"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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

That was weird....

I was about to floss my kids teeth tonight, when I saw my neighbor from across the street, park her car and start to go inside. I ran out of the house and called to her. I asked her if she had seen a package for me (long story) on her door for me.

She said "no". She was friendly. I had never met her. She told me she moved in about a year ago. Told me that she had to do a ton of renovations to make it liveable. She waved at the ground and said, "this sh*t cost me $1000" Can you believe it?" I wasn't sure what she meant but I felt silly asking and I didn't want to keep her. Plus my kids looked like they were about to cross the busy street to get to us...

And then as I stepped into our house, I finally realized what she had meant. She was talking about the sidewalk! And I know exactly what day that happened. August 5th, the day my daughter died.  I'm sure she'd probably be a bit freaked out to know that I remember the day. And even more, to know that I watched them working that afternoon, as I paced the house with my daughter's still warm body, wondering how life could go on outside of our house as if nothing astronomical had just happened....

Strange, how a brief conversation brings it all back.....

oh, I miss her...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pink for Piper Day!

I'm wearing Pink today! And why you may ask??
Time is short here but I want to tell you a bit about a very special little girl. I met her only briefly -shortly after she was born, at the funeral for my friend's daughter.  (you might remember me talking about Abby) This family already has a special little boy in heaven named Drew. He had a mitochondrial disorder. And now their daughter Piper has been diagnosed with it too. They have been receiving support from the Flames House and they are writing about their journey. I so appreciate her honesty in what this is like for them. And I can't help feeling astounded, inspired, and deeply encouraged by their bold trust in God to be faithful. My heart aches for them. I think about them all the time. There's one picture that reminds us so much of our little girl - it brings back powerful memories of sitting at the Flames House, soaking in every smile, every response however small.... And I feel a strong connection to them even though we barely know each other. Would you join me in praying for their family??

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Yesterday I felt so, so sad all day. I just couldn't get motivated for anything. Today it hurts so much it's hard to breathe. I thought this was suposed to get easier.....eight months later and it hurts as much as it ever did.  I guess it's good that Dave and I are leaving for Ministerial Retreat in Cypress Hills today....I need something else to focus on right now.  So, off to packing I go...

I miss having those soft little toes in my hand. I miss rubbing my hand over those tufts of hair on the top of her head. I miss watching your face break out into this most beautiful contagious little grin. It feels like I should be able to scoop you right out of these pictures for a cuddle. I miss so much.....we all miss you so much dear sweet Rachel!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Thanks, Grandmas and Grandpas!

Our children have the most amazing grandparents.  Thanks to both sets of them for sending a wonderful collection of Easter treats for them to find!  We'll send you the dental bill!

In the Mail...

This invite was in our mail a few days ago. At first I skimmed it, cried and put it down. Later, I picked it up again and noticed Rachel's name at the top and cried again.  I both want to go and I don't.  Part of me wants to be in a room with people who really know what it is like to have a child die and to deeply mourn their loss from our lives, to share our sorrow and honor our children together....and part of me is scared to go because it is going to be so hard too.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He is Risen!

I'm so glad this day is about SO MUCH MORE than Easter bunnies and dressing up nice for church......aren't you??? I woke up feeling so deeply sad and it's still lingering....but I will choose to GIVE THANKS for the priceless and incredible GIFT that God gave to us in His Son JESUS! Rachel is with JESUS right now worshiping HIM even as we worship today....Thank-you JESUS.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Nearing Easter

This last week has been tough - more so than usual.  I don't think I was prepared for it being quite so hard. I have found myself sitting more at the piano - lost in music, or staring mindlessly out the window or cleaning the house with ferocious intensity. (I don't think my house has ever been this clean....) Dave and I are missing Rachel so much.  And as I wrote that, I looked up at the calender and remembered that yes, today it is 8 months since that afternoon when she died in our arms.  How can it really be that long? I feel like there is this big hurt in me and it just isn't going to go away until I am with her again. Just when I think things are getting easier, the wave of sadness has hit hard again.

About a month ago, I jumped up from our bed in the middle of the night because I thought I heard Rachel's pained cry, the one before a heart spell. That was quite the shock because I really thought I was done with that.  But since then, there have been more times when I think I hear her, and I need to hold myself back from searching through the house. I have had more dreams lately about Rachel dying in various ways too. They rattle me. The good thing though is that these dreams are turning me towards God who is powerful to save, and to the Psalms that express my heartache.  

