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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Compassion

http://www.lettersforlydia.blogspot.com/   Read 12/21 post "Christmas Wish"

This is my dear cousin's latest blog post.  Thank you, Ashleigh, for 'letting' us grieve.  Thank you to all of you who have entered into our pain and understood that there is no bandaid... no pretending that things are ok... and especially to those who have been brave enough to realize that our God is not smaller because He allows and in fact promises pain in this broken world.  It is broken because of our bad choice to let evil in and no, God is not in full control (here).  He has chosen to hold back and allow free will until the end of this world... in hope that we will choose Him... choose to partner with Him.  That is why we must pray for His will to be done here as it is in heaven (because it is not always so).  That is why even though "He is willing that none should perish..." without Him,  many still do.

Our hope, and that of all those who have suffered horribly at the hands of men or sickness or death, is not for wholeness now, but for wholeness on the day when Jesus returns and "all has been put right again" (CS Lewis).  In the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis captures this beautifully.  Aslan, a lion representing Jesus, is speaking to the children who are unaware they have just died and left our earth...

"Their (the children's) hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them....  In Aslan’s words, “The term is over: the holidays have begun.  The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

“And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. . . . And we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world . . . had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

 That is my hope... that one day the dream, with the wonderful parts and the nightmares, will be over, and the morning will begin!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Drums

I sit in a beautiful room staring at a magnificent fire.  Lights twinkle, and decorations shimmer.  Such kind people surround me with love.  Makiah has a delicate, pink tree with a sparkly purple ribbon.  "Princess colors," said the sweet child who chose it for her.  It guards her graveside, the resurrection ground, as some have called it.  Tiny fingers of dear friends adorned it with special ornaments.  "Miss you... love you," they say.  Big expressions of grief and love from very little people.  How do I express my grief?  How do I express my love?

We talk and eat and sometimes even laugh.  We go to a movie to pass the time.  We avert our eyes from those who try to gaze too deeply.  I find my husband turned away, tears streaming down his face, and choking back the sobs.  Oh God, the sadness is so profoundly deep.  Inescapable.  Though we try.  While we smile, the pain beats in our chests like a drum... pounding relentlessly... vibrations that shake our very souls... a sound no other ears can hear.

I lay in bed this morning imagining she's between us.  Her blond curls are matted against her sweaty head and her soft pink cheeks are canopied by delicate lashes.  Her little hands are on the covers and her breathing is soft and even. I role over to look at her, but the sheets stretch between us like miles of cold, empty tundra.  I press my eyelids together tightly again, and I picture a giggly girl with two bouncy pigtails popping out of a shiny box with a red bow on her head.  "Tada!" she would gleefully announce.  The only present I want for Christmas is the gift no one can give.

So I will avoid the tree.  I tell myself it's just 24 hours- no different than any other.  "I can breathe through the next day," I say.  Then why does the echo of the  pounding drum beat in my hollow chest grow ever louder as the dawn draws closer?   Things in life that were clear have become fuzzy like I'm riding a carousel that is spinning too fast.  The smiling faces whiz by in a blur.  All that is clear to me is the pink horse beside me slowly galloping up and down.  It is empty.  Then even it becomes distorted.  Is the carousel out of control?   Or are  the tears just blurring my eyes again?  Who can tell?  I cannot see anything now.   Only darkness.  Still, I hear the pounding.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fingerprints...

Pennies for dollars?  Only God can do that.  Two weeks before her death, Makiah cheerfully gave all the pennies she had to help build a well for children in poverty in Africa, and now many of you have turned those pennies into dollars.  She gave the "widow's mite," and God has multiplied it like only He can.  Thank you, friends, for partnering with us to help her little life make a footprint on the generations to come.

