I doubt words will do it justice, but simply stated, what I found on that trip was that the less I tried to find a way to include her, the more she showed up in all the details. Bear with me on this one, my thoughts are all over the place.... I think I'll list details so that I don't need to make it all flow....
A week before the trip, Desirae randomly told us one day "When I get married, my wedding colors are going to be purple and yellow." I asked why and she said "That's what you said are the colors that remind you of Rachel."
A few days later, we were out at a store and I saw the most perfectly purple mums I've ever seen (and haven't found again!!) They weren't lilac, they were a deep, vibrant purple. I told Des that I wanted to get some for Rachel's grave and our steps when we got back from Maine. She agreed they were perfect.
We go to Mount Battie every year in Maine, it's always our first day trip. In previous years, I had them all put on their race shirts for that trip and we took pictures at the top of the mountain that 'included Rachel'. As a general rule, I am the one thinking of Rachel and trying to incorporate things to keep her as part of our days, especially on vacation. Not that the others don't care, she has just not had the same impact on them as me - which only makes sense... but it can be very lonely.
So as we got to the last day of our trip and still hadn't gone, we decided to go even though the weather was cold and soon to be rainy and not really ideal for being up there.
The kids were outside having fun and I was getting us ready to go.
I thought about the shirts... I started taking them out... I considered just letting the kids play and not interrupting them for the change of clothes.... not being a downer with my requirements for the trip... and I put them back...
I told myself that I can be Rachel's Mama alone, I don't need everyone to join in for her to count or be included.... and I sucked it up and put on my Rachel's Mama shirt and let them keep chasing frogs while I packed us a lunch.
A little bit later, I looked up and there was Matt, wearing his 'Rachel's Daddy' shirt. Not asking him to gave me the chance to see that he chose to on his own, which was way more of a gift for me.
I had the "Share a Coke with Rachel" soda my friend Becky gave me that I had at Rachel's Race. It's been sitting on my counter since the race and I brought it and had it on the kitchen window at the camp all week. I had told everyone that it was off limits... nobody was to drink it... I guess I thought I would keep it forever...? But I tucked it in our lunch for our trip to Mount Battie thinking I would "Share a Coke with Rachel" on the top of the mountain.
In the video I made called "We Still Believe" (right side of my blog) the part that says "From the mountain top, to the empty cup" I put a picture of her in my arms at birth when it says 'the mountain top' and then a picture of me closing her casket when it says 'the empty cup'. I picked the picture of her alive for the mountain top... in my heart, the 'mountain top' was where she was alive and with me... so sharing a coke 'with her' on the mountain top was echoing that idea in my mind. That she is alive and with me....
We were standing on the mountain top when people started walking past us carrying the very color mums we had picked for Rachel's grave for when we got back. After the 3rd or 4th person, I began watching to see what they were doing... they started lining them up... 4 on each side, all purple. THE purple! I said to Des "There must be a wedding happening! You could use those mums in your wedding, they are pretty and purple!" She agreed and we kept watching... and then I saw the yellow flowers... "It's a purple and yellow wedding!" I told her... the Maid of Honor was wearing yellow, the other girls were wearing purple... and they were using the very flowers we picked for Rachel's grave to line the makeshift aisle. We watched them taking photos and I couldn't help but wonder if I will be able to be there when Desirae gets married... and who gets married on the top of a mountain on such a cold day when it's about to rain??
We are early eaters. Our usual time for lunch is around 11:30. So it was totally out of the norm that we still hadn't eaten until much after 1pm... We hiked around a bit and then made our way back to the truck to eat since it was too cold for a picnic. We were all standing out back of the truck eating when a bee decided he wanted my food. So I said lets eat on the way home and just go.
|Eating sandwiches like the big boys|
We got in and I ran through all of the stuff about the wedding and the colors with Matt and as I talked, he interrupted to ask why I was drinking Rachel's Coke. I said "I'm sharing a Coke with Rachel on top on the mountain" and smiled. He then asked me what I thought all the wedding stuff meant. I said I wasn't sure. He turned on the truck. The time said it all.... It put both of us into silent awe. We had absolutely no idea it was that late...
Just then, Des said she changed her mind... instead she wanted to have red roses and white daisies as flowers. I said to Matt through tears, "I don't think this had anything to do with Desirae's wedding..."
I honestly believe that all of those details coming together to that point were all just little ways that God used to remind me that she is alive and with me, through Him. He pointed it out on the mountain top, but even in the valley. Not seeing her get married has always been one of those big things that comes up in my heart.
I don't have to grieve missing her wedding because I saw it the day she came and went. I saw her meet her Bridegroom. I watched her walk down the aisle, holding her Daddy's finger after I spent months preparing for the perfect day for her, with her. I was the Mother of the Bride in that Operating Room. I shed tears of joy for what she was about to embark on at the same time I shed tears of sadness for how fast it all went by and how much I would miss having her as my little girl. December 3, 2010, Rachel was joined together with her Groom, Jesus in heaven... and I was there to see her off. And I know she knows I was with her.
So, when I say that the less I tried to include her, the more she was there... I think I should say that this is also just a different stage in my healing and grief. I no longer feel the sting of grief that I did for the first 3 years... I still cry once in a while, but my heart is not perpetually heavy over her death anymore. I know there won't be a day on earth that I don't miss her and wish she was here... and there are still very heavy and hard days... it's just a little different now. That being said, I'm not in any way at all saying that what I did in the past was not what I should have done. I did exactly what I needed for my healing journey and I let God use me in any way He wanted along the way... I am also not saying that if you are in early stages of grief that you should attempt to leave your baby behind in hopes that (s)he will feel closer... I assure you that even a year ago, that would not have been helpful for me. So please know this is just where I am at TODAY and it's always subject to change.
|My Brave Hearts|
|This boy makes it hard to remember that he's only 2.|
|wow, do I love these people.....|