Monday, February 27, 2017

Lily's Upcoming Birthday

If you can't tell, I love having Lily Katherine's name written in all different ways all over the world, especially in the sand.

Some of the many ways her name has been honored in the past 7 years

Lily's name was one of the only things I could ever give her, one of the only things that's hers. It speaks of her existence and value. Dignity is in a name. Beauty is in remembrance of the person behind a name.

Lily's 7th birthday is in a couple weeks. Would you celebrate her life with me by honoring her name and writing in in any way you can wherever you are in the world? Or even taking a photo of a sign, store, etc. with her name?

It comforts my mother heart when I see that not only is she not forgotten, but she's actually remembered by *many, many people.* Her impact is reaching the farthest corners of the globe, in places I will most likely never travel. But she is getting to. 😌

My email address is roseandherlily{at}gmail{dot}com. 💕🌷🎈🌸 


Filled with Color

Today I filled in Lily's page from In Living Memory for the first time with color. It's a great way to de-stress. 💕🎨🌹🌸 


Similar Events Triggering Memories

Before the time slips away too much and we enter March, there are a couple things I want to share.

The early weeks of this year have reminded me of the early weeks of 2009.

Obama had his Inauguration when he first came into office in January of that year. Now Trump had his Inauguration this year.

Seeing it unfold on the television last month reminded me of watching it at 19-years-old in 2009. It was the first time I had been legally able to participate in the process of voting in a Presidential election. I was at my grandmother's house with her watching the Inauguration on t.v. Some of my friends were in D.C. to be there in person, since we only lived a couple hours away in Virginia.

Then, the Super Bowl came on this month.

I remember in 2009 the Super Bowl came on just a few days before my abortion.

Similarly occurring events now trigger memories. I was telling my sister-in-law that these memories are not painful, they just are. They just need processing. They make me thing how crazy it is that 8 years have now passed. 8 years of the President who was in office when both of my babies were on this Earth. Now we have a new President and time keeps marching, reminding me of it all.


Lily Remembered in Fort Lauderdale

My sweet new friend Shannon, also known as Skylar's mama, wrote Lily's name in the sand in Fort Lauderdale, Florida over the weekend. ❤️


Red-Velvet Love ❤️

I had a red-velvet latte yesterday for my sweet girl... my red-velvet love. 😌 ❤️  #RedVelvetforLily


Friday, February 24, 2017

Beautiful Gem, Ruby

On February 6th, my mom's longest-standing and one of her very dearest friends went Home to be with the Lord she loves, after battling cancer. Mom met Ruby when they were 5 and 6, before 1st grade (they didn't have Kindergarten back then) in their hometown of Crozet, Virginia. They were friends for 55 years. They will always be friends. It'll only be a while until they see one another again. She was one of those rare lifelong and extended into forever friends. When I thought of my mom's besties, Ruby was always included in that count.

Ruby was a truly remarkable woman and will be missed by many people, especially her husband, sons, and grandchildren. My heart hurts for them. Because I have tasted grief and loss, it helps me to be more empathetic and understanding to others facing it, even when the losses are different. 61 is too young to die, but what a gift for her to have had that many years on Earth.

We spent the weekend in Virginia a couple weeks ago for Ruby's services. One of her sons played his guitar and sang a song at the graveside service. I don't think there was a single dry eye. On the day of her burial is when I decorated Lily's spot for Valentine's Day, when this breathtakingly beautiful sunset was painted across the sky. We called it "Ruby's sunset." I'm so glad we saw it and captured several photos to share with her family. 💜 💕 🌅 💕 💜

This has been quite the blow for my mom, as Ruby's cancer came back after many years and it happened quickly. I've known Ruby my entire life. One of her sons is my age.

She was always so incredibly kind, loving, and generous to me and my sister, Emma. She had quite the knack for decorating and loved all things elephant. I like elephant things too and when I see them, I think of her. She had a shop in our hometown, where I've gotten many things from. The lovely blue spread on my bed right now came from her.

She had hundreds of flourishing plants, which she loved. All her fingers and toes were green hehe. Her husband gave many of her plants away to loved ones at her service, which I thought was so meaningful. My sister and I got a shamrock plant to share, which of course is special to me with my little mid-March girl.

Here's my mom caring for Ruby's plants when she was out of town a couple Summers ago. Actually, these are incredibly just some of her plants! Unfortunately, we are having a difficult time finding a photo of my mom and Ruby together, as she didn't like taking photos much..

