... one was Rachel and was we lost.'  (it took me a LONG time to realize he literally thought we LOST that baby... like as in misplaced him...yikes!)  But anyway... in the same mail delivery, I received the finished product I told you about that I was working with an artist on for Silas.  My friend Lisa gave me a gift to get something in memory of him when we gave him a name and it finally came...  And it is awesome. 
I already had this stand for my Willow Tree Figurine... and the "Remember" Angel to go on it - so I wanted it to fit on it next to the angel.  This is the size of an 8 week baby (how far along I was) - it's in a "tear drop" resin, but the shape reminded me of a womb.  (you can get heart shaped too)  I picked stars to be Silas' 'thing'... so I asked her to put a star in it with the baby - I was going to use the December birthstone since I was due in December, but I decided to go with May when I miscarried since that date was more significant in my memory.  I looked up the May stone and it said it was Emerald and meant 'rebirth' - It felt perfect.  To think of my loss as his rebirth into heaven as apposed to a miscarriage on earth.  She also made a little star that I put next to it on the stand.  The stand that says Silas was a custom order - I told her I didn't want the resin to just lay on the shelf and that I wanted Silas to be written to commemorate the fact that we finally named him - and she whipped this up - it's exactly what I was hoping for. 

up close
what it looks like on the stand.
So when Isaiah asked about Silas not being on the address label, I had a hard time finding words to explain why it's important to me that Rachel is, but that I don't want Silas on it.  I don't want to tell him that one life is less valuable than another, but I'm not sure he can grasp the concept of holding a baby full term vs a miscarriage - heck a lot of adults can't.  So, in an attempt to distract him from the labels, I showed him Silas' memorial...
Oh boy.  I was NOT prepared for this... 
"So where is Silas buried?" he asked.
A clear vision of me pushing the handle on the toilet and watching what I thought *might* be my baby swirl down the drain flashed through my mind. Hind sight would make that moment so clear, but I just didn't know.
"He's not buried, honey"  I held up the package... "Isn't this nice?"  I tried to distract, praying he'd just move on...
"What do you mean he isn't buried... where is he?"
"His soul is in heaven, but I'm not sure where his body is."  I said.
"Well can we ask the doctors where they put him at your next appointment?"
"They don't know either." I told him.
"Well what did they do with him when they cut him out of your belly?" he said in a very concerned voice.
"They didn't cut him out, he just came out."
"He just came out?!?!  He looked around to see if his siblings were catching this.
I explained to him that Rachel was the only one who was cut out of my belly.  The rest came out naturally....
"Out of where?! Where do they come out of?"  he sounded horrified.  I felt horrified.
I had absolutely no idea how to explain what happened to the physical part of that baby.  I never expected one of my kids to ask.  And the conversation didn't go as I would have liked when all was said and done and he went back to playing.
Why didn't I just say I don't need Silas on the address labels?  Just admit that he doesn't hold the same weight on my heart that Rachel does?  I don't know.  It's like I feel guilty about it - put pressure on myself to keep them at the same level - or just didn't want to let him down....yet instead I think I might have given him nightmares! 
Losing babies is complicated all on its own, but having to walk young kids through it is something else.  Honestly, I'm just really worn out from it all.  He has never questioned how any of our living children got here.  But something about a brother or sister he knows are somewhere, but not here, brings up a lot of questions as to where they are and where they came from.  And I just don't have all the answers.  I know "Where do babies come from?" is not anyone's favorite question to get from their kids... it's never been an overly comfortable topic, but I do so miss when it was a little easier to answer where my children are now.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Home Together

All through 2013, Desirae was craving the American Girl Doll of the year, Saige. 

When Christmas came and went and Saige was still not hers, she was disappointed. My dad asked her if she would like her for her birthday.  She said "yes, but the problem is that they are 'only available while supplies last'."  They got on line to check if she was still in stock and Des was sad to find she was sold out.  My dad said he could get her the doll for 2014 instead and she expressed her concern that she wouldn't be as pretty as Saige.  But, I was surprised by the silver lining she found... "Well, now at least I don't have to worry anymore if she will be sold out."

I guess that's a good way to look at it...I think she might have inherited my I-can-handle-anything-if-I-know-what-it-is gene.

Over the next few days we waited to hear the announcement for the 2014 Girl of the Year...  We saw hints on line and saw that she liked to dance...  Desirae said "Awe...just like Rachel, I have a feeling this doll is going to be perfect!"  With a little bit of research, we noticed they hadn't had a blonde girl of the year in a few years.  I told her I thought this one would be blonde like her. 

You can imagine how excited she was when they revealed the new doll... She is blonde and has a ballerina on her shirt.  She "is a talented 10 year old who likes to dance and design ballet outfits" (Des is totally into designing fashion) and in my opinion, she is MUCH prettier than Saige - LOL. 

So the other day, my Dad (Papa) and my Grandma picked her up to drive her almost 2 hours away to the American Girl store to pick up her new daughter... Isabelle.  She asked if Isabelle could get her ears pierced and she picked out little blue daisy earrings for her that match the ones she got on Rachel's 6 week birthday and still wears to this day. 