Two amazing ladies have pioneered the well project,  and you will never be forgotten.  Cheryl Brannon had the initial vision for selling charms in memory of Makiah to raise money for a well in her honor through a partnership between Compelling Creations and Operation Blessing International.  The charms give people a beautiful reminder to pray for us and a tangible way to remember our precious daughter and tell her story to those who ask.  Cheryl had no idea of Makiah's piggy bank offering for a well in Africa when she developed this idea... but God did.  If you would like to purchase a well charm, see updates on our progress, or read the full story, the links are on the top right of my blog.   A number of people are giving charms as gifts and have asked for a way to include the story in their gift.  There is an additional link now to a letter explaining the story behind the well charms with Makiah's picture.  When you click the link, scroll down and open the word document titled "Letter for Makiah's Charms."

After several people inquired about a way to give money directly towards a well, Sara Kolbie dove in and developed an avenue for a second well to be built through Operation Blessing International based on cash donations.  She is full of creative ideas for raising awareness and money for clean drinking water for these  children who are so in need.  Her heart is that the message of the "Living Water" will follow the life giving gift of clean water to these villages.  Links to donate directly to a well through Operation Blessing International in Makiah's honor and to read updates on the progress of this well on Sara's blog are also on my page under Makiah Kaitlyn King Well Project. 

Each of us has a role to play in 'the larger story.'  Thank you for touching our hearts.  Thank you for being a part of our precious little girl’s role.   Every time a donation is made or a well is purchased, worn, and the story retold, our sweet Makiah’s life is able to continue to impact other children who desperately need the love of God in a practical way- clean water.   May God bless you this Christmas as you play the part that only you can on this stage of life.  Know that His fingerprints can be seen through yours...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lunch

The humming of the washing machine is the only noise.  Occasionally I break the silence with a crunchy bite of grilled cheese.  I glance at the other bar stool- the empty one- while I eat my lonely lunch.  No need to make a PB&J today.   I toy with the thought of making one and leaving it there for her anyway, but that might be considered to be on the other side of that thin line we use to define sanity.  I better not.  Besides, the blue, dinosaur sandwich cutter is collecting dust now.  I suppose I should throw it out.  How do you throw away the things your child loved... even the little things that made her face light up... like dinosaur shaped sandwiches?  The memories seem so connected to her things.  How do you choose what to keep?  Which did she love less- the mermaid dolls or the tiny, glass marbles she hid all over the house... the last rock she put in my purse or the tiny barbie shoe she left in my closet?  What should be put away and forgotten?  I had to put her away.  Will she be forgotten?

Our family feels so schizophrenic now.  We have two families and the 'twain shall never meet' (at least not here).  Two sets of family photos will hang on the wall separated by a frame and a dark, unbreachable chasm of nothingness.  One family ended on October 8th, 2010.  The next will begin in early 2011... divided by such pain and anguish in such a short space of time.  Did you know when your only child dies you can't keep "family" health insurance- even if your pregnant?  Nope.  It's just you and "spouse" now.  Not a 'real' family.

I suppose I'm not even a mommy anymore either.  Sure I am pregnant, but that means you are about to become a mother.  Mommy's brush teeth and hair and play silly games and give baths and timeouts and hugs and kisses.  Mommy's make PB&J's.  No need for that now.  My grilled cheese is gone and the washing machine is silent.  Time to try to think of something to do next since our, I mean my, lunch is over.

Monday, December 13, 2010

So Wrong

It's Sunday morning.  I should be almost ready for church by now.  You should be sitting on the couch in your pretty dress watching Angelina Ballerina while Mommy rushes around.  I should have gotten you your morning spoonful of peanut butter "on a big spoon" like you always request.  I let your cat in a few minutes ago.  I think he misses you exclaiming "Oh, Buster!" and smooshing him with hugs.  He walks to your room and then checks every other room.  He comes in the living room and sniffs a box of your clothes I have out on the floor.  Then he looks at me curiously and meows.  I tell him that you aren't here- that you will never be here again.  I choke the words out again and again until I am wailing.  She's never coming home again!

You didn't want to die.  You told me one night as I was tucking you in bed about two weeks before the accident that you were scared to die.  You had told your Wednesday night teacher that at church, too.  We talked again about Jesus living in our hearts... about how our bodies stop, but we don't stop.  We are with Him just like that- and I snapped my fingers.  I told you heaven was wonderful, and we said our verse together  "The Lord has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind."  Then I kissed you good night and told you not to worry about it-  that you didn't need to worry about dying for a long time.

