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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Emailing Melissa

You know how kids love to imitate us? The other day Ann Catherine told me she wanted to check her email. Cracked me up. You think she's noticed her mommy doing it?

So I pulled up a word document and let her just type away. Now she loves "checking her email."

The other day she asked if I would let her do it, so I pulled up the word doc. I needed to leave the room to do something so I asked Chris to sit with her in case she needed help.

A few minutes I walked back into the room.

Me: "Sweetie, are you checking your email?"
AC: "Yes, I'm emailing Melissa."

I just stood there - stunned. I looked at Chris. "Did you tell her to do that?" I'm thinking that surely he told her, "Why don't you email Melissa?"

"No," he answered. "It was all her idea. She wanted to tell Melissa about the balloons she sent her the other night." (We recently sent balloons to her on my niece's birthday.)

Ann Catherine just looked at me smiling from ear to ear. I didn't know what to say. Finally, I said, "Honey, I think that's great. I'm sure Melissa loves getting emails from you."

I walked back into the bedroom and just thought about it. Ann Catherine is starting to talk more and more about Melissa. I am so glad she does. But, it often catches me off guard. I feel like I just need a minute to regroup when she mentions her, especially if I'm not expecting it.

At the same time, I am so grateful that Chris and I have chosen to talk about Melissa in our home. No, we don't bombard Ann Catherine with it. She'll have plenty of time to learn and understand about her sister's life and death. But I am so grateful that we made the decision to talk about her. She is part of our family and part of our home. And it's important to me that Ann Catherine knows that.

A couple of days later, Ann Catherine, Lily and I were taking a stroll. Out of the blue Ann Catherine says, "Mommy, I was very tiny when I was born." I agreed and said, "And where were you?"

"The NICU," she answered. Then she added, "With Melissa."

Ann Catherine has never really acknowledged that Melissa was in NICU with her. It so caught me off guard.

"Yes, you were," I said.

Then she looked up at the sky and said, "Mommy, Melissa's in Heaven. It's so far away. I can't even see it!"

I thought for a minute. Yes, Melissa is in Heaven and it's far away. But, I don't want Ann Catherine to think that Melissa is just off in some faraway place and that we have no connection with her. So I said, "You're right, Ann Catherine. Heaven is far away. But you know what? Melissa is also in our hearts. She's in my heart. She's in Daddy's heart. She's in your heart and she's in Lily's heart. So just remember, she's never far away. She's always right here" (and I pointed at my heart).

And as she often does, she brought some levity to the situation. She just kept staring at the sky and said, "Mommy, Heaven is so far away we need an airplane or a rocket ship to get there. A really BIG rocket ship!"

I just laughed. I so needed it at such a heavy moment.

I am so grateful that God gives us these "teaching moments" with Ann Catherine to talk about Melissa. I never want to scare her, but I also want to be completely honest with her. Please pray for me and Chris as we navigate this road that, unfortunately, doesn't include an instruction manual.

5 comments:

Stephanie T said...

Abby has often been the source of contemplation of what to say and yet the greatest inspiration of how Olivia is a "special" part of our family. Thank you for your openness about how you include Melissa in your family traditions and conversations. They have helped me many times - in fact we now send our balloons up to Olivia all the time. I am thankful every day that Abby mentions her special "baby sissy"!

I believe God uses our girls to hear Him when we can't!

Cabra Clan said...

It amazes me how God uses AC to happily mention Melissa in ways that can bring smiles to your face, like emailing her to tell her things. That is awesome! I'm sure God wants us to celebrate Melissa with smiles! It is also amazing how God is obviously slowly teaching AC about Melissa day by day so that she can easily understand one day when you have that conversation. I think she'll understand more than you know and just amaze us all with her discernment of the situation! You're such a great mom!

Suzanne Colbath said...

It is amazing how children act that way towards a lost sibling. Kat was playing in her room and I could hear her talking through the baby monitor. She was telling someone to come on lets play with this now. I went in and asked her who she was talking to (expecting her to tell me Garrett or Taylor from daycare) and she said that Matthew came to play with her. Like you and Chris we talk about Matthew but it's not constantly in front of her. I do believe that Matthew came to play with Kat. I also believe that Melissa has been there to visit Ann Catherine. It just another assurance that God works in mysterious ways. Love to you all,

Suzanne

Coffee with Cathy said...

Amy -- Just found your blog and hope to be a regular visitor. Thanks so much for sharing these adorable photos of your family.

Amy said...

Thanks, Cathy. I'm glad you found my blog! And thanks to the rest of you for your uplifting comments. I am just praying for wisdom that God will tell me and Chris how to handle what lies ahead.

Amy