I think what is on our minds most these days, as we approach Easter, is that our daughter's body is in the ground. Buried under a mound of dirt. In a box. My heart still doesn't know what to do with that. We dressed her body for the last time in her Easter dress - meaningful to us because of the promise of resurrection.  But right now resurrection seems so far away from the reality of her body there in the ground.

A few Sundays ago in church, I saw a little girl wearing the same pink sweater that we slipped over Rachel's Easter dress before the viewing. I never saw Rachel wear it in life, and yet suddenly there was this little girl about Rachel's age (had she still been alive).....and oh, I longed for my little girl then! I hear of other moms who dream about their child that has died and I wish that just once I could have a good dream about Rachel too....    

The kids are SO addicted to listening to the Narnia stories now. It's so neat to hear them talk excitedly about parts of the story that they like the most. This morning they listened to the entire book "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (!). Afterwards they had to make rafts with popsicle sticks and called one "Treader". They walk around using proper sounding British expressions like "oh bother!" So neat. Anyway, there's this part at the end when Aslan tells them that he is going to open up the sky and send them home. In this instance, He was meaning 'home' to their lives in England.  But I heard the word 'home' and it sparked this huge yearning in me for our true home. I just stood there looking out the kitchen window at the sky for a long time....

Last night, I read the story of Lazarus to the kids.  I told them that Jesus didn't make it back on time to heal Lazarus (that he took his time getting there), that Lazarus had died, and the words of his sister saying "If only you had been there..." And as I read, I thought about how my kids know what death looks like. They both held their little sister's still body. I could see their faces drop last night, when I told them that Lazarus died. I thought they already knew the story but it seemed like it was new again for them.

But then - oh, I wish you could have seen Ethan's face when I told him that Lazarus walked right out of that tomb......he gave out this whoop and started bouncing up and down on his chair with this huge grin!! And I had to struggle to keep reading for the tears.....for the deep longing in my heart and for the immense gratitude to God that He has broken the power of death.

With Rachel's body in the grave - and with news on my mind of so many more various losses and griefs,  Easter Sunday and the hope of resurrection feels about as far away as ever....BUT, I am glad that the death I have seen and touched does not tell the whole story. One day we will really know and see with our own eyes that everything He has said is true...

I saw this verse today....
"Death has been swallowed up in Victory." 1 Cor 15:54
And I felt like giving a little whoop of my own when I read it;)

On Turning 35

I turned thirty-five last week. And maybe this seems silly to you, but I felt like I was about to cross some big invisible line. You know.....the time when child-bearing becomes more "risky", fertility drops yadda yadda yadda....and while I am SO incredibly thankful to have had the experience of bringing three beautiful children into this world, I still feel sad about leaving that chapter behind.

What really made this birthday tough for me though, was that it was my first birthday without Rachel. I tried not to think of it. But as hard as I tried, all I could think about was her and how our home seemed so much emptier because she wasn't with us. And I hadn't felt quite this way for a long time.

You want to know what I remember about my birthday last year? Truthfully, the only thing I have been able to remember is sitting with Rachel in the Living room, trying to soak her in because I knew my next birthday would be different. That's it. I can't remember anything else.

And so, I didn't feel much like celebrating this year. At one point, I told Dave that if it were up to me, I would just curl up alone on our bed and cry. But we did have some of our family over for dessert in the evening and it turned out to be a really nice time. I had made a really super rich chocolate cake the day before and Dave iced it. I think I received four 'Tea' related gifts this year, which is wonderful. Dave bugs me all the time about our bulging tea basket and the overflow into the cupboard.... he he...and there's always room for more.

This is David's birthday gift for me. I think it's perfect. I love that they have dragonflies. They remind us of the short story called ""Waterbugs & Dragonflies - Explaining Death to Young Children". We read it often to our kids both before and after Rachel was born. Dave told this story to the kids last Easter Sunday during the Children's feature in our church...

I'm going to go buy another matching cup. Want to come over for tea?
The God of the Cross
"I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross…

In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was im-mune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully be-fore the statute of Buddha - - his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agony of the world.

But each time, after awhile, I have had to turn away. And in imagination, I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross -- nails through his hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in God-forsaken darkness.

That is the God for me!"

- John Stott