Mommy was wrong.  So very wrong.  Death was lurking right around the corner.  I'm so sorry, baby, that I didn't keep you safe.  I'm so sorry that I didn't bring you home with me.  I'm so sorry when I took you to the beach that I would never bring you back- that you would never see Buster or your room or your friends again.  I know you didn't want to die yet.  I'm so sorry you didn't get to come home with mommy and daddy and the twins.  So sorry, baby, that I was so wrong.  So very sorry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Robe

Exactly two months and one day ago, I sat in the cool brisk air on the porch at the condo sipping a steamy mocha. The sun rise was breath taking as the orange ball climbed up out of its bed in the sea.  Wisps of pink and purple peeked out from under the wavy covers and into the pale sky.  I was reading Isaiah 61.   I heard a tapping on the door and turned to see a cute, little face pressed against the glass grinning at me.  I slid open the door and the little blond curls danced across the pink princess gown as you bounced happily out to join me.  The chilly wind whipped around us, and I asked if you wanted to sit in my lap and cuddle inside my fluffy, white bathrobe with me.  You eagerly climbed into the warmth, and I wrapped my arms tightly around your tiny frame.  I popped an occasional fruit loop in your mouth as we snuggled and listened to the gentle sound of pounding waves.

I read the next verse aloud to you- Isaiah 61:10.  "I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels."

I explained to you, Makiah, that this is what God has done in our hearts and what He will do for real when we get to heaven.  I told you He will give us beautiful white robes to wear and put sparkly jewels on us like a bride when we arrive there with Him.  You asked, "Mommy, will the robe look like this one?"  I chuckled and said, "No, sweetheart, it will be so much more beautiful!"  You laughed, and I held you close for a few more precious minutes before you wriggled away to look at something else.  Mommy had no idea that we only had about 36 more hours together... no idea that tomorrow you would get to see Jesus, and He would slip a beautiful white robe around your little shoulders and adorn you with glittering jewels.  I wonder if you mentioned to Him that Mommy told you about this yesterday.

I am thankful for that sunrise on October 7th...  that last chance to hold you in my arms and open the scriptures to you and tell you about what was to come... to tell you about Him.   Those special moments are a bittersweet gift that will never leave me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Coming Home

Silence.  The closer we get the words slow to a trickle.  We spend the last few hours in silence.  Deep breath in the driveway.  It is time.  Through the door the familiar smell of home without the familiar sounds.  Her room is dark.  Light on.  I hate the dark.  The toys are waiting, but I can't find her.  The insane thought that she would be here missing us is ebbing away.  The inevitable  rumblings start.   I sit at the doll house where all the babies are in the bed with the mommy and daddy.  The little blond girl has her head on the mommy's tummy... how she left it the last time she played.  If only we could play.  Wailing.  Calling. I'm so sorry for so many things.  I hold the favorite mermaid and the princess fairy.  Where is my little one?  I want her back!  I just want to play again.  Pounding.  Tears.  Carpet.  No!  No!  NO!  Seconds.  Minutes.  Hours.   But no one comes.   Silence.

Monday, November 29, 2010

To See

The dock sways gently with the waves.  The sun sparkles on the water as the chilly wind whisks away my tears.  I read Ephesians 1:8.  "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints..."   I picture Makiah singing and doing the arm motions to one of her favorite songs, "Open the Eyes of My Heart."  I think of the book Mary Beth Chapman signed and the note she wrote encouraging us to "choose to see."

Although the sun is shining brightly here at my in-laws lake house, I feel more then ever that I see through a glass dimly.  I think more about Ephesians 1:18, and I feel prompted to write down all of the dreams or pictures of heaven and Makiah and our family that others have shared with me since October 8th.  Maybe recording these experiences will help me to "know the hope to which he has called" me.

