~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Seven years ago today, on March 16, 2010, a sweet little flower named Lily Katherine was born, though the day unfolded unlike any of us expected.
Instead of newborn cries being heard at her birth, our room at the Rex Birthing Center in Raleigh, North Carolina was drowned in silence that pierced our hearts.
Lily was perfectly formed and perfectly lovely. All 7 pounds 9 ounces and 21 inches of her. She had the most adorable button-nose and heart-shaped lips, tiny precious eyelashes and eyebrows. She was my mini-me. But she was still. She would never open her eyes to gaze back into mine. I would never hear her sweet cry or feel her tiny hand wrapped around my finger. She would never see her own mother whose voice was so familiar. My womb was the only home she ever knew on Earth.
Now she rests in the arms of Jesus in her forever home. Where she will remain "forever pure and innocent," just as her name means.
God gave me the most precious gift I've ever received in Lily Katherine's life (besides salvation). Just as people give flowers to those they care about as a symbol of love, God gave me a little flower named Lily to show His love for me. Yet another reason I believe why He chose for her name to be Lily.
Unlike flowers on Earth that wither away and die, my little flower Lily Katherine will never wither away. She may not be alive on Earth, but her legacy is vibrantly alive. As soon as it seems her legacy might be withering away, the Lord breaths His breath of Life upon it, causing it to bloom all over again. You see, my Lily isn't a regular flower - she is an eternal flower, given as an eternal gift from an eternal God. The gift of her life will keep on giving to anyone who is blessed enough to hear her story. Not only will her legacy bloom forever on Earth, but she is blooming with Life in Jesus... in Heaven forever and ever. Her body is in the ground, but the beauty and brilliance of this flower named Lily Katherine will never fade away.
March 16, 2010 was the day I gave birth to my first-born child. Though she is not here to celebrate with us, she is worth being celebrated each year on her special day. She is a real little girl who was really born. Each year, as March 16 rolls around yet again, I will wonder who Lily might have become. A part of me will see her as whatever age she'd be had she lived. I will wonder what she would have looked like, what she would enjoy, and all that her full life could have held. Yet another part of me will forever see her as my baby daughter.
Somehow in the midst of all my wonderings and imaginings of who she might have become, He whispers peace to my heart and gives the gentle assurance that she was never meant to be a little girl of this world. She was called to a higher purpose, a Heavenly one, and she is called to be my daughter of Heaven. I am called to mother her legacy from Earth. But, I am a mere human, a mother, who misses the precious baby... the little girl... the teenager... the grown woman with babies of her own. I cry because of how much I miss her, yet I smile even through the tears because I am thankful I was given the gift of carrying her and knowing her at all.
What can I possibly say that I have not already said or written? Some things are worth repeating a thousand times... like I love Lily more than words could ever describe and mothering her has been the hardest thing I've ever done. But it has also been the most rewarding and beautiful honor of my life.
There will always be a missing piece of my heart this side of Heaven, a Lily-shaped piece that she took with her on the day God called her home. I trust completely that one day, that piece will finally be filled. Totally and completely. When I meet Jesus face-to-face. On that same glorious day, I get to meet Lily face-to-face too. Until then, I will go on honoring, loving, missing, remembering, celebrating, mothering...