"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Monday, November 21, 2011

Rachel would be 18 months old today...

...and I have big lumps in my throat today.  I miss that sweet little girl so very much.  I wish I could see so much farther than I do right now...

I gave a few of Rachel's dresses to Abigail to use for her dolls.  One dress really is a doll dress, given to us by a friend last Christmas.  (a matching girl and doll dress set) It is absolutely mind boggling to me to think that Rachel wore this dress. And kind of gut wrenching too.  The dress didn't close in the back but it was a near fit.  Her legs were quite a bit longer but she often had them curled up anyway.  (until much later) Just for comparison, here's an 18 inch doll next to a doll wearing Rachel's dress... 


Here's Rachel and Abigail almost a year ago. 

In Abigail's scrapbook I wrote the caption "Wake up sis! I want to play!" After I read this to Abigail, she thought this was so neat.  She ran around the house excitedly and said a number of times, "Rachel calls me sis!"
The last few days have been tough.  I sold Rachel's double stroller.  (kijiji buyer)  I had that stroller posted for over a week and I thought I was ready.  We didn't really have a place to store it anymore.  But it wasn't until after I hung up the phone with the prospective buyer that it hit me - I was handing over Rachel's stroller to a stranger who had no idea of it's history (nor would I tell them) and suddenly I felt sick with anxiety.  I almost called her twice to tell her I changed my mind......but in the end, I went through with it.  And it was ok - no long discussion, no questions - just a quick transaction, and it was gone. I thank God for His strength!!!

I cleaned out our stuff from beneath the stairs, which included boy baby stuff.  Came across a special sleeper that I had wanted to put on Rachel but couldn't find.  Thought how cute it would have looked on her.  Piled the boys clothes to be given away, in the basement.  I can't touch the girl's stuff yet.  I do hope to make a quilt from Rachel's clothes....someday. 

And yesterday....I peeled off the sheet from her basinet, and gathered up the blankets that I had left in her basinet...and put it all into the washer.  There had been one or two blankets that she had used very briefly before she died and we thought for awhile that we could still smell her in it.  So I gave it one last long whiff just in case - but the smell was gone or maybe it was so unfamiliar. I'm not sure I would remember her smell anymore.  I left the basinet standing though - that's one thing I can't do just yet...

I have been cleaning up her things, bit by bit because it doesn't feel much like her room anymore. Dave has been using it as his office and the kids, wanting to be near Daddy, had played with her toys and mussed up the bed and room.  And so I thought maybe it was time.  But I was surprised at how much these acts of cleaning up, took 'it' out of me.  I feel tired, fragile again.  That took me off guard, and made me realize that there is a reason to not rush into these things.  And there really is no particular timeline that I'm supposed to follow. 

So....lots of ups and downs still going on over here....

The kids are both in school. Dave is studying downstairs.  I'm going to go spend some time reading God's words.  I need to be soaked in something that is true. I need something real to hold on to right now.

But first, this is part of the Bible story that I read to the kids last night.  It was the last story in their book, "the Jesus Storybook Bible"

I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing - coming down! From heaven. And from the sky.  Heaven is coming down to earth!  God's city is beautiful.  Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut.  Where is the sun? Where is the moon? They aren't needed anymore. God is all the Light people need.  No more darkness! No more night! (no more bad dreams for Ethan, he liked that part!) 

And the King says, "Look! God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying. (I cried at that part!) Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they're gone forever.  Everything sad has come untrue.  And see - I have wiped away every tear from every eye!

And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, "Look, I am making everything new!"

It was hard to squeeze all John saw into words.  And fit it onto a page. And cram it into a book. All the words on all the pages of all the books in all the world would never be enough.

"I am the beginning, "Jesus said, "and the ending."......

John came to the end of his book.  But he didn't write "The End" Because of course, that's how stories finish.  (and this one's not over yet)

So instead he wrote: "Come quickly Jesus!!"

Which , perhaps is really just another way of saying...To Be Continued...

6 comments:

Bev said...

Hang in there. I myself haven't had to say good-bye to a child but I've said good-bye to two of my bestfriends. Each of us deals with grief in different ways and for different lengths of time. Take your time. Each of the 'firsts' are difficult. I'm still praying for you, you are not alone!

Kathy and Carl said...

I'm glad that God gave you strength. I can't imagine how hard it is to sell the stroller, to wash the blankets....oh my. Bev is right, give yourself time because grief has no timeline, but God holds you all the way.

Carlana said...

Thinking and praying for you today on Rachel's "18 month birthday". That picture of Abigail and Rachel is unbelievably beautiful.

Patty Mattes said...

I have to tell you that we have never met, but I have followed your blog from the start via Angela Heidelbergers blog. Kendra, your writing is amazing and God has blessed you with a beautiful talent. Your raw honesty, yet faithfulness to our Father is beyond words I can even type to you. My heart has ached for your family as I have read entries, but you continue in the midst of every ache and pain to find comfort in Jesus and praise and worship for His eternal love for us. You are beautiful, your family is beautiful and though we may never met on earth I am anxious to one day meet in Heaven. It is very clear God has a plan for you and your family. I appreciate your open heart to His directions, your humble spirit to listen and your determination to give Him glory and honor every step along the way. You have richly blessed me in so many ways. Your selflessness ways speak to me on days I think "I can't do this." No matter of any hurdle you are facing you always give God the glory keeping bitterness, anger and self pity out of your heart. I continue to keep you and your beautiful family in my prayers as we approach the holiday season. May you continue to have peace and comfort in the arms of our loving father. Thank you again for being a testament to His love and faithfulness.
Love in Christ,
Patty

Coralee Schindel said...

Not sure if anyone has recommended it to you, but when you described the story at the end Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo reminded me so much about it. So comforting to know all the little ones are in Gods hands.

Renee said...

I remember when we lost our son, the grief counselor "warned" us about putting his things away (the bassinet, his clothes, the car seat, those sorts of things), making it clear that it would be a significant, yet very difficult thing to do. She, too, said that there was no time line as to when to do it, but she stressed the importance of doing it for myself vs. having someone else clear these things away for me. I remember having feelings very similar to yours-gut wrenching pain and feeling very vulnerable and fragile (good choice of words). But, looking back, God certainly used the actions of putting things away as a means of closure and a way of healing. It took such strength to do that small task, but He gave me the comfort I needed in that moment, and it was a real step towards healing in my journey. I pray that you will look back on this day, recalling the things you were feeling as you went through this experience, and see God's hand upon your heart as well. I am so thankful that the God of this universe knows my heart (and your heart too!)individually. May He be praised, and may He continue to be very close and very real in your life, Kendra.