Anna has been gone for five days. Very soon we'll be past the amount of days she lived. She was only here for eleven days. It seems like it was much longer than that. Maybe because we lived in the unknown for so long before she was born, wondering what was going to happen on her birthday. Then after she was born, every day brought new challenges and hopes of her improving. Until last Monday morning. I knew when I saw her that something was different. Even before the doctor talked to us, she looked like she was struggling. I sensed something was different, and after the heart-breaking conversation with the doctor, I knew it was time to let her go.
But that's not what I want to think about. I want to think about all the precious moments I got with her. Her precious beauty. The blessing her last few hours were with our family. The numerous testimonies of many of you who have told us that her life drew you closer to Jesus.
The past few days have been kind of a blur. Many tears. But still, many smiles. We're having to talk about things we never imagined we would have to deal with. Like planning a memorial service for our baby. Burial or cremation, flowers or donations, order of service, tributes, etc.
What am I going to do with all of her precious clothes? How long will I sleep with the giraffe blanket Matt got her that covered her little body all those days? It's already losing her smell. Will I ever be able to take the cradle out of our room? Right now it's full of the little stuffed animals that surrounded her in the hospital, and her name banner Amy made is draped across the front.
We've been spending a lot of time with my family since we came home Tuesday afternoon. I'm so thankful we all live close to each other right now. And it's a blessing that it's Christmastime. I have been loving being surrounded by all the people I love most. It's bittersweet now, though. All in the same moment I can be filled with the warmth of my family's familiar faces and voices - and then a deep sadness sweeps through me as I realize how much I wanted Anna to be part of it all. I can picture her here with us. I can imagine what it might have been like to have both she and Isaac in the car with us, holding our baby close as she sleeps, or passing her around and staring at her in awe as she makes those funny newborn faces.
Sometimes I'm overcome with grief and I cry and cry. Other times I am laughing at Isaac. I have mostly been numb with sadness, and just sit and not want to do anything.
I am choosing to trust God's best. I wanted Anna to get better and bring her home and raise her. I know I will experience many different emotions as I go through the grieving process. But right now, though I'm extremely sad, I can honestly say I am trusting that God knows why Anna was with us for only eleven days. It hurts. It hurts terribly. But I still love Him. I have reason to praise Him. The truth remains that He came. He loves me. He loves Anna. He came for us. That's why I can rejoice in the midst of my sorrow. Jesus is still with me. My daughter's death doesn't change His goodness. I can feel His presence with me - surrounding me - holding me up somehow. There is still reason to live! In one of the songs our choir has sung recently, some of the lyrics say, "Our long-awaited, wonderful Savior has come to deliver us out of the darkness and into this marvelous love that has given us life - new life! Emmanuel has come!"
So, I'm not sure I have a main focus or point in this post. I'm just sharing some thoughts...
It's almost Christmas Day. I should go to bed.
I can't stop looking at the photos we have of Anna and our time with her. I keep looking, studying, loving, crying, rejoicing...
Here are a few more for you...
|Dec. 18th - Isn't she beautiful?|
|Finally in my arms|
|First time Matt got to hold her|
|I got to wash her face|
Thank you again for journeying with us. We appreciate your continued prayers, and we can feel them.
Love your family. Cherish your spouse, your children, the moments...