Friday, December 5, 2014

He Holds My Heart

Well, another December 3rd has come and gone... 

We woke up to an ice storm and by the looks outside our window and hearing schools in Maine were canceled, I didn't know if we'd be able to go - I had a peace about it all and was pretty sure that even if it ended up being later in the day, we would make it happen... but the late start kind of set us up for a rough lunch time with all the kids.  

The kids all sitting with the box they were donating.

Around 9am, I started feeling a headache coming on.  I could tell it was going to be a bad one.  I took a migraine pill, but when I couldn't finish my coffee because I felt so sick, I knew it was a bad sign.  I forged through the day anyhow....

This is us walking down *The* hallway... I looked down and Asa was clinging onto
Rachel bear.  All three of these babies made this hallway an experience I could never forget.
And I also realized that E's almost as big as Asa!!
When we got to the hospital, Kim (Rachel, Asa & Ezra's nurse and my good friend) came out with a cart and we loaded the boxes on and met up with Alice, who coordinated the care package donations.  First stop: The bathroom (of course, where else does a big family need to go first?) LOL.  Then we went and got in line at security.  So many of my most sacred moments started in that line.  They asked for my ID, which I of course had left in the car.  So thankfully the staff was with me and he gave me my badge anyway.  Sticking it on my shirt, I read it "December 3, 2014 - Visitor"

I love being in that place on her birthday.  I think even if we didn't donate boxes, I would want to go sit there - and next year I might try to arrange more time to do just that... to sit in the cafe or something.  Just spend time where she lived outside of me...  
Us, Rachel bear and Kim
Kim was our nurse, but she took phenomenal care of our girl and has turned
into a great friend since, and also helped deliver Rachel's little brothers too!

When we got upstairs, there were a couple more ladies who were looking forward to meeting us and we were greeted with big hugs and tons of gratitude for putting these boxes together from our perspective - because, one of them said, they wouldn't think of the things we do having not had been through it themselves.  Like having two of everything so one can be buried and one kept. *sigh*
I felt incredibly loved and appreciated and am so thankful that they welcome our
gifts and that they aren't afraid of the topic of Rachel.  I'm so thankful that they see the
need to minister to the families they serve.  And I'm even more thankful that they allow us to include our God
Because He's the best source of Comfort I know and if we couldn't, that would be hard.
What a blessing it is to so many, I'm sure!
As we talked, another lady got out this singing reindeer to keep the boys happy.  Asa followed that thing around for 15 minutes. We were a large crowd, clogging up the hallway, but they seemed happy to have us all there.  Which for this mama, is a gift all in itself.

I asked if Rachel's room was open... I hoped I could go step in it and look around and show the kids where we all spent time with her.  Kim came back and said it was taken and "Ironically, there is a tear drop on the door."
This is what was on the outside of our door while Rachel was with us.  They use this
as a way for staff to know that there is a baby that didn't live in the room.
When Kim told me that Rachel's room was taken and that there was someone in it who was going thru what we went through - on her birthday - I started crying.  She looked at me and said "They might be the first recipients of one of Rachel's boxes."

I got so emotional.  Not really over Rachel... just over the fact that babies die.  It just isn't right.

So, this is random, but as I was looking through my old photos to find the tear drop picture, I found these pictures in my Blogger account under the tab "On Your Phone".  I remembered taking these pics last year, but I thought I was seeing things when it looked like the snow was falling... in a "Rachel" kind of snow, no less... but I think Google must have animated it... I don't know, but I'm sure it's no coincidence... I was looking for the tear drop picture and discovered an animated picture that has snow falling just like it did the morning after she died outside my hospital room?!  If it's not moving on your end, believe me, it's moving here and I've checked it enough times to know for sure I'm not seeing things!  

And then I found this one from last Christmas... I didn't get to get a good pic this year from Rachel's grave because by the time we got there, I was too sick to get out of the car and it was raining so Matt did it for me... but when I looked close, I could see the sparkles on her stone lighting up!  I have NO idea why this is happening... but I'll take it...  crazy stuff....

OK, so that was off track, but lets see... after we left the hospital, we went to Friendly's with those gift cards we got the day before.  I was telling Kim (she was able to come with us this year!!!) when we got there about how last year someone paid for our meal and how I was praying this year that someone would do it again and then we got $75 in gift cards in one day!  The kids were so thrilled to be able to order whatever they wanted (we are usually a share meals kind of family) and Ezra had his first ice cream to himself.  And believe it or not, we racked up a $78 bill!  We've *never* done that!!

