I will add Dave's speech later, with his permission. This was my letter to Rachel. It was so very hard to write. I spent a few hours in the middle of the night just staring blankly at the computer. I had thought of writing something before she died but it just didn't seem right to do this before hand....but eventually some words did come....and then I stole some others...
Dear Sweet Rachel,
I think it was a few weeks ago when I talked to you in the kitchen about Jesus. It was after one of your last spells and I wanted you to know how much he loved you. I tried to tell you a little bit about heaven and what God was preparing for you and us. I usually cried when we had these talks. Do you remember Rachel? And now you are really there, and what is so hard for us to imagine and understand is now very real to you. I wish so much that I could see what you are experiencing right now. And that’s what makes it so hard to wait. My heart aches for just one glimpse.
Your fight here is over. No more spells. No more morphene and fentanyl. But also no more giggles. No more watching Ethan and Abigail bring laughter out of you. You had a special bond with your big brother and sister that you had with no-one else. There will be no more early morning moments with you – lying on our bed, in that quiet time before the day started. You trying all your sweet charms on a mommy who wanted just a few more minutes of sleep. No more warm cheek pressed up against mine. No more little feet to eat. Most of all, I miss your sly grin as you tried to get your feet up near my mouth for me to bite them. I miss seeing you shake your head as an invitation to play. I miss watching you grin with pride when you could kick off anything that was on your lap – a ball, a blanket. I love the way you fit so perfectly in our arms.
Dear Rachel, you made all of us fall in love with you. You were so full of life. What a blessing and a gift your life is to us. I remember when we found out we were pregnant, I wrote in my journal the words “Already I love you fiercely” And that love has just burned brighter. And yet, my love for you is just an echo of your Maker’s perfect and fierce love for you, and now He has welcomed you home with open arms.
To borrow another mother’s words to her daughter: I am so grateful to you for taking me to a quiet place of intimacy with God – for giving me a glimpse of the nature of his love. There was nothing you had to do to earn my love. I didn’t require anything from you before I loved you, not even your physical normality. I loved you simply because you were mine. You were not precious to me because of the things you did. Your worth was written into your being from the very first moment of your existence. The value of your person was not measured by your usefulness, nor was your identity composed of hard-won achievements or the gleanings of experience. Thank you for helping me hear an echo of God’s eternal love for us. Thank you for giving me a message and a song. You whispered them to me in the secret place, but I will shout them out. I’ll shout them to a world afflicted by activity, obsessed with strength, afraid of weakness, outraged by deformity, and intimidated by death. You were precious, Rachel, because you were created as a gift. I am privileged to have carried you. As your mother, I honor you and all that your life has been.”
(from "Shaming the Strong" by Sarah Williams)