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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.