Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Another Hannah Rose

I am clearing out photos on my phone since I'm running out of space (hello 16,000 pictures... gulp). I came across this one below that I took last Summer in Virginia. It was taken at the cemetery where my grandparents (dad's parents) are laid to rest and where sweet baby Ryleigh Grace is as well. I visited the "babyland" part of the cemetery there with my grandmother and brother one day when we were driving around the area exploring and Adam wanted to see our grandparent's stone. As I looked at all the baby stones, I wondered about their stories and their families. Here is a baby girl, with one date on her headstone, possibly meaning she was stillborn like Lily. And she shares my name, Hannah Rose. it makes me heart go out a little extra to the family. My parents had their Hannah Rose grow up and this family had to put their Hannah Rose in the ground. I will never know why God allowed me to be born into a world where it is truly a miracle to survive the womb (for many different reasons these days). But I pray I live my life with gratitude for each breath, each moment, each day. I hope to meet this girl who shares my name one day when I get Home.


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Red-Velvet for Her Great-Granddaughter

My grandmother "Bumma" told me last week that when she and some other family members went to a restaurant recently, she ordered a red-velvet milkshake, which was a special for February with Valentine's Day! I found it so sweet that she was excited to tell me this, that others think of Lily with red-velvet, and that she ordered it in honor of her first-born great-granddaughter. I want to write this so when I look back at my blog years from now, I know it'll make me smile. It's also amazing that there are literally more red-velvet things than I could imagine! Always new things to try. :) #RedVelvetforLily ❤️  


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Luke's Heaven Day 2017

February 6th was Luke Shiloh's Heaven Day.

All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch movies.

Instead, God had something else in mind for the day. His plans are always much better and much more life and light-giving.

My Bible study leader, Terri, invited my mom and I over to her house in the afternoon. I brought some refreshing drinks over and we sat in her parlor and talked. I felt free to openly talk about my memories and experience with these two women who harbor no judgement against me, only compassion and love. They gave me room to share, when sharing is what I needed. They encouraged and uplifted me and reminded me of God's redemption and grace and how He has brought Himself glory and me good out of that regretful choice.

Then, we went to eat dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Ruby Tuesday (the salmon there is ah-mazing!). My mom said we were celebrating Luke's life.

After dinner, mom and I went home and watched Arise Sweet Sarah, something I have done the past 2 years on February 6th and want to make it an annual thing.

The day itself was gorgeous, with blue skies and sunshine, and spring-like temperatures.

It was a different day than I realized I wanted or needed. It's honestly difficult to know what to do on such a day when nothing feels quite right and yet doing nothing feels wrong. This was right. God knew and He scripted it in such a way that brought my heart encouragement and healing.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Calling Her by Name

Dad at Costco yesterday, calling out to his daughter (probably around 10-years-old) as he passes me on the coffee aisle: "Hey, Lily!"

First thing that crosses my mind is not sadness in wishing I was calling out the same thing to my own daughter (which of course I do),  but rather what a wonderful gift it is to know one day I WILL get to say her name TO HER, not just refer to her by name to others. What anticipation and delight floods my soul.  #thankYouJesus #thehopeofHeaven #nomoretears #mylittleflower


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Sleep Well

I know I've shared before about how special the Jewel "Lullaby" CD is to me. My mom gave it to me when I was carrying Lily. I was filled with excitement when I thought of playing it for her once she was born, dreaming of rocking her while nursing and listening to these tunes that would cause her to drift off to sleep.

One of the most precious memories from when Lily was here was when I was driving over to a friend's house for a visit one day and had the CD turned up loud for my 30-minute drive. Lily moved so happily and wildly in my belly to this music! She loved it. Babies enjoy music in the womb and oftentimes remember it after they are born. I bet Lily would still love it to this day.


I love listening to the CD now, knowing Lily heard it with her own two perfect little ears.

My favorite song on the album, what I call mine and Lily's song, is "Forever and a Day." That song is 3 minutes and 16 seconds (3:16, like Lily's birthday). I've written about that song before. I even considered getting "Forever and a Day" on Lily's stone. I did get the phrase inscribed on a locket for her.

Anyways, another favorite of mine from the album is called "Sov Gott." It's a Swedish lullaby that Jewel wrote in the early 90s. According to her website: "The song was originally conceived during a road trip from San Francisco to Colorado when Jewel was 17. To help pass the time constructively, she decided to have her traveling companion teach her some rudimentary Swedish, starting with the alphabet and random words and phrases that interested her. When she learned several words and phrases (kiss, dolphin, wolf, sleep well and I love you for all time), she began writing a new song utilizing what she learned as the lyrics. The result was "Sov Gott," a simple fable where a dolphin has the misfortune to fall in love with a wolf."

Jewel said this about it: "The ill-fated love can never be realized by the animals from two different worlds, so each night they decide to meet at sunset, and wish each other good night and sleep well, and they kiss (OK, touch noses) at the shoreline, declaring eternal love. After they meet at sunset and touch, they also proclaim that tomorrow, "morning wakens when we kiss."