I write and write.  One story from a precious friend comes to mind.  Her family has been praying for us daily. She told me her 3 year old came running to her one day after his nap, and said he had a dream that they were building a fire next to Mrs. Rachel.  He said it was not too big or too small and that they were bringing sticks to put in the fire to keep me warm.  What a beautiful picture of intercession.   Out of the mouths of babes.

Another little friend of Makiah's also had a dream.  He said that in the dream they played and it was really fun.  He said she told him that God really does know all the hairs on your head.  He told his mommy it was cool...

She can see clearly now.

My tears stream down faster than the wind can snatch them away so it picks up speed.  The red and yellow leaves have almost disappeared from the waving trees.  The bright sun is climbing high now, and I can feel its warmth on my wet face.  My natural eyes see beauty all around.  Lord, please enlighten the eyes of my heart- that they can see more than this deep, crushing darkness.  Thank you for those who are putting sticks in the fire to help drive away the the dark and the cold.  I really do want to see...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Priceless Treasure

All I have ever wanted is to be a mommy.  As soon as I can hold a baby doll, I am imagining the day when it will be real.  I gather all my dolls together and pretend to have an orphanage where all the babies with no family are mine.  I can't imagine anything worse then having no mommy or daddy.  Long after the other girls have left their toys behind to chase boys, I still secretly pretend with my babies.  As a teen, I have a very real dream of playing on the beach with my little blond-haired daughter, and I can't wait.

College?  Yes,  It is necessary to become the kind of person my ideal Mr. Right would marry.  Graduate school?  Yes.  He still hasn't made his debut.  Work for several years after the wedding?  Yes.  I want to pay off the student loans and save for our next car so that when the big day comes, I can stay home as much as possible and be a mommy.  Infertility?  Yes.  I try not to let fear creep in.  I carry around a notebook of scripture promises to combat the insidious thoughts.  We go to a bible study and a pastor I have never met (and who knows nothing about me), says God has heard our prayers, and I will be a mommy.  Six weeks later I am pregnant.

May 11, 2006.  One of the happiest days of my life.  I become not just a mommy, but Makiah's mommy.   My blond haired baby has arrived!  Two weeks before the accident, you crawl up in my lap and ask me if you will always be my baby first.  I laugh and cradle you like a baby and tell you "Oh, yes! Even when you are as big as Mommy!"   I snuggle you close and cover your face with kisses.  You grin your squinty eyed grin- the one where I can see the happiness in your heart beaming from your eyes.

Your conception was a miracle.  Every breath you took was a gift.  The precious moments of your sweet life were entrusted to me.  A priceless treasure that I will always cherish.  Sweet Makiah, you will always be mommy's first baby.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Flashbacks

Pain.  Hyperventilating.  Flashbacks.  Laughter.  Love.  Crunching.  Spinning.  Glass.  Screaming.  911.  Disbelief.  Blood.  Begging.  CPR.  Paddles.  Strangers.  Arms.  Praying.  Hoping.  Sirens.  Riding.  Shaking.  Pleading.  Waiting.  Doctor.  Over.  No!  Horror.  Crushing.  Blackness.  Nightmare.  Breathe.  Replay.  Stop.  Please.  Stop.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Storm

I had forgotten until Cameron reminded me. The conversation was buried in my mind beneath the rubble of the wreck.   At 5:15 on October 8th we were riding in the car.  Makiah was playing happily in the back with a new toy- our first purchase for the twins. "Watch Mommy!" she exclaimed.  She was so excited to make it play music.  I told her what a good big sister she would be and that she would have to teach the twins to play.  Then while she was occupied, I shared with Cameron something I had heard a week before about Mathew 7: 24-27. 

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." -Jesus

I have heard this parable many times before, but this time was different.  I expressed to Cameron that it occurred to me that both the wise man and the foolish man faced the storm. I usually think that those who love God will be kept from the storm altogether, but the wise man did not avoid the catastrophe.  The rain came down, and the wind blew and beat against his house, too.  The difference between the two men was not what they endured, but the outcome.  The man whose foundation was Jesus, the rock, did not collapse.  The other man's house came down with a great crash.

