This time last year

This time last year I was driving, you daughter, to my Aunt’s house, knowing it was possibly the last time your extended family was going to be able to see you.

It was hard trip.

You didn’t feel good.  You had acquired additional medicines and equipment. Packing was a full time job and more then a chore. Yet it was important.  It was meaningful to sit with our family and be grateful.

This year, Katie Grace, we are home.  Your Rebekah is cooking up a storm  in our kitchen, and we are filling our home full of friends.  There is so much to miss without you this year, yet as I sit here snug on the couch watching the fall colors blow in the wind, I am nothing but grateful.

I am grateful for every Thanksgiving I had with you.  That in this world I had the opportunity to know you.  That I have stories to tell of you, like that one time we went to Aunt Nancy’s and we forgot the pole to your stroller that held your kangaroo bag with your food.  So we had to create something on Aunt Nancy’s porch with a nail.  Or that time that you were just irritated with everything and nothing I did helped, so your dad took you and were as happy as could be.  For that alone, that I could watch you love him. Even in your brokenness….everyone knew he was your favorite. I am grateful to have a history to look back on, one where I can talk about your love for your family, your tenacity for your destiny and your laughter. Last night as we walked through Target, grabbing a few items for today, we passed the freezer section, and your dad couldn’t help but say Katie Grace loved this part of Target.  Just like that you were there with us.  Walking that aisle.  Helping us prepare for this day.

We are going to sit down today to eat, and although I will not see your physical body at the kids table. I will know you are with us.  I will see you here and I will remember our history.  I will be grateful that we have a history.  That I have stories to tell and memories to hold.

“How precious are my children who remember to thank Me at all times.  They can walk through the darkest of days with Joy in their hearts because they know that the Light of My Presence is still shining on them. Rejoice in this day that I have made, for I am your steadfast Companion.”- Sarah Young, Author of Jesus Calling. 

 

90 days

Dear Daughter,

Today is 90 days.  It has been 90 days since I have wiped your face clean, kissed your soft porcelain cheeks, picked up medicine, changed a diaper, gotten you dressed, taken you to a doctors appointment, or held you…just cause.  It has been 90 days and I miss it all so much.

I heard a sermon the other day.  The preacher talked about sheep and how if they wander away from the flock, the shepherd breaks their legs, puts them on his shoulders, and carries them around feeding and nurturing them, creating such a deep connection that he doesn’t need to worry again about the sheep running off. You know what I realized?

I realized that your presence baby girl it made me like a lamb with the broken legs.  I wasn’t necessarily astray but I was a lamb who forgot the goodness of the Lord.  Who forgot how sacrificially he loves. The tenderness in which he serves hearts and the compassion he feels.  I had forgotten, who I was in him. I had lost my voice…..and then you came, in all your brokenness. My legs broke underneath me and the Lord so graciously placed me upon his shoulders and for the 4 years that you and I had, he fed me, he nurtured me, he created such a deep connection that I have nothing to fear.  I know that I know that I know that I know his voice. I trust who he is in me, and who I am in him.  Those years I spent on his shoulders, loving you, helped me remember my voice.

I wish I could do life with you.  That I could learn all I have with you heathly and whole by my side.  Oh to grow up and have the chance to be your best friend!  To see you mature and grow into the woman God designed you to be. Oh my heart, what a whirlwind of wonder and excitement you would have been.  A walking love tank outpouring you deep knowledge of heaven!

We didn’t get that though. Instead we had our race, and as 90 days is here, I am grateful for what we had. I am grateful that although you are not by my side, you are buried deep into the marrow of my bones.  Your voice is heard in all my conversations.  Your presence apparent in how I go about my life.  Your wisdom, your deep love, your tenacity seen in how I get up each day and face it.  My ability to turn into the Lord and lean into his chest. My ability to have my conversation, is a simple reflection of your strength to have yours.

I am your legacy.  You will not die again. To know me, is to know you.  Just like to know Jesus, is to know the Father.  You loved me, as he has always loved me, and that daughter will never die.  You came, my legs broke, and the shepherd graciously draped me over his shoulders; nurturing me into a place of totally dependancy.

It is 90 days today my sweet Katie Grace.  My pure grace.  I miss you beyond words, sometimes beyond emotion, and I am forever grateful for your presence. For your sacrifice, for your tenacious love that has changed the trajectory of my life.

Love,

Your momma with the mended legs and heart, who has leaned up her Fathers chest and started her conversation.

60 days

Today is March 1st.

It has been exactly 60 days since Katie Grace graduated.

And I am still a mess of emotions trying to figure out this beast called grief.

There is this song that has been on repeat in the car since the graduation. I just now watched the video, and proceeded to crumble into a teary eyed mess on the floor.  The song, is “I Lived” by OneRepublic.