This doll has "Rachel" written all over her... she is so perfect for Des that I was just as excited for her getting the doll (and all her accessories) as she was!  Papa also brought her to the restaurant in the American Girl store where Isabelle got her own seat and menu and Des was able to order "An appetizer and main course" as she tells everyone because she felt so fancy eating there.  She said it was the most exciting day of her life.

It was a pretty special day for a amazingly special girl. 

I was reminded of when I was pregnant with Rachel and someone anonymously gave her the "Kit" Doll who was "A bright light in the dark days".   Isabelle felt *that* perfect.  I was able to talk to Des about how much better this turned out to be when she waited and didn't push for what apparently took up a lot of her mental space. 

But the real reason I am sharing all of this is because Desirae has a cute little Christmas tree in her room.  She asked for it the first year I bought Rachel a little one for her grave and she decorates it with many of the same décor I use on Rachel's tree.  This year though, she wrapped a bunch of little presents for her dolls.  She told me the other day, when I asked about taking her tree down, that she was waiting to celebrate Christmas for when Saige came home, but now that Saige isn't coming home, she was waiting for Isabelle. 

She prepared to go get Isabelle on Tuesday morning by packing her AG "travel bag" that she got as a present from my brother and sister-in-law.  When she got home, she showed me all of her stuff and disappeared immediately to her bedroom.  I called up to see what she was doing and she said "I'm celebrating Christmas with Isabelle."  The funny thing is, I already knew that.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been asked again and again how my Christmas was.  I want to just say it was great... because really, it was... but what has come out each time is "Christmas just isn't the same..."

And it's not. 

It hasn't felt like Christmas used to since Rachel died and I don't know if it ever will.  I can so relate to Des wanting to save opening the gifts and celebrating Christmas until her longed for daughter comes home.  I hate going through Christmas without Rachel. And as I saw her eagerness to open the gifts, that she has left waiting all this time, once she had Isabelle in her arms... I knew in my heart that I might need to be home with Rachel before I feel that old feeling again...  but it's okay, because one day, Christmas is coming...

Desirae kneeling in front of an Evergreen tree with her doll to open her beautifully wrapped and waited for gifts was a picture to me of the day I am waiting for.... the day that I will unwrap the gift of eternity with my girl kneeling in front of the Everlasting God - The day we'll be home together.
My dad helping Des & Isabelle out of the car after a long day of travels...

Aren't they pretty?  Des is showing her ballerina shirt.

The back of her "leather jacket" that came in her accessories kit.
These dolls clothes cost more than I pay for my own!!
It's been almost a week and Des is still carrying Isabelle around with her everywhere.  And I thought she was getting too old for dolls... I guess she has a little more time left in her.  Wish she had her little sister here to play along with her...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Other Daughter

Today Des & I went to her dentist appointment.  We sat in the waiting room for a while before they called us in.  I was texting a friend when they called her name....

"Desirae and Mom" she called...

We got up and met her at the door.  She looked behind me and asked "Do you want your other daughter to come in too?"

My head was so confused... I turned to look where she was looking, but saw nothing.  I asked what she meant... was she talking about Rachel?  What did she mean do I want her to come??

"That little girl that was just standing next to you, she's not your daughter?"

"No, there was a girl standing next to us?" I asked.

"Yeah, she was up on the platform with you."

I told her I hadn't noticed a little girl and fought the urge to tell her that I *do* have another daughter...

When she left the room, I asked Des about it.  She said this little girl, about 3 years old, was standing up against her, just staring at her - not saying anything.

I don't know how I missed that, but for a split second today, I knew what it felt like to have someone include "my other daughter" as if she were real and alive and actually physically with me... and for a split second, I forgot she wasn't.  And for that split second, my world felt right.

Until that second ended and I realized it was all a misunderstanding.  My heart shattered again.  My head felt dazed again.  I felt the hope of her coming with me fall once again.

And that's the complicated nature of this thing we call grief...  it strikes during simple, every day life stuff... she was never 'coming with me' into that office and as a matter of fact, she wasn't even on my mind at that time.  But all it took was a hint of that being my reality and I was lost in that moment and when I snapped out of that moment, the heartache felt so fresh and real and painful.  I wanted nothing more than to turn around and say "Come on, Rachel..." and pick up my little 3 year old girl and bring her with us. 

But when I turned around, she wasn't there.

Friday, January 3, 2014

She Made Me a Mama

11 years ago today, I learned a love I never knew and could never top when I held Desirae May in my arms for the first time. 

2 weeks early on a Friday (my first Friday baby!!) that brought a big snow storm much like today, 19 hours of HARD Pitocin induced labor, young and clueless and unwed, and still on house arrest!  I welcomed a chubby 8 lb, 10 oz little girl with a head full of black hair into my world and I have never been the same. 

I can't imagine what life would be like without her.  God used her to bring me to Him and I only pray He will use me to bring her to Him as well.  She has become such an amazing young lady who will make an extraordinary wife and Mama if the Lord allows. 

Happy Birthday Des.  It's you and me against the world girl <3 p="">
First time I held her in my arms - I still cry every time I look at this picture

Still covered in vernix from being 2 weeks early, but her weight wasn't lacking. 
She was so chubby

Head full of hair and looked just like Daddy
Matt was just 21 yrs old

the hospital photo.
Rachel had hair like hers