Our serious moment ended as Makiah started to play the "I love you more than..." game with us.  We exchanged "I love you's" and laughs as we drove.  We were almost home now.  But then suddenly, with a terrible crunch of metal and breaking glass, the world spun violently around us and the greatest storm of our lives descended and began to beat with fury against our house.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fresh Eyes

Today I heard someone speak about grace- God's unmerited favor.  The speaker showed this video (posted below) of a father who helps his severely handicapped son complete a marathon.  I have seen this video  before and cried about the compassion of a father for his child.  I have wondered if I could do the same.  Could I suffer and love and be so dedicated to another person's dreams?  But today I saw this clip with fresh eyes.

Today I realized that I am the boy- completely, utterly incapable of doing anything for myself.  I have often prayed that I would trust and depend on God, but really there has always been a measure of relying on myself and what He has given me.  I have never felt utterly incapable... until now.  This complete brokenness of who I am, of my dreams, of my heart has brought to light a truth that has always been there.  I am nothing without Him.  There is a comfort in knowing that the Father always planned to carry me across the finish line.  I was meant to lay helplessly in the boat while He pulls me across the pounding waves.  There is no other way across miles of difficult hills and blazing sun except strapped to Him.  I will finish the race- in His strong arms, with His feet pounding against the hard ground, and His sweat and blood carrying me to victory.

Maybe you, too, will see this video with fresh eyes.

My Redeemer Lives - Team Hoyt

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Streaks

Purple. Orange. Pink.  The sky is streaked with beauty on this cool, crisp morning.  My cheeks are streaked with tears.  My insides are a pressure cooker.  The pain builds and churns and presses until it leaks from my eyes.  I feel as if this thing inside me will explode.  I cannot bear it.  Wails begin to escape from my lips, and I can no longer act civilized.  I cannot contain the thoughts pounding through my mind.  They pour in a rushing a torrent from my lips.  I do not care that people can hear.

"I miss my baby!  I've never been apart from her for 4 long weeks before.  How can I live without her?  I do not want to learn.  I do not want to put time between the intersection of her life and mine.  I do not want to be ok.  I do not want to forget.  I do not want to do this!!  How can this be my life?  How can it have gone so wrong?  It was not supposed to be this way.   I can hear her sweet voice in the bathtub asking, "What color will you paint me today, Mommy?"  I will never get to "paint" her with soap again... to imagine with her.  I cannot do 'This Little Piggy Went to Market' while I clean her little toes ever again."

I pound the bed and pull my hair.  Agony.  Breathing fast now.  The wails will not stop.  I sit up to calm down, but my arms hang limp and empty.  No one for them to hold.  Another wave hits, and in my heart I feel like the living dead.  I am sorry for my babies.  They can hear now.  Instead of songs and laughter I am afraid the only sound they will know is sobbing.  Worse.  They will not know their sister.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Dance

Why is my baby in a box and I am on my bed?  Why do I still breathe in and out and she cannot?  It's a miracle Cameron is alive.  He remembers the car's hood plowing into the side of his head.  It's a miracle I have only bruises and scratches and that there is still life in my womb.  Why not one more miracle?  Where is your miracle Makiah?  Oh, that you were little and safe and still inside me!

Paul said to live is Christ but to die is gain.  This seems so clear to me now.  If we had all gone together, how sweet would be our welcome in heaven- not separated by time or pain or waiting.  Perhaps it would have been harder for others but so much easier for me.  Then I think of the twins and all the years of prayers that you have prayed for them.  And then I think of the dance.

In September when I started bleeding and the doctor's discovered a hematoma, Daddy took you to the church to pray.  He said he was going to pray until he knew the babies would be ok.  He told you that he knew you didn't know what words to pray, but if you danced for Jesus, that would be your prayers for us.  You danced and danced and danced... for an hour and a half you danced for mommy and the babies.

God heard the prayers of your heart and feet that day, my sweet one.  Mommy and the babies will live.  Thank you, precious Makiah, for the dance.

