Saturday, April 19, 2008

A story of hope

A recent acquaintance told me a remarkable story the other day. It is a true story and I think it will give many of you hope. Hope for that day when we will see our child again.

This person's brother and his brother's wife had a baby girl born prematurely and she passed away in the hospital shortly after being born.

Years pass.

Fast forward, now he is at his mother's bedside. She was dying. She had been in and out of consciousness.

Suddenly his mom's eyes brightened and she said,

"Oh, look who's here! They've come to take me!"

And she referred to her mother and her granddaughter who had died a few years earlier by name. She would look at the people in the room, then back to the mother and granddaughter as if they were all there together. (which they were I guess) but no one else could see them. She went back into her sleepy state and died a few days later.

Now, how did that make me feel?

I guess it just made it seem real for a minute. Sometimes it feels as if it was all a bad dream. But to think of being able to see Isabel again, in truth.

To be able to express feelings and emotions, to KNOW that she knows how we feel.

I don't really know how to express how it made me feel. But it was definitely a good feeling. That she belongs to us, to our family. That when my parents or siblings die, she might be there to greet them because she is a part of our family. That gives me hope.

Blossoms appear

Look! The winter is past.

The rain is over and gone.

Blossoms appear in the land.

The time of the songbird has arrived.

The cooing of the mourning dove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2: 11-12

Some good friends of ours sent this rose to us shortly after we found out about Isabel. It has sat next to my sink for almost an entire year now. At first my mom took care of it, she put it in the bowl and watered it. Throughout the year, I would occasionally notice it and give it a drink. I wondered if it would live. I knew it needed to be planted, but it looked so small, I just didn't want to put it outside in the winter. So it sat by my sink,

A week or so ago the last leaf fell off the stem.

I was secretly glad.

It was dead.

I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore! But then the other day, I was shocked to see a new sprout (top picture). I was so surprised, I took a picture. And then it seems only a day or two later, this happened...

Giving a plant in memory of someone who has died is a great idea. It's good in the long term sense. But in the interim, during that initial period of intense grief, requiring someone to tend to anything other than the very basics also raises questions about whether the plant will survive or not.

With the plants we received from friends and family, there seemed to be a lot of pressure in my mind and heart for 'these' plants. Because they were associated with Isabel, it was almost as if they were Isabel. I had to take extra special care of them, I couldn't let them die, and yet I also felt no desire to care for them.

This was a problem.

I felt I had to plant them in the most perfect spot. Which increased the pressure for this decision and made me not want to commit to planting them anywhere because I couldn't decide where the 'right' spot would be. All this at the time when I cared the very least for such things. I had no desire to care for a plant. And in the heat of June, a potted plant sitting outside in the heat needs even more care to be kept alive. A few of them did die. At the time I really didn't care.

Did I mention that already?

I guess I am belaboring this point huh?

In hindsight, something that I would have appreciated (although I didn't know it at the time) would have been a work party, a group of people getting together to get the plants in the ground. It may seem weird but I really didn't want to see anyone either. I just didn't want to feel like people were wondering 'how' I was doing. I felt awful emotionally and physically. I was depressed, with good reason I guess. So if you ever have the opportunity to do this sort of thing for someone I would suggest that there be no pressure on the person to 'entertain' visitors or to be out in the midst of the planting party.

Another way to bless someone experiencing a loss is to mow their lawn. We spent a few days out of town for the funeral which was held in my hometown, a few hours away. When we came home and drove up to our house we found a nicely mowed lawn. Our neighbor's son had generously mowed our gigantic lawn. That simple act was such a blessing to us, especially my husband. I could feel his burden lift a little. That was one less thing for him to worry about.

I wouldn't say I feel like 'the winter is past', but with the arrival of spring along with the passing of time, I have a renewed energy and will to wield a shovel.

I finally made a decision and planted almost all of the plants we were given in honor of Isabel. I put the Peace rose bush and the Dogwood tree next to each other. The dogwood blooms pink blossoms (shown above) in June around the time of her birthday. In years to come, these thoughtful gifts will be a pleasant reminder of our precious pink blossom.

What about you?

What things helped minister to you the most?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Glory Baby

I saw this clip on The Flick Family Blog. It was written by the husband and wife team that make up Watermark after losing their baby through a miscarriage. You can see the lyrics to the song here.