It's been special listening to my mom's many memorable stories of her friendship with Ruby over the decades. We've laughed at her cuteness and how funny she was.

She was also so dear to me about Lily always, from when I was carrying her to after she died. My Facebook Memories is full of comments and posts from dear Ruby baby, as my mom called her. It's crazy when I see these posts now to think not only is the little baby gone who we were talking about, but now so is Ruby. She was the only person who correctly guessed the date Lily would be born when I asked for predictions. She was excited about Lily coming and for my parents to be first-time grandparents. Her own grandson was due and born the same month as Lily. Ruby shared the song with me "Your Hands" by JJ Heller, that I ended up playing at Lily's Memorial Service.

My mom and I have shed some tears thinking that Ruby has gotten to meet our Lily girl now. Lily is without her grandmother and Ruby is without her grandchildren, so it makes my heart smile to think of them together now.

Not only has my heart been hurting for my mom and Ruby's family and because I miss Rubes too, but it has stirred up painful memories thinking of Lily. With her birthday approaching especially, and the anniversary of when we put her in the ground.

My friend Joan, whose daughter Maeve was also stillborn, put words to what I'm feeling. Her cat who she's had for many years is dying and she wrote this: "My pet grief today is intertwined with every loss I've felt. Grief and love are the threads that stitch us together. Pull on one and all the other threads bunch up or unravel... Grief begets grief."

That's exactly how it feels. The grief of Ruby's death is stirring up the pain of the grief of Lily's. Death is just so wrong, no matter what age someone is. It is not how it's meant to be. Oh, it makes the hope of Heaven ever so sweet.

As my mom said, Ruby had the perfect name for the gem she was. She truly has taught me so much about the dignity of life and how to be brave and courageous with how she fought cancer and faced death. She was one tough cookie, with so many things she faced in life, yet she didn't complain or ever lose her kindness.

You will be remembered, loved, and missed, Ruby. Another spot to visit regularly when we are in Crozet.


Her Adoring Parents

This is a Lily photo I've never shared before.

Cradled in her daddy's arm, with my hand gently touching her. Perfectly sweet profile.

Cherished daughter. ❤️


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Coloring Page for Lily

Nicole from In Living Memory is creating and hopes to publish an adult coloring book featuring the names of babies who were stillborn, in honor and memory of her daughter, Lucia.

This is Lily Katherine's gorgeous page! Isn't it perfect for her? I'm excited to add some color to it. Roses, lilies, butterflies, and hearts... all reminders of Lily girl. When Nicole shared this photo, she wrote, "Feels like Spring time on this girl's page." I told her I like that since Lily's birthday if just before the genesis of spring. 💕🎨🌹🌸 

Right now, she is not taking anymore names because she has many pages to complete. However, if she opens up requests again for another coloring book or potentially starts selling them individually, I will be sure to share an update here.

I am so impressed by the amount of detail and personalization that goes into each one of these. I imagine it takes a lot of time, effort, and love. It's a way for this sweet mama to spend time with her baby girl.


Lily Remembered at Alton Bay

Two of my favorite sisters (Karissa and Susanna) that I met at Ellerslie sent me a few photos of Lily's name in the sand last Summer. This is part of what they wrote:

"These are actually from last Summer, so I've been procrastinating on getting them to you for quite a while now. My family and I attend camp at a Christian Conference Center every summer, where we own a cottage, and have gone for our whole lives. We have so many friends and fond memories that we have made there over the years, including many afternoons spent at the private beach they have on the grounds... this is the beach, and ever since hearing about your story, and how people write dear Lily's name in the sand all over the world, we had the idea to do that at "our beach." One afternoon last Summer, Susanna and I walked down there, and wrote Lily's name in the sand, and then with seaweed (so you could see it a little better). Again, these are long overdue, but I still wanted to make sure I got them to you, so you could add them to your collection. Lily's name written at the beach, at Alton Bay Christian Conference Center, in Alton Bay, New Hampshire."

It makes it extra special that it was at a place that is significant to them. :) And I told them it was perfect to receive now with Lily's birthday just around the corner. I love the idea of using seaweed! ❤️  


Please Pray

I was made aware of a dear red-headed baby girl named Olivia Rose who passed away shortly before being born at full-term earlier this month. Her mother is the cousin of a friend. Would you please join me in praying for her entire hurting family? ❤️ 🌹


A Lily and Lamb

My sweet friend Natalie sent me this photo a couple days ago and wrote: "I've been thinking of your little girl daily over here because Leo loves to read this Easter picture book. 🌸🌺🌹""" I told her I loved the lily of course, but also the lamb since lambs symbolize purity and innocence like her name means, and that she has one on her stone. She didn't know and said it's perfect. A little wink from Heaven. And so special to know Lily is on people's minds.