Phillipians 1:21-26

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wells of Living Water

My eyes filled with tears when my mother-n-law told me of her friend's idea.  This sweet lady, whom I've never met, wanted to know if she could do something special in honor of Makiah.  She said God had put it on her heart to start a well project for her.  She would sell "living water well charms" through Operation Blessing International to raise money to build a well for underprivelaged children in a poverty stricken country.  She said when 600 charms have been purchased, a well with a permanent plaque would be built to commemorate Makiah's life.  Not only was this an amazing idea, it was linked to my daughter's heart in a way that shocked me...

What this thoughtful lady could not have known was that only 2 weeks before the accident, Makiah came into the kitchen on a Sunday morning carrying her whole piggy bank.  She told me she wanted to take it all to "give to the kids who need clean water."  The preschool class at church had been raising money to help build wells in a community in Africa.  We had talked several weeks before about how the little girls there couldn't even go to school because they had to spend all day walking to get clean water for their families.  I had forgotten about this, but Makiah didn't.  She wanted to give all she had to help these children know God's love and have a better life.  

Will you help Makiah's dream to make a real difference in another little girl's life come true?

Only $1800 builds a well.  Donations to the Well Project can be made by mailing a check to:

Operation Blessing International
Attn: Christine Coughlin, CSB 322
977 Centerville Turnpike
Virginia Beach, VA 23463


*Mark your gift clearly on the check for Makiah King and it will be credited to her account.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Night

In my dream I am playing happily with Makiah by a river when the sky begins to darken and swirl.  I scoop her up, and we run to the nearest building.  There is an empty desk inside the stark office and I hide her under the desk along with her two best buddies.  I tuck pillows around the three of them and over their heads to keep them safe. 

Outside the menacing clouds have begun to form twisters.  They reach down from the sky like whirling, random fingers of destruction.  Somehow I feel the little office is not safe enough.  In my dream the children become tiny, and I carefully place the three of them in a box.  I grasp the box tightly to my chest, and I begin to run.  A relentless tornado has decided to follow me.  Wherever I turn it is there, doggedly pursuing me.  I run with all my might- like the wind- clutching my little box with its precious cargo. 

Finally, I seem to have evaded the finger of destruction.  I run into a strange building, and I am swallowed by relief.  We have made it, and we are safe.  I place the box on the floor and gingerly open the top.  The two friends are sitting safely inside with their little legs crossed, but- Wait!  Where is Makiah??  In horror I see a crack at the bottom of the box.  I realize she has slipped out...fallen through the small opening while I was running.  I tear wildly back into the streets.  I search frantically now for my precious daughter.  I desperately call for her.  I scream her name into the empty streets ravished by the tornado.  But she is gone.  She is gone.  She is gone.

I wake up from the nightmare.  My eyes flutter open as the grey light of dawn creeps through my blinds.  My heart is pounding, and I choke on the sobs that fill my throat.  The dream and the night slip away in the light of morning, but one thing remains- SHE IS GONE.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Toes

Outside the sky is grey and dreary.  I feel it should rain torrents today.  I think the whole earth should cry out in grief.  I feel my heart pounding in my head.  My eyes will barely open, and I think no more tears can possibly come.  Maybe I will stand in the rain and borrow the tears from the sky.

I look down at sparkly pink toes, and they are lonely.  Makiah, our last Sunday together you spent the morning in bed with Mommy (because I am on bed rest).  We ate fruit loops and snuggled.  We practiced drawing your letters and painted our fingers and toes.  You wanted rainbow toes, but I didn't have the colors with me.  I promised I'd paint you rainbow toes later.  Once we were all pink you said, "I got an idea!  Let's put sparklies over the pink, and you have to do it, too, Mommy, so we can be twins!"  You are such a princess!  So pink toes became sparkly toes.  We giggled and hugged and admired our matching feet.

Now mine sit all alone.  Ten toes that should be twenty.  Sparkles remind me of your glittering eyes and passion for life.  I promised you rainbow toes.  I kept my promise.  Pretty shades of pink, purple, red, and white.  Your sweet little toes looked so perfect before they closed the casket.  No four year old should be buried with old lady toes.  No four year old should be buried.  Mommy is so sorry, baby, that you didn't get to see your pretty rainbow toes.

