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Sunday, October 4, 2009

She Drew Melissa

As I picked up AC from class at church this morning, she showed me the picture she had drawn.

The Bible verse at the bottom said, "You made the world and everything in it. Genesis 89:11."

There were three stick figures and I knelt down and asked her who they were.

"Well," she explained, "that's God. That's Lily Baker and that's Melissa. See I drew an 'M' next to her."

I was completely overwhelmed.

My eyes filled with tears and I put my arms around her and hugged her. She got up and jumped to hug Lily Baker, but I knelt there for a moment trying to keep my composure. I finally got up and we left.

I just felt so overwhelmed with emotion the entire way to the car. Once we got in, I asked her to tell me more about what she had learned at church. She told me they had learned "light and dark" and I figured it was about how God created the light and the dark.

"Why did you draw Melissa?" I asked.

"Because she's very special to me," she answered so matter-of-factly.

"Yes, she is," I said and began to cry again. As I drove, I wondered: when am I going to be able to handle these things without crying?

I don't always cry when I talk about Melissa. Some days I can think about her and talk about her without shedding a tear. Other days are harder.

But where Ann Catherine is concerned, I just feel so vulnerable.

Lately, AC is talking a lot more about Melissa. She is acknowledging her more and saying her name.

Don't get me wrong. I love that. In fact, my prayer has always been that our girls will never see Melissa as this person who was part of our family but is now gone. I want them to see her as someone who is part of our family, but who just isn't with us physically. I feel, to some extent, we are accomplishing that.

Melissa's name is spoken in our home. We talk about her and we answer Ann Catherine's questions about her.

But sometimes I am just so caught off guard. When I asked Ann Catherine who was in that picture today, I never expected her to say Melissa. So when she did, I just broke down.

But strange as it may sound, I didn't just cry tears of sadness. Yes, I cried at that moment because I miss Melissa so much and it just seems so unfair that she was drawn on that piece of paper, when she should have been running out of that room holding Ann Catherine's hand. Yes, I cried because it just plain stinks that Ann Catherine has to deal with such a devestating loss at such a young age.

But I also cried because of a simple reason: Ann Catherine thinks of Melissa.

When she sat down and started drawing, she drew Melissa. I didn't encourage her or lead her to do it. Something in the Bible lesson triggered her to think about Melissa. In turn, she put those feelings on paper.

By the way, the picture of Melissa was right in the middle of the paper - and it was the biggest thing she drew. That told me everything I need to know.

Melissa isn't here. But she is an undeniable part of Ann Catherine's life. That sweet little 4-year-old is too young to understand everything that has happened, but she knows that Melissa is someone who is special to her. In the midst of my tears, I can't tell you how happy that makes me.


Sherrill G. said...

It is amazing what those sweet little girls have learned and how He guides them. A few days ago I was at Stephanie's and Abby was doing her kindergarten "homework". Draw a picture of your family. Mommy, Daddy, Ellie Kate, Mimi, Papaw, Lolly. . .then she went up to the top of the paper - to the sky. She drew one. "This is Olivia." And Stephanie and I both worked hard to smile through the tears that threatened to spoil Abby's focus. She drew another. "Grandy" My dad that died last year. She drew another. "Poppa" Stewart's dad who died last year. And then another! We looked at each with huge question marks on our faces. Abby sighed - that "duh" sigh - "it's God - He's part of our family too!" (Like she COULD NOT believe she was having to explain this to us. . .) Out of the mouths of babes. So thankful He is teaching all of our little girls. . .

tammysaxena said...

I read your story of "she drew Melissa" and wiped tears all the way through. Even before I read your story, I was reading about your comment to Kensley Kelly (who is my relative). Again, tears rolled. You are right, God is in all things, and we don't always understand why things happen as they do, and sometimes question it, but I do know regardless of how I think sometimes, I know the good Lord does not make mistakes! Through the good times and the hard times, he works to make us strong and to lead us in the right direction. In the past, I have also said prayers for you and your family. I remember when you were on channel 19 News and how my heart went out to you through your sadness, but look, you are hanging in there today through the Grace of God! I am proud you and what you have accomplished!

Veronica Carter said...

I have wanted to get in touch with you sooner but have been too emotional to do it.
Your love for Melissa has been shared with my sons through the giraffe beds in the NICU. My twins were born at 26 weeks to the day. They were born on May 31, 2009 and weighed 2 lbs each.
Travis spent 71 days in the NICU. Clint was there 86 days. They were shown in the giraffe beds during the NICU nurses special that Jerry did this year promoting the Swim for Melissa event.
Jennifer had offered to connect me with you during our time at the NICU but I just didn't feel that I was ready to talk about it at that time. We were so afraid of losing our Clint. He had a rougher time than his big brother. He was on the vent longer, in the Intensive side longer and even had a NEC infection that was luckily treated with antibiotics.
Both boys are doing wonderful today.
I am so sorry for your loss of Melissa. But please know that we are so appreciative of the equipment that helped our little boys thrive at such a tiny and fragile state.
May God continue to bless your family.