Wednesday, June 30, 2010

She would be 14 today...

She would be 14 today. It's hard to imagine having a teenager. We would have passed that threshold last year, though, and this year would be one of those less-eventful celebrations as birthday parties go.

But we haven't celebrated birthdays. In fact, most years, this is just a quiet, lightly mentioned day between Jason and I. We talk about going and feeding ducks, as we'd vowed to do that in remembrance each year. A lake sat outside the hospital while she lay inside, and we convinced ourselves while in one of those moments of forcing yourself to have hope that we would "one day, bring her out here to feed the ducks."

That day didn't come. When I think about going and doing it now, it just makes me sad. Maybe because it feels like a broken promise. Ironically, like in the days following her death, going about some ritual that she 'should have' been a part of feels like a betrayal. But those, indeed, are words of sadness, not words of reality.

I've got a long way to go in the way of learning to be flexible, but I am at least learning that the "should haves" can be so overbearing in our lives that they can shut out completely the beauty of "what is" if we let them. If we let the "should haves" consume us, they will oblige.

So what "is" our reality?

God is faithful.
Beautifully, amazingly faithful.

The NICU nurses, who became like family, gave us a book at Jessica's death called "Big George". It is a precious little novel, about the life of a little boy who never leaves the NICU.

It was signed by the author. And filled with messages from the nurses. And the doctors. And the RTs. And Jessica. Her sweet, tiny little footprints mark the bottom right hand corner inside the front cover. How I love the nurses who gave us this gift!
And at the end of the story, as the Beep! Beep! Beep! of the alarms around George alert those tending to him of his little life slipping away, he thinks:

My human suffering is gone. The Light is my life, my greater happiness, the salvation of me and all souls, and I am of the Spirit. Michael's hand takes mine.
"Am I a full-fledged angel now, my brother?"
Michael smiles and lights Earth's morning clouds with golden rays, then releases my hand but does not speak. No matter. Entering Heaven... I am fully aware of who I am.'

That's our reality. She is now, more fully aware of who she is, than I probably am of myself.

And I embrace wholly the reality that our God is faithful.
He gives.
He takes away.
Blessed be His name in all of it.
He brings beauty, from ashes.
Life, from death.
Hope where there shouldn't be.
Hope where there once wasn't.
This is a reality that far, far surpasses any "should have" I would have wished for myself.

Thank you, Holy One, for your faithfulness.


Holley said...

You and your husband will be in my heart today as you love your angel.

Tara said...

Thank you for sharing and reminding us of Jessica. I can't wait to hug you on Monday. Love you, my friend.

Tammy said...

Oh, absolutly God is Faithful! He wastes nothing. Even our pain is made into profit when given to the Master. I love you and Jason SO much! Thank you for sharing your life with me.

Wendy said...

This is wonderful. I'm so glad you shared. Love you.

Kim M said...

Jason and Heather I am thinking about you and praying for you all. Love you guys

Joe Pitney said...

I Think of Jessica often. I love you two dearly and am still sorry you had to go through that.

DeAnn said...

We tell Jessica's story often ~ when we are needing to illustrate a story of amazing courage and ultimate strength. Thank you both for showing us what living, breathing supreme faith in God looks like here on earth. We have yet to witness trust in God parallel to yours, and for that we are grateful. We love you! Terry & DeAnn

Anonymous said...

Heather and Jason, I am your sister in Christ from Owasso. Your parents went to church with my parents in Wilmington. I met them many times and truly like being around them. Tim and I will keep you in our thoughts and prayers during this time of the year. Diane Lynch

Guy and Nancy said...

hey girl...i always enjoyed looking at pics of jessica and hearing about her. loving you and your family today and always, Nancy

Christi said...

Wow - I have no words! Truly powerful stuff, Heather - thanks for sharing!

Shane Coffman said...

Amazing. Love you, my friend. You teach me so much.

Lindsay said...

...I love you.