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Friday, February 3, 2012

Wait for the Rainbow

I have a picture that hangs on my mirror in my bathroom.

It's a picture Ann Catherine drew when she was younger. It's a picture of me (you know, the awesome stick figure kind, without hair :) with a halo over my head. I put it there as a reminder of how my daughter sees me, even though it's so far from who I really am. It's a reminder that she is watching everything I do - and learning from it.

Sobering thought for moms, huh?

I added another picture the other night. But before I tell you about it, I must explain what happened that night.

Ann Catherine had one of her grief attacks. I have no better way to describe it. Out of the blue, she'll start thinking about Melissa and she'll just begin to uncontrollably cry. And this goes on for a while.

Have you ever watched as your child truly grieved someone?

It is absolutely heartbreaking.

I went into her room as she and Lily Baker lay in bed. I held her and she sobbed and sobbed. She kept telling me how much she missed Melissa and "I just wished that I could have seen her before she died." I bet she repeated that sentence eight or nine times.

I held her in my arms and told her that I missed her, too. I kept telling her that we would be with Melissa again one day. And each time I said it, she replied, "I just want to see her now!"

I began to cry, too. Tears rolled down my face as I tried to reassure her.

Ann Catherine grieves just as I do. When it finally hits her, she can't hold it back any longer. I grieve the same way. Once I give in to crying, I will cry hard for a good five to ten minutes. So, I didn't rush her. I just held her and let her cry on my shoulder.

The song "Our God" popped into my head. As she sobbed, I rocked her and began to sing, "Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other. Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God. Our God."

Then Lily Baker, who loves this song, joined in. And the two of us sang the chorus over and over and over as Ann Catherine cried.

It was one of the most gut-wrenching and beautiful moments I have ever shared with my daughters.

And then, when I couldn't sing through the tears any longer, I stopped. And Lily Baker just kept going. And she sang that as I rocked Ann Catherine back and forth in my arms.

About twenty minutes later, she stopped crying and I put them both to bed. Then I came into the den, collapsed into the sofa and began to bawl. Chris came over and put his arms around me as I cried.

"I just don't know what to say to her sometimes," I told him. "I know we will see Melissa again one day, but I know that doesn't soothe Ann Catherine's pain right now."

And that's the problem.

We, as parents, are "fixers." We can't stand to see our children sad. So, we try to fix the problem.

This is one problem I cannot fix. I can't bring Melissa back. I can promise Ann Catherine that we will see her again, but that doesn't take away her pain right now.

Please pray for our family as we navigate this journey. Please pray that God will give us the answers we need to these tough questions.

I want to be real with my children concerning Melissa's death. I want them to see me cry. I want them to see me grieve. I want them to know that I miss her too, with all of my heart.

At the same time, I want them to see my faith. When they are older, I want them to look back on their years with me and I want them to say, "I know that my mom loved Melissa and missed her with all of her heart. But, I also know that she trusted God's plan for our lives and she knew that He was in control. She wasn't bitter or angry. She believed that God could bring something beautiful out of so much pain."

So back to my picture. As you all know, we call Lily Baker our rainbow. She is the promise that God sent to our family after that horrible, tragic storm of losing Melissa. The rainbow is a powerful symbol to our family of God's love for us. It is a powerful symbol that life could go on after the storm.

This week at preschool, Lily Baker drew the most beautiful picture of a rainbow. I asked her if I could keep it. I taped it to my bathroom mirror, just above Ann Catherine's picture.

When Lily Baker walked in my room the next morning, she said, "You put my rainbow on your mirror!" She was beaming with pride.

When she walked out, I thought about what we experienced with Ann Catherine the night before. I realized that the rainbow goes so far beyond Lily Baker's birth.

She is the rainbow we celebrate on earth. But one day, we will see the ultimate rainbow.

When the four of us are reunited with Melissa, that will be the final part of God's promise to us. That yes, it may be hard for now, but the rainbow will appear one day. It will shine over our family - our family of five - as we are finally together the way God meant for us to be. When I hold Melissa in my arms, all of the crying, all of the hurt, all of the sadness, all of the grief, will be gone - forever. Not just in my heart, but in Chris' heart, Ann Catherine's heart and Lily Baker's heart.

That rainbow is going to be so spectacular.

Thank you, God, for the rainbow.


Tales of a Peanut said...

Praying today and often for you and your sweet family!

Ashley said...

Your girls are so beautiful, inside and out. I can picture the love in the room as you and the girls were grieving. I am very sorry you have to experience that grief. LB is so full of love. I look forward to watching her as she grows up and uses that love for God's glory.

Nikki said...

Remembering all of you in my prayers! I can't imagine the pain that you must all feel. But I do feel that the best thing you can do is exactly what you are doing. I admire you for not trying to hide it from your girls. And I also admire you and Chris for the hard work you do for the hospital. You've touched more lives than you realize :)