And just when I though the day couldn't get any better (minus getting rid of my headache) a lady behind us asked who Rachel was and told us that was her name.  I told her and she said she was sorry to bring it up - I said, it's ok, that's why we wear the shirts! ;)  So then a bit later, the staff comes out singing a birthday song... the little girl across from us was celebrating her birthday and we tried to figure out if she was 3 or 4, but she was definitely about Rachel's age...  Matt said "I'm going to just assume that song was for Rachel." and we all smiled.  It was a relief that for once, seeing a girl Rachel's age celebrating her birthday didn't hurt.  I missed her and wished for her for a second, but it didn't hurt like it used to.

Then just as we were all letting our meal settle, this tall guy walked over and leaned in and said in a loud voice "I don't know what's going on here, but with the shirts, it looks like it is something good!" He said "What is it?"  "It's our daughter's birthday." I said.  And he goes "Well, that *is* special" and dropped a $50 bill in front of us and walked out before we could even say Thank you.

We all just stared at it.
I started crying.
Kim said "Wow, You told me that happens to you all the time."
Des added, "It is usually because we're cute." and we laughed.
"He doesn't even know she's not alive." I said.

I wanted to tell him.  I wanted to run after him and tell him that she is dead and this was more than the run of the mill birthday celebration.  I wanted to tell him I had been praying someone at Friendly's would pay our bill (I'm sorry if that sounds lame... when you're broke, you pray for lame things!) I wanted to tell him Thank you.

But he just walked off, no idea how much he just impacted our day, my heart... our faith... my kids belief in prayer and in how God answers it.  He has no idea that this was so bittersweet or that he was sent straight from God.

I just kept crying.... it's amazingly humbling to be Rachel's Mama.  To see how far and wide her little life has touched and to read over and over again the ways in which God has used her for his eternal purposes.  It's breath taking to know that people say her name, remember her, and aren't afraid to celebrate her with me, all while letting me miss her like crazy,  It's a true gift to be a part of every high and every single low that I have been since August 4, 2010.  But I have to admit, when I see things like that happen.... when I try to even count the number of times that people have PAID for our meals!!!!!  I am blown away.  And not because our meals get paid for, but because this stuff doesn't just happen all the time to everyone.  Maybe once in a while... but it happens ALL THE TIME to us and the only thing I can say is that God knows.  He knew when I prayed, that the man was going to do that.  He knew when he sent Donna here with $50 in gift cards on the 2nd and sent a $25 gift card to Matt at work that same day - He knew that those were going to be enough... but he also knew he was about to blow me out of the water with his provision!

One gift card would have been enough for me to feel like my prayers were answered... but just in case I ever doubted if he hears or cares... he sent a couple more, a girl named Rachel behind us, a birthday song for a 4 year old in front of us and a $50 bill tossed at us because it was a 'special day'.... all after we got lost and almost didn't make it to that Friendly's....

He is in control of every detail and when we ask, he will give us more than we could imagine.

After our ride back, by the time we got back to Dover and to Rachel's grave, I was extremely sick.  We didn't even finish decorating there and I had to have Matt bring me to the ER again.  Nothing was touching my headache and I was getting really ill.

I sat in the waiting room alone and I started to cry... I felt like my plans for the day hadn't been finished and I really just wanted to go home and decorate the tree with the kids and eat the caramel brownies and dairy free egg nog that awaited.  I wanted to light the fence (thankfully I had hung the lights the day before - again God's provision for my heart) and listen to Rachel's CD from her shower.  I felt so disappointed that my health had yet again gotten in my way of living....

But The day had been so beautiful and God was so gracious that I was able to ride it out knowing that He would take care of what my heart needed.  I told Matt and the kids to go home and finish Rachel's birthday plans and they agreed.  After a couple of hours they sent me on my way and a Facebook friend I didn't know came and picked me up and brought me home.  She walked in asking "What are you doing here on Rachel's birthday?!"  "I know!" So thankful for how many people know it was her big day.

When I arrived home, the tree stood waiting to be decorated - they wanted to do it with me.... and so we finished out the plans... minus the brownies and egg nog.

And at about 9:15, I laid down with Matt on the couch and we fell fast asleep together for the night.

I woke up this morning to a ton of birthday wishes from people who love me and Rachel all over my Facebook page and a bunch of text messages... everyone letting me know she is not forgotten.

And that's all I want.... for her to never be forgotten and for people to think of her and have thoughts of her lead to thoughts of God.  That's why I started writing 4 years ago.

I feel pretty confident that her precious life and all that has come about because of it will remain long after I'm gone.

It's been a long 4 years.  Today was the first day of year 5 and I felt more sad today then I did yesterday... but I'm okay.   It almost felt like today was the day after Christmas... I feel ready to move on from the season already, yet to most, it's just beginning... so now I prepare to spend another Christmas without her.  The first of the Christmas cards came today and I can see why in 2010 they put me over the edge... I'm just not ready for it.

But it's coming and I know God will hold my heart.  I know He'll provide.  I know He'll bring joy in the midst of my sorrow.  He always does.

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