Powerful Pro-Life Response

I love, love, love this pro-life video that's been circulating the last few days. This teen girl is so passionate and articulate. And she exudes love and compassion towards post-abortive women. That is what is needed. That is the type of pro-life movement I want to be a part of.


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. It was taken at Augusta Memorial Park, the cemetery in Waynesboro, Virginia 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 (literally where all the babies are laid to rest) 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. She should have just turned 14 a few weeks ago. 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 alive to grow up in 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. 🌹❤️


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 ❤️  


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.


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


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

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

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).


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. :) ❤️


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).


That Lily and My Lily

I am going through old blog posts to decide what I want to share next month for Lily's birth month (it's hard to believe March arrives in a few days).

Anyways, I came across this post that I have had sitting in my drafts for a couple years and wanted to finally share it.

In March 2015, a young mother and her 19-month old daughter got into a car accident. The vehicle ended up submerged upside down in a river in Utah. Tragically, the mother died as a result of the accident. Miraculously, her little girl, also named Lily, survived both the accident itself and 14 hours until someone noticed what had happened. She is doing completely fine now.

When I heard this story, my heart went out to this Lily because she has lost her mother.

One of the other first thoughts I had was how did this Lily survive all of that, but my Lily couldn't even survive what's supposed to be the safest place on Earth? How can it be that my womb was Lily Katherine's tomb?

But instead of dwelling on the seeming unfairness and bafflement of it all, I felt the Lord reminding me of His sovereignty. The miracle of this other Lily surviving what could have easily killed her is a reminder to me that if my Lily girl were meant to be here, God could have intervened. He could have gotten me to the hospital in time for her to be delivered alive. He could have ceased whatever it is that caused her death, if there was anything particular, that which I will never know. He could have done it, but He chose not to.

And just because He chose not to doesn't mean my Lily is loved any less. It doesn't mean her life holds less purpose. She isn't missing anything after all! It's me who is missing out on her presence in my daily life, but I'm not missing out on the gift of her existence.


February 20th

It's February 20th, which always reminds me of the song "February 20th," by Steven Curtis Chapman, written about his daughter, Maria Sue, who went to be with Jesus in 2008. This song is on one of my favorite albums that flowed out of the loss of his own daughter. My Aunt Helen gave me the CD several weeks after Lily was born and died. Some lyrics from one of the songs on the album are on Lily's stone - "out of these ashes beauty will rise." February 20th was the day Maria Sue surrendered her life to Jesus. ❤️


Saturday, February 18, 2017

What Being Pro-Life Means to Me

Being pro-life is not merely being part of a movement or a cause. It's not only speaking out against abortion, but rather an all-encompassing view of life and way of life. It's treasuring the sanctity of life that flows from a heart of praise to the Giver and Creator of Life. It's taking flowers to and visiting the grave of a friend's baby on their birthday in Heaven. It's awakening to the beauty and utter miracle of each breath given, to the gift of each day, each sunset, each touching song, each blooming flower, each crashing wave that only goes as far as His sovereign hand allows. It's not taking any day with your loved ones for granted. It's grieving with the mother whose baby was miscarried and validating that their life, though brief, matters immeasurably and will never be replicated. It's giving the post-abortive man or woman grace to wrestle with the reality of their choice and permission to mourn. It's financially and practically supporting the mother who has bravely rejected abortion. It's opening your heart and home to foster and/or adopt. It's ministering to the needs of the homeless in our communities. It's laughter. It's courageously facing cancer and dying with dignity. It's entrusting the Lord with life and death. It's being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. It's walking in purity and honoring the temple He dwells within. It's turning to Him for spiritual, emotional, and physical wholeness, and directing others to do the same. It's seeing His fingerprint on every created thing. It's seeing His image in every human, no matter their age, level of development, or contribution to society. It's recognizing the unique gift that those with physical or intellectual disabilities offer to this world and can teach us all. It's putting others above ourselves. It's all this and so much more.  It's living pro-life. So when I say I am pro-life, please don't put me into a box of your own understanding.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...