I haven't felt much like writing lately...not really sure why. I have a lot of thoughts, feelings - but I guess I don't know how to write them down coherantly. (and find time to do it well when our kids seem to need more of us these days too!) And maybe sharing them publicly on the blog feels a bit intimidating to me these days. Yesterday though I thought of a way to share a bit of what our life has been like since the loss of Rachel. I made lists - things that have been beautiful for us, things that feel strange about her being gone, and difficult things. (mostly just things from the past few days) I found as I wrote them out, that I had a hard time choosing which category things went in, because there is so much overlap. But it felt good to write them out. I have always liked making lists. So, here it is...
1. Receiving last years’ Preschool Yearbook - and Seeing the First Page! It was dedicated to Rachel! Under her picture, some of the words read – “Rachel, we will always remember your sparkly eyes, twirly hands and wiggly feet. You taught us so much about love, joy, faith, hope, acceptance and peace. Leo Buscaglia said “Their loves leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love”. See you in heaven Rachel!! Mrs. Haggard and Mrs Marj
2. Driving home to an evening sunset and marvelling with Dave, that Rachel is with the One from whom all the Beauty comes from….Wow. Rachel, we wish we could see what you see.
3. Re-reading some emails and finding the note about a donation made to Gideon – 10 Scriptures in memory of Rachel. Getting a card from Compassion International letting me know the names of people (no amounts listed) who have donated to the Medical Response Fund. (in honor of Rachel) Also heard that someone donated to the Flames House in Rachel's name too. I'm sure I am missing others. Yay!!!!! Thank-you!!!
4. Meeting strangers who tell me they have been reading her blog and have been changed by her story….
5. Re-watching videos of Rachel and seeing the joy on our faces, and hers when we played together. Remembering the blessing of her life. (the videos remind me too of the extra care she needed, all those feeds - sometimes the visible gauntness in her face in an especially hard stretch – but the good memories seem so much greater now, her beautiful brave little face so much more beautiful…)
1. Mixing raw hamburger by hand, and realizing that I wasn’t going to be interrupted to make a bottle. (we often checked the temp. of the milk by hand so I wanted clean hands)
2. How easy it is to get out of the house. I only have to strap two kids in the van and they get in and out themselves.
3. Going to the Preschool meeting, remembering all the times I had been in that building with Rachel before….and knowing she wasn’t at home this time.
4. Realizing that from birth to death - Rachel only gained 4 lbs!!! It feels so strange to see children Rachel's age and it hits home yet again, how little she was - fragile in a way yet so strong too. It makes us wonder at how others perceived her because of this and yet she was so very beautiful to us!
1. Dave finding one of Rachel’s lost orange soothers underneath the computer desk. It was still sticky from tylonol.
2. Receiving notice in the mail that our monthly tax benefit for Rachel etc…is being stopped, as per revisement of our present number of children.
3. Talking to parents at school about our children. I haven’t been asked directly yet about how many children we have, but I almost wish someone would ask, so that I could share about Rachel. I want to talk about her just as much as she wants to talk about her child. Also difficult: not knowing when to share about Rachel or not. (usually when I do, I get some pretty shocked expressions - and then they walk away, conversation over)
4. Finding that our ability to cope, changes by the hour. One hour I am happily getting things done and then for hours later, I have no interest in anything whatsoever….
5. Hearing Abigail cry in the bathtub because she wants her little sister. Watching her play with other little girls Rachel's age and having these brief glimpses of how things would have been if Rachel was healthy.
ok, and here's one more category: What Gives Me Strength: 1. Scripture
This morning I read these verses:
"All men [women, children] are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall....Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isa.40
Sometimes it feels like the time when God will make all things new, when He will wipe all the tears from our eyes, is FAR TOO FAR AWAY. But these verses make it seem like our lives are really short - and in comparison with the unchanging, faithful, eternal GOD, they are! We are like the grass, and yet at the same time - our lives are precious to our Maker -just think of the way he fashions our bodies in that secret place. Reading these verses reminded me of a note I received awhile ago from a fellow mother with a child in heaven. She shared some thoughts that described so well how I have often felt about graveyards. I really liked the way she said it.
She had walked a graveyard shortly after her little girl died and in remembering it, she wrote this. "[the graveyard was]so pretty and peaceful and I saw all the headstones of ones who had lost children and I was comforted by the fact that they (the mothers) survived losing their babies and little ones. Macbre, I guess as I look back at this. But it helped me to not feel so alone, that one day we would all just be etched names on stones and a hundred years from now someone would walk and know Hope lived and how her leaving must have hurt, but her Mom lived many years later and now both would be forever together. The pain of their seperation felt, but now only a memory.
Wow. This is a deeply comforting thought. And then this morning, I read this verse. It is my prayer today. Is this yours too? "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Ps 90