As we approach one year since losing Harlynn, and as I wrestle with how that is even possible, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how to honor her on what we've deemed her "Heavenversary". Would we throw a birthday party? Would we have some sort of ceremony? Would we shut the curtains and lock the doors, not answer the phone, and spend time in grief? That last one, I'll probably do anyway. But, I want her to be celebrated. Somehow. Some way. She isn't a sad thing that happened to us - she is our daughter, and she brought us joy and love, and we want to always remember her for the contribution she made, and continues to make, to our family.
The other night I was reading through the prayer journal I occasionally wrote in while pregnant with her. Coming down to the wire, my prayers were filled with anticipation of meeting her, bringing her home, and beginning our life as a family of four. The final entry while pregnant was April 8th, the day before going in to labor, and two days before she was officially delivered. The next and final entry for that particular journal was May 26th, a month and a half later. In that entry, I thanked God for the many, many ways our family had been shown love. Even, and especially, by complete strangers. God's love poured through other people and covered us, and without it, we would have been so very lost. So very defeated. We were lifted up in love in our time of greatest need. We still are.
That's it, I thought. That's what we'll do.
Harlynn isn't here for us to shower with love, but part of starting Harlynn's Heart was to give that love to others who needed it. I still love my daughter so very much, but I can't cover her in kisses. I can't make her laugh or smile. But I can show others love.
For Harlynn's Heavenversary - and not just this year, but every April 10th for the rest of our lives - we're going to remember her by laboring in love. Loving other people. Whether it's a simple random act of kindness, a sweat equity investment at the local food bank, whether it's visiting the cancer ward in the local hospital and brightening the days of those special patients, singing at a nursing home and hugging those grandparents who wheel out to see you, whether it's surprising someone you know is going through a hard time with a grocery gift certificate, or assembling a crew to clean their yard or home - the possibilities are endless, and the entire world is available.
Whatever we decide to do that day, and I imagine I will purposefully fill my day with love labor activities, I plan to give a card to the recipients, that will say something along the lines of April 10th being my daughter, Harlynn's, birthday and heavenversary, and in honor of the love we have for her, we're sharing that love with others. If someone keeps that card and carries it in their purse or wallet, and every once in a while catches a glimpse of it, I hope it not only reminds them of how much they are loved, but I hope it reminds them how important it is to share love with others.
It will be an emotional day for me, for us, but I hope by sharing and spreading love to others, I can counter my grief with a big helping of hope and renewal. Will you join us in celebrating Harlynn's life, and in Harlynn's Labor of Love? Will you share this with others, so they can join in as well? Feel free to come back to this post and leave a comment below with your special labor of love for the day. We'd love to see how Harlynn's little life spread into the lives of others on what would have been her first birthday.
One year, baby girl. One long but all too quick year. We will celebrate you and love you by making someone else's day. A lot of someones. As you dance with the angels and bask in the love and glory of our Lord, I hope you feel a surge of love from all of us as well. Happy birthday, Harlynn. Happy Heavenversary, baby girl.
Click HERE to be directed to Harlynn's Heart blog, where you can print off cards to distribute on April 10th.