Here are the Swedish lyrics translated to English:

Sleep well, beautiful dolphin
Sweet dreams, my white wolf
We have love for each other
For each other
Forever

Sleep well, beautiful dolphin
Sweet dreams, my white wolf
We have love for each other
For each other
Forever

Sweet dreams
Sweet dreams, my white wolf
The morning wake up
Then we kiss
We kiss, kiss us,
Sweet dreams
Sleep well, forever

Sleep well, beautiful dolphin
Sweet dreams, my white wolf
We have love for each other
For each other, forever

Sweet dreams
Sweet dreams, my white wolf
The morning wake up
When we kiss,
When we kiss, forever,
When we kiss, forever
Sweet dreams
Sweet dreams
Sweet dreams

It is amazing that such simple lyrics written out of her elementary knowledge of Swedish can produce such a breathtakingly beautiful lullaby. This song, oh this song makes me ache for my Lily girl.

When I looked up the lyrics, I was struck that in a roundabout way, it describes our mother-daughter relationship. The dolphin and wolf were from two different worlds and could not be together. Lily and I are essentially in two different worlds right now, me in the temporal world, and she in the Heavenly and eternal one. We cannot be together right now either, though I long for us to be. For now, I too must declare my eternal love and tell her to "sleep well," only not forever as the song says, but rather the rest of my Earthly days. She is only asleep to this world, but always alive in Jesus. Now dolphins remind me of my girl.

Here is the song (email subscribers click here to listen).

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Best Kinda Mail

I love writing "so and so's mom or grandmother or whoever" when I send snail mail to those with a cherished baby in Heaven. So it makes my heart so happy when I receive mail like it, addressed as "Lily's mom." THE BEST KIND OF MAIL RIGHT HERE. :) ❤️


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Monday, February 20, 2017

Her Baby Blues

Something I think will always haunt me is that I never got to look into Lily's eyes. Ask anyone who has experienced stillbirth and I guarantee this will be a resounding feeling.

I would give anything to have gotten to meet Lily alive... even for just a moment. It stings when I hear of other mothers who lost babies that did get to meet them outside of the womb. I wish I could have met the little girl who grew within, the little girl who I felt so full of life. I cannot even imagine what it's like to have a baby that I get to look into his/her eyes.

I'm haunted by wondering the question that will forever remain unanswered - what color were the eyes behind those lids shut-tight? The eyes that never opened to see the beauty to be discovered in this world God created. You know how "they" say the eyes are the window to the soul? Well, I never got to gaze into her soul, I never got to say "hello" to my baby before having to say "goodbye."


Since the first day of my life without Lily, I have thought of her beautiful eyes and how I wish I could have seen the light in them. Her father and I peeked at one of them. It was blue, but there was no light of life in them. Of course her eyes could have changed color through the months, but knowing that both her parents have blue eyes, I am nearly certain her eyes would have also remained blue.

This is part of something her daddy wrote to Lily in 2010: "I took a peek at your eyes. I didn't think you would mind. They shined blue, as blue as the clear summer sky. I just wish I had a chance to say "hi." Instead I had to say "goodbye." My love will never fade for you Lily, you are always on my mind and always in my heart."

I hope I have another blue-eyed baby one day. Both my parents, all my siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. have blue (a couple with green) eyes. That's something I have always loved about my family, in a world where brown eyes are dominant and less and less people have blue or green eyes. It's something I want to pass on to my children. And it's painful to think of the little girl who did inherit those blue eyes, the little girl who I never got to see her blue eyes.

I have always felt certain her eyes were blue, and I've always wished I could have locked eyes with hers. In fact, I wrote something about her eyes in my letter to Lily that I read at her Celebration of Life Service:

"I know one day I will meet you at the gates of Heaven. Will you wait for me there? On that day, my Jesus will place you in my arms and I will finally be able to hold you, sing to you, smell your sweet baby smell, and look into your lovely blue eyes. Until then, I know He'll take good care of you. Until then, I will cling to the One who holds the world in His hands. Thank you for changing my life. I will never forget you little one, my precious angel who was simply too beautiful for Earth."

I may not have gotten to meet her and see her eyes here on this side of Heaven, but that doesn't mean I won't ever get to. I believe the moment is simply delayed, something I must wait for Heaven to experience. And that moment there will be more amazing than words could ever begin to attempt to describe. For now, I hold onto the comfort of knowing the first face she saw was the face of Jesus. And the first beauty she saw was the unimaginable beauty of Heaven.

A friend of mine posted this song by George Strait called "Baby Blue" about his daughter who passed away early in life. It reminded me of my beautiful girl with baby blues.

These lyrics especially touch my heart:

"I always knew she'd go away when the grass turned green and the sky turned baby blue... And baby blue was the color of her eyes. Baby blue like the Colorado skies. Like a breath of spring, she came and left, and I still don't know why... She brought colors to my life that my eyes had never touched. And when she taught me how to care, I never cared so much."

Lily was born right before spring started. She too went away when the grass turned green and the sky turned baby blue. She too had baby blue eyes. She too was like a breath of spring coming and going, though I don't know why. She too brought vibrant colors to my life and taught me how to care more than I ever cared for anyone or anything in all my life (besides Jesus).


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