The graveyard is just a short walk from my parent's farm - behind a church in the rural community of Mennville. Three of my grandparents were buried here. I know so many of the stories behind the headstones - told to me by my parents. And just as I walk among the stones and remember the people, the babies, the young girls, and Fathers and Mothers - I know that when their loved ones walk here, they will see Rachel's stone and know her too. She is not lost among rows and rows of headstones. She is known here. And I found that an immensely comforting thought.
I noticed too, how the grass had already begun growing on top of her grave, the soil already mostly settled. I think I felt a bit surprised at how quickly this happened. And I think of how fleeting our days are - how like the grass we are - here today and gone tomorrow. I don't always feel that way - there are days that feel much too long. Even Abigail has been asking lately - "When can we see Rachel again? When?" I can't tell her a number of sleeps. I can only hold her and dry her tears and tell her that we *will* see her again. That we can trust God's promises. But even our long days here are fleeting in light of eternity. And so we wait because He helps us.
|The white letters read "In the Arms of Her Good Shepherd"|
The little red memorial candle we bought in Germany is still there too, some flowers that friends (whose son died) placed there for us, and a solar butterfly from my Mom.
Thank-you to those of you who prayed for us! We were amazed and blessed too to know that some of you went out of your way to visit her gravesite too! And we are glad that the task of putting a stone on the grave is done! As Dave's mom said, "now it won't look as forlorn" and we agree. We feel too that the stone is a good reflection of Rachel's life and what we believe about Him. She truly is safe in Her Shepherd's arms.
"Jesus loves me He will stay, close beside me all the way. He's prepared a place for me, and someday His face i'll see . . . ."
There was one other thing that reminded me strongly of last summer. Dave's parents have a trampoline which is a HUGE hit with the kids. And next to it is a tree with two swings - one for a baby. I'm glad they didn't take it down because I could still almost imagine Rachel sitting in it - laughing as she watched the cousins jump. She was so very happy that day. As I watched them jumping this summer, it felt like there was a big hole where our other daughter should be. It hurts so much. But that swing also reminds me of her joy and that she will never know sorrow or pain again. And that is good. That is really good.