So anyway... I have struggled since E arrived to get to Rachel's grave on Fridays. Our new church is in Dover, so we have been stopping there a lot on the way home. I feel okay about it. Like I've said, I do what my heart needs and I haven't really been *yearning* to get there on Fridays like I used to (right now). But every once in a while, I *need* to go.
As January came to an end, I was aching to get her grave "up to date" in décor. Her tree was still up and every time I went, I felt like it was time - but I never seemed to be able to plan anything out and so I always showed up empty handed. I refused to take down our Christmas stuff at home until I changed hers out since it went up on her birthday at both places.
I usually put out a bouquet of daisies and tulips (our wedding flowers) for February since our anniversary is on the 18th. But I went up in the attic to get them down and the last 3 years of weather had done a job on them. They looked beaten up. I went out to Walmart to try to get something and after looking forever, came across a DIY project page for a Kissing Ball...
I had just said to Matt the night before that I thought the kissing ball we put out for Christmas worked good because the snow didn't stick to it... and a kissing ball seemed appropriate for February - so that was it. I picked out some flowers to mix into the old ones (the old ones have a lot of sentimental value since my mom had brought them to her birthday at the hospital) and I went home and got my glue gun out.
After about an hour of messing with the ribbon, flowers and hot glue, I felt it....
I *really* needed to do something for her.
I used to spend all sorts of time creating things for her grave. I liked everything to be handmade and from me with lots of meaning. And I just haven't been able to do that for a long time. (5 kids at home takes up most of my time) Often I pick stuff up on the way and make it there, but always in a rush (and the last time was when Matt cut his finger in August!!) But back in the early days, it was how I worked through my intense need to care for her when I couldn't actually care for *her*. I just didn't realize I was craving that so much.
I didn't make it on Friday... so we planned to go on Saturday. That didn't happen, so it became the plan for Sunday.
Sunday when we got out of church, we were in two separate cars because we had Jailyn & Caleb and we don't all fit in one. It was a long morning, so the plan became to go home and I'd go back later to decorate...but something happened to me.
I think a mix of being completely exhausted....
( Side note: If you have never taken care of someone who has disabilities before, this may not have crossed your mind - but please say a prayer for my family, especially my sister - as great and amazing as Jay is doing, it's a huge amount of work and Jay requires a lot of help. It's also just very hard to see someone you love have a sudden tragic thing take away so much from them. It brings on a different kind of very real grief for everyone. It's easy for people to see her and only think "wow, so amazing" - and don't get me wrong - it IS... she is alive and walking and she is absolutely proving the doctors wrong and proving how amazing God is... but my heart breaks over and over again as I watch her try to lift her arm by her shoulder or push her bowl to her chest to try to eat without dropping it... or to sit and watch kids run or wrestle and get angry at them for being able to and feeling left out. Or the crazy amount of medicine she has to take through her G-tube. Quite frankly, this journey has just begun for them and it's a hard one.)
... and feeling the weight of this huge burden I have to be a light in an often dark and painful world....
I found myself leaving Matt going in a different direction and driving straight to Rachel's grave. I was pouring tears before we ever left the parking lot of the church. I stopped suddenly at her spot, stepped out, took a few good size steps to her stone and fell on my knees on top of her grave.
The ground wet and muddy from the snow having been shoveled away, I had a complete breakdown - like a face-on-the-ground kind of breakdown. Bent around my knees, I sobbed and clutched the ground over her tiny body, leaving fingerprints on the grass, and it was not even about her completely...
It was more about everyone I love having no interest in their Salvation through Jesus and I can't do anything about it... It was communion Sunday and the sermon at church was amazing... but usually when I hear about how God rescued me from eternity in hell, I usually feel so thankful - but this day, I wanted to just ask if He was going to fill my heart with so much love for people who would turn from him, couldn't he have just left me in my ignorance? I know it sounds stupid... I mean what kind of fool prays to be ignorant and go to hell?
I sit on top of Rachel's grave and hate the ground that separates us and I just fear the day that any of them die and I don't have anything else but the ground between us... no promise of seeing them again - not a true one anyway.... and no ability to picture them in 'a better place'.... and honestly, it makes me want to puke. It makes me beg Him to take me first. I know their eternity isn't supposed to be about me... and it's not... but I don't know how I would make it through losing any of them knowing heaven was not their destiny.
So there you have it... I'm a selfish, afraid, and now soaking wet and puffy faced mother, daughter, sister, friend... who would rather go to hell with you than leave you behind.
But I can't give it to anyone - and most the time I'm not even a good example of what it means to be in the body of Christ... I feel like I can't even rightly show them why they would or should even desire to know Him... and it literally feels like a million tons of bricks crushing my chest and stealing my breath. And because I know all too well that we aren't guaranteed 90 years with anyone... time feels like it's going to steal them from me.
I got back in the van, pushed my frizzy hair away from my face, wiped my mascara from my cheek to my pants, I looked back and begged Desirae and Jailyn to take their relationship with God seriously - and drove home...crying. They probably thought I had gone off the deep end. But dear Lord please don't let me be a stumbling block to my children and my family...don't let me fail them. Show me what it means to never let love fail.
The plan became to bring Rachel her new stuff on Monday...which "just happened" to be the 3rd.
We took a vacation day from school and went to Rachel's grave. Packed up the Christmas stuff and put out the Valentines/Anniversary stuff...
I'm pretty happy with how the kissing balls came out. I made one for our house too. My best friend Lisa had sent me a new flag for Rachel a couple weeks back that has her hands on it and it says "Love Lives Here - Hope does not disappoint us - Romans 5:5" I thought it would be perfect, so I ordered another one. I try to always have matching stuff here and there, which actually helps me on the weeks when I don't get there. I feel like I can still see how her stuff is doing even without driving over there. The other flag isn't here yet (I'm guessing it will show up on Valentines or our Anniversary - because that's just the way things go around here!) so I put the "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" flag with her for now and her hands here at our house.
So anyway, here it is... that was much longer than I expected... sorry!
Always Protects, Trusts, Hopes, Endures.
Love Never Fails
|I couldn't get the Christmas lights out, they are frozen on the ground, so had to leave the green garland up for now.|
|The tulips and daisies from the first February without her (was our 5th anniversary) mixed in |
and a little heart shaped rock one of the kids found that I painted for her.