Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Between the Seasons...

Ever get the feeling like you are in a stand-still, stuck somewhere. Neither here nor there, just somewhere in between? Why is it when life is grand, life flies by at a warp speed? Yet, when you are in a rut - it feels like an eternity passes with each passing moment.

That is where I find myself today - stuck in between the hardest two dates of the year for me. Yes, holidays are difficult, but from February 14-March 3rd, I am stuck. Although there are good memories in this time, most seem to reflect the final pain and loss. The weather as well is so cold and snow has returned...what is up with that? This past weekend was one of BEAUTY! The sun was out, birds were chirping, the grass green and the sky so blue! The hope of Spring was dangling right in front of me like a carrot! Then in an instant - *poof* - came the snow.

Snow is beautiful in its own right. There is something magical about a pure white powdered snow dusting an evergreen tree like icing sugar! There is such grandeur in this season of winter if you have no place to go and can cozy up by the fire wrapped in a snuggly blanket gazing out the window at this snowy wonderland. Yet for me, seeing the snow outside pulled me back into the coldness and bleakness, back into the winter of my grief.

And this is where I have been these last few days. Yet, as I looked for signs of spring - I found some! I have felt the warmth of spring in a few ways. Some island friends sent me this picture of Gracie's playground covered in snow. The beauty of the snow mixed with the vibrant colours of the play structure blessed my heart today. Speaking to my dearest childhood friend last night and the upcoming birth of her second daughter reminded me of the circle of life and all the joys that are yet to come. Laughing with her seemed to crack the cold and sad casing around my heart. Another thoughtful and dear friend sent me a card in the mail and as I read her gentle words, I could feel the warm, salty tears falling down my face, and thawing my heart. Then another sweet friend dropped off a beautiful bouquet of tulips and a heart-warming book of quotes today just filled my heart with thankfulness. These God 'hugs' (as my sister likes to call them) reminded me that even though I am still navigating my way through this valley of grief once again, I am not alone. How thankful my heart is for all of you that have joined me in the pain and grief. You are a treasure to my grieving heart. I may be in between the seasons, but I am not alone.

"The healing began when a friend embraced me, leaving some of his tears on my cheek."
~Time Remembered~

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Sweetest Little Valentine...

We are coming up to three years, when our most beautiful little Valentine entered our lives. She showered us with love, joy and memories that are too numerous to count. Her 'dates' are so special to us. She was actually scheduled for a C-section on the 12th of February 2008. We went in to the hospital that morning fully anticipating the birth of our Gracie. I dressed in the beautiful blue paisley hospital gown, allowed a nursing student to play pin the tail on the donkey with an IV needle and my arm, and waited 5 hours just to be told that there were no available beds in the NICU. We were anticipating the 12th as her birthday, we had set in our minds that it was to be the day we would finally get to meet this little one that we had been agonizingly praying over. So, when we were sent home, we were confused as to why God would have allowed that? We had people praying literally all over the world for us on that day, why would He let this happen? Two days later we received a call, it was Valentine's Day 2008. Looking back now I am in awe at how God cared SO much for me, that He orchestrated Gracie's birthday to fall on Valentine's Day. He knew that I would look back each year on Valentine's day in thankfulness that He gave me Gracie on this day of LOVE.

Two years ago, we celebrated Gracie's first birthday. It was bittersweet as we had been told that she didn't have much time left. Yet, I was so very thankful that God had blessed me with Gracie for an entire year. We almost lost her in September 2008, and I pleaded with God for more time to just hold her, for more time to be her mother and not her advocate, doctor, pharmacist, or nurse. He granted me the extra months for which I am forever grateful. I can look at each day of the year and know that she was with me on that day in 2008. Her life sure does parallel the seasons. She was born in the spring when all was new and fresh, and hope and joy was strong. We had a wonderful summer with her (although not without difficulties), and were able to enjoy the sun. We even made it on a vacation together and made some wonderful memories, which are now some of our most treasured memories. She started to regress in the Fall, and as the leaves started to lose their vibrant colours, she too began to lose her vigor. Then winter arrived, and as the leaves withered so did our sweet pea.

Gracie passed from my arms and into the arms of Jesus on March 3, 2009 - on her original due date, which I like to think was her Heaven Due Date. Some might say the dates are just co-incidental, but I know better. This was God showing me how much He loved me, by showing me in the details. I am forever thankful for Valentine's Day and for the depth of love that was given to me in my sweetest little Valentine.