It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that ten months ago, I was in the hospital across town, holding our baby who would never come home with us. Ten months. Double digits now. It doesn't seem possible that much time has gone by. It doesn't seem possible that the world couldn't have slowed down at all. I haven't kept up with it in pace for sure, but nonetheless, we're here ten months later. I remember the look on Brent's face in that delivery room as he held his precious baby girl, longing for her to be okay. To be alive. How can ten months have passed, when those moments are still so fresh? So clear?
It's old hat news to tell you I'm sad, or that I miss my daughter, or that I think about her every single day. I love her every moment, even still. To others, my saying those things is like hearing the same song over and over again. For me, however, it's one song that has no end. It's not on repeat - it's just one continual, long song. I have trouble relating to people I was once close with. It's hard for that relationship to be the same now. I can't put it to sensible words, but they remind me of what once was. Or maybe, rather, of what isn't. So I back away. I put up barriers. And while it sounds to them as if the tune has changed, the song merely continues, verse, after verse, after verse.
Today, though, since I'm not often able to do it on these milestone anniversaries, I'm going to focus on some blessings. I need to remember even in the face and midst of our grief, we have been blessed.
Yesterday while in church, I thought about what today would be for us. I thought about the anniversary, how I would feel, what my day would be like. Yesterday was communion at church, and I can't rightly express it, but as we were sitting there, I looked up to the front of the church. I remembered the flowers that were spread across the stage for Harlynn's funeral. I remembered the songs that were sung. I remembered one face - the face of a friend turned around in the pew as our family entered the auditorium to be seated - and the look of empathy and love on her face is one of the few things I remember from that day. My eyes went from the stage to the ceiling and as I saw the glow from the lights overhead, I heard, "She's communing with you." I suddenly got warm all over, and could feel something - I don't know if it was a weight? A presence? - I just felt a blanket of whatever this was, covering me. Harlynn was a part of our communion service yesterday. I may be the only one who knows it, but I was keenly aware of her to be sure. Mommy loves you, sweetie. Thank you for being with us.
During a conversation with my parents yesterday, I was reminded we had some checks from Christmas (whoops) we still needed to deposit. I started going through some piles of papers and miscellaneous items, and not only did I find checks, but I found gift cards that hadn't been used as well. I kept digging, as I totaled up what had been set aside "for a time of need", I found several hundred dollars worth of checks or gift cards. I told Brent, "We need to get together right now and have a thank-you-Jesus prayer." He has provided for us time and time again, and I really don't know why I worry about finances so much. I want to be fiscally responsible, and good stewards with what we have, so maybe my worry stems from pressure I put on myself in that regard. However, the blessing of stumbling upon all of those last night was overwhelming. I might have cried. A little.
That's not all. Last week as I was getting Haley dressed one morning, I realized she had suddenly - like, overnight - outgrown most all of her clothes. "Oh Lord," I prayed in my head, "I've just taken a big pay cut. Please help us find a way to get Haley clothes she needs without putting us in a bind financially." Little did I know, at the very moment I was praying that prayer, Brent was getting a Facebook message from a friend of his, asking if we could use clothes for Haley. A few giant bags of clothes later, she has plenty to get her through this next year, if not longer. And wow...was she ever excited to try on every. single. piece. Last night we had to wait for her to come to her room because she just wanted to "hug my bathing suit a little bit."
|Haley's pile of answered prayer|
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" ~ Matthew 6:25 - 27
And here we are today, at ten months. This afternoon I was able to give a voice to my baby girl, as I presented at a lunch meeting for a local chapter of Kiwanis. I choked through it, but I got to tell her story. Our story. I got to talk about Michelle's vision and how Harlynn's Heart came to be. It was a blessing to be able to remember the purpose of her life, despite the fact it ended all too soon, and to share that purpose with others.
All of this has shown me, once again, that Brent, Haley, Little Man, and myself - we're not forgotten. God has not forgotten us. He has not abandoned us. Yes, our Harlynn died, and yes we were and are still devastated by that fact. No matter our broken hearts, though, He has not stopped taking care of us, or walking us through this. We're now ten months closer to seeing her again.