The hard ground outside is still dry, but the rivers have sprung up again to flood my face.  The dark sky is silent and won't comply with my demands for weeping.  Perhaps the clouds should borrow my tears instead...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Deafening Silence

In a single second my life has been radically altered.  My precious gift from God, sweet Makiah Kaitlyn, has gone to be with Jesus long before her time.  I know in my heart that she is happy, but my arms are so empty... my house so dreadfully quiet.  I feel at times that a horrible blackness has enveloped me.  I feel as though my insides are screaming.  I am clawing and fighting to break out of this torturous body- to escape from this oppressive reality, but I cannot escape.  The dark anguish leaps on me again and again.  It sits on my chest and presses against my very life breath.  My heart feels utterly crushed and broken- pummeled into a thousand pieces.  Life as I knew it has been shattered and the shards that are left are painful and sharp.  Cutting me as I try to walk through them.  This is the valley of the shadow of death.  How dark is that shadow!

Her room is perfectly untouched.  All of the dolls in her dollhouse family are piled into their little bed together where she left them.  Her castle is waiting for sweet little fingers to bring the princesses to the ball.  Her store is full of all the toys she didn't clean up and didn't want Mommy to see.  Makiah's baby Maddy waits inside the store in her little stroller ready for her walk.  Jumbled barbie legs and mermaid tails protrude from pink and yellow baskets awaiting their next adventure.  Two much loved sand dollars sit gingerly on the shelf in front of the fish bowl.  A lonely cat cries on my porch, not understanding why the little one who always snuggles him does not come out to play.  Tiny shoes sit empty, waiting for busy feet.  Fall clothes hang expectantly in the closet with tags still attached.  The barbie big wheel in the garage wonders why no roadside flowers or dirty rocks have been tucked inside the secret storage compartment in weeks.  The lady bugs outside are waiting to be hunted, and the markers inside lie untouched by the coloring books.  The marbles that have been hidden all over the house (grouped according to color) are ready to be found by the precious one who hid them away.  The little mermaid toothbrush is beginning to feel abandoned. A sweet little princess bed, harboring the last few broken cheerios, sits ready for a tiny, warm body to slip beneath its pink blanket and soft, blonde curls to rest against the butterfly pillowcase.

Can it be that she is never coming home?  Surely she is just away staying with a friend- ready for mommy to come and get her.  Are the sweet kisses really gone?  Has the smell and feel of her soft skin and the weight of her arms around my neck truly disappeared?  Will I not run my fingers through her sweet curls again on this earth?  Surely I heard a voice calling "mama" early this morning.  Any minute now a little head will appear by my bedside and green eyes will wait eagerly for mine to open while an insistent little hand will poke my shoulder continuously and the babyish voice will say "Hungry!  Hungry!  Mama, wake up!  I'm hungry!"

I think for one second, in that fuzzy moment between sleep and wakefulness, that I've had horrible dreams, and I am relieved to wake up.  But then horror floods me as reality pounces on my consciousness.  This is not a dream.  I cannot wake up.  The nightmare is real.  No little footsteps are coming.  No one is crying for mommy.  The house is empty and still.  The silence deafening.  I fill it with wails and groans and pleas to God.  My eyes burn, and I can barely breath.  I grit my teeth and clutch the pink bunny in my bed.  I bury my face in its worn fur and try to catch  a glimpse of her sweet smell.  It's almost gone forever.  I feel panicked that I will forget- that cherished memories will evade me.  Her face on that last morning we snuggled on the couch seems to be growing dim.  Fuzziness starts to creep in.  "No!"  I scream.  Memory don't fail me now!  Please keep every precious detail etched as in stone! 

Warm, salty tears become rivers on my face, and then I think of the ocean.  I remember that minutes before she was taken away,  my sweet Makiah told me that she loved me more than all the water in the ocean and all the sand on the beach.  I assured her that mommy loved her more.  Maybe my salty tears will always remind me of her oceans of love, and maybe, just maybe, they will not always taste so bitter in my mouth.