Today started as a cloudy, rainy morning outside. I think, of course, it's fitting and symbolic. Today was Harlynn's due date. Today I would be 40 weeks. Today....two weeks ago today, we buried our beautiful baby girl. It was cloudy and rainy outside, and within the very depths of my heartbroken soul. Yet the sun is breaking through the clouds to remind me it's still there and to remind me of the bright spots that will always remain in my heart, even when the clouds consume me.
Yesterday I was very emotional, simply in anxiety about today. Today was a day I looked forward to from the moment I saw that little pink plus sign on the pregnancy test in August. A day I knew would fill this home with joy, and forever change how we lived as a little family. Today I would hear the little cries of my baby girl, my Harlynn. Yesterday, as these thoughts filled my mind, I thought of the injustice of how all of that hope and excitement has turned to dread and despair. I gave birth to death. That has indeed changed our little family. Instead of the cries of our baby girl, I hear my own sobs and shed my own tears. I watch for the tears from Brent's eyes. I explain to Haley why Harlynn is in Heaven and we must always remember her. Remembering her is all we have.
Before 10 am yesterday, I had been through the coffee shop drive thru, been to the cemetery to eat breakfast at my daughter's side, and hit the garage. It was a busy morning. (I clipped the frame with the side view mirror...I will now be pulling in to the garage forward instead of trying to be cool like my husband and backing in...) I tried to stay busy throughout the day. Yard work. Laundry. Errands. Shopping. Cleaning. When I came home from an unsuccessful, frustrating two hour shopping trip, there was a box by my door.
In this box were three books I ordered. One is a devotional book for toddler girls. I had been looking for something I could read with Haley that was written specifically to get her toddler mind gears turning in relation to what Jesus is all about. We'll see if my ambitions prove fruitful. The second book was the Children's version of Heaven is For Real. I wanted her to know about where Harlynn is. Heck, I wanted to know about where Harlynn is. Therefore, the third book was the adult copy. Heaven is For Real. Thank you Amazon.com.
I sat down on the sofa and started reading. I started reading and didn't stop (save for eating dinner, answering a phone call, and having to explain to Brent why I was crying so hard) until the book was finished. 163 pages - I read cover to cover, prologue, epilogue, about, etc. - every single word, sometimes going back and re-reading to make sure I just read what I thought I had. I cannot tell you the transformation in my heart upon finishing this book.
I am a Christian. That (hopefully) is no secret. I believe God is good, God is love, and God sent his son, Jesus, to die a horrific, cruel death on the cross to save and atone each of us for our sins that we have and will commit. I believe in hell, and I believe in heaven. I've read all the passages. I know all the hymns - How Beautiful Heaven Must Be, I've Got A Mansion, When We All Get to Heaven - I grew up singing these songs. I can't explain what I'm trying to say - but basically what it boils down to is this: I believe in all of these things, but I never stopped and thought long enough about them to believe them. Yeah, yeah, streets of gold, blah blah, pearly gates, sure thing, being with Jesus.....Val. VAL. Face-palm, Valerie, stop and think about what you're saying. Stop and think about what you claim you know. Stop and think about Heaven.
I read this book and cried through a lot of it, but two points really hit me. Not hit me like a "duh, you idiot"... Hit me with a wave of peace. Thank you, God, for this very sentimental, very tangible answer to my pleading prayers. Thank you.
According to Colton, the little boy who spent time in Heaven during his do-or-die surgery, Jesus wears purple. Jesus is the only one in Heaven who wears purple. Also, Jesus is the first person everyone sees.
Harlynn never saw or realized color while she was in my womb. While she was rolling, kicking, and practicing karate in my belly - she never saw any rainbow of color. She never realized what color was. But according to Colton's account of what Heaven is, upon her entrance in to Heaven, the first color she saw worn by the very one who embraced her and held her close - was purple.
The second "punch of peace" I'll call it, was when Colton met his sister he never knew his parents miscarried. His sister knew who he was. She recognized him, she embraced him, she loved him. Dear God, I want so badly to believe Harlynn knows who we are. That she longs to be with us as much as we long to be with her. That she loves us. That she knows how very loved she is by us.
Did I totally fall apart and bawl? Yes. Were they tears of sorrow? Somewhat, yes. But mostly, they were tears of release - of comfort - of a sense of closure. An answer. A tangible hope. Is it real? I don't know. The Bible doesn't give me chapter and verse of Harlynn's entrance in to Heaven. I do know that Jesus is real. I do know that Heaven is real. And I'm willing to bet Colton didn't make any of this up.
Today is still going to be hard. I'm still going to think about the what-ifs, the why's, the many unanswered questions. I'm still going to miss Harlynn. I'm still going to wish she was here, with me. With us. But I feel a sense of peace I haven't been able to feel since learning her heart was still three weeks ago. I feel like...dare I say...I feel like Harlynn has given me more than just a longing to be in Heaven to be with her, but a solidifying hope and purpose for really believing in everything Heaven is. In everything my life on earth means. In everything my God did for me so I could end up there, with Him. With her.
I feel like I finally get it. I've been a Christian for umpteen years, and I finally get it. Heaven is for real, which means Jesus is for real, which means He died to save me, which means with Him for me, who can be against me? Which means...I am loved. I am cherished. I am not suffering through this alone, or in vain. He is in my corner, and the very cracks in my shattered heart now seep hope right alongside the hurt.
There is a purpose I cannot put in to words. There is a hope I cannot explain. There is a peace that I know only within me. Harlynn, sweetie, I know you're okay. Eventually, Mommy will be too.
Next: Our Stillborn Storm
Prev: The Cemetery