Katie Grace dances upon the lyrics of this song.  Her sweet soft feet touching each word as they play into my heart. It has become “our song.” She came into this world and lived.  She could only do so much and she did it.  She did it with every piece of her.  And it called me out….to live….to embrace the marrow of life.  To take in the depth of each moment, let it be what it is and let it change me.

The bad stuff

“I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain.”

The good stuff

“I hope when you take that jump you don’t feel the fall.”

The  scary stuff

“I hope when everybody runs you chose to stay”

The stuff that wrecks you to your core.  The hurt that hurts so bad you aren’t sure you can survive. That becomes an ache in your soul you don’t know if you can live with it.  The ache that makes you question the decisions that you made. The one that shows the jealously in your bones when mother’s embrace their daughters.  That one that screams unfair as other 4 year olds run and play around you.  That wants time to stand still, for the moving on to stop, in hopes that it means she will come back.  The one that knows that it isn’t going to end in a year.  That time won’t heal this wound, it may soften it but it won’t heal. Prom will come. Weddings will come.  Milestones will come and she still won’t be here.

“I hope when you fall in love it hurts so bad.”

And yet in the middle of the despair I feel her calling me to live.  To suck out the marrow of life.  To sit on this fence of duality.  Touching happiness and sadness at the same time.  To be exhausted and energized.  To want to hold on and let go.

To count it all joy.

Pace

I had a chance to participate in a intimate time of worship with a small group of people a couple of weeks ago.  As I sat there soaking in the presence of the Lord, I heard him say:

“Where you found my heartbeat in the cadence of Katie Grace steps,

you will need to lean into me deeper and hear my heart.

For in my heartbeat is the cadence of her steps.”

I have sat with this word on my heart ever since.  It just lingers over it sometimes soaking into it but mostly its like I can’t quite fully allow my heart to understand.  I don’t know why really.  I don’t know what I am afraid of.  I don’t know is actually my phrase of the past couple months.  I feel as if I am between two places…happy and sad.  Joyful and mourning.  On top of things and overwhelmed.  All the time.  I want so badly to just settle on one feeling.  Can I just be overwhelmed with joy that my daughter is set free?  Blown away by the mercy and grace of the Lord, taken over with his surreal and powerful love?  Without any of the sadness? Without feeling any of the loss?  Without aching to hold her one more time?  Without saying to Jesus I am the slightest bit jealous you get her whole and I didn’t?

I am afraid the answer is no.  I can’t have those things without also feeling the sadness.  I can’t be simply overpowered by God’s surreal and powerful love without the aching to hold my daughter one more time.  I can’t.  It is the aching that creates the understanding of how surreal and powerful God’s love is.  How can I be blown away by his mercy and grace if I don’t allow room for jealousy that He gets her whole and I didn’t.  How do I let him into my humanity, if I don’t allow myself to be human?  How do I lean deeper into his chest and hear his heartbeat, if there is nothing pushing me into it?

We all have things that push us deeper into the Lord.  Some of us revelations. Some of us experiences with him that create a desire. Some of us its just a simple gift. Mine has been suffering.  I have long understood the answer to all pain was the Lord.  Not that that instantly meant everything was healed….His goodness just changed the experience.  I can’t be on one side of the fence because this middle ground pushes me into him. It pushes me to seek after him and in this season, as he is writing the last chapter of Katie Grace’s story, it is his heart for me to push into him.

So here I sit in this place.  Firmly planted on this fence, slightly frustrated and learning to be open.  I am happy and sad. I am full of joy and mourning. I am on top of things and overwhelmed.  I am pressing into the Lord’s chest, leaning in as much as I can to hear the cadence of my daughters steps. To find my new pace.

Katie Grace Graduation

I am so sorry it has taken me this long to get back into the blogging game.  I have another post I am working on but I thought it would be better if I first posted pictures from Katie Grace graduation.

Not gonna lie it was a little intimidating putting together a memorial service or graduation as we call it.  There is so much you have to think about and plan.  It’s pretty surreal.  Suggestion for anybody out there facing a terminal illness and you are going to do a memorial service….plan plan plan ahead.  Decisions were hard to make in the middle of it all…and many times we just had to limit the decisions we made on a day-to-day basis.   In my humble opinion a simple plan is always easy to adjust and change but creating a whole plan can be a lot more work.

Despite our lack of planning I think the graduation ceremony was fantastic.  Once again our community just swooped us up in love.  My friend/boss Amy was our pastor she was someone who was there from the very beginning…a safe place I processed what my life was about to be that first month when Katie Grace was born and the same safe place I learned how to do life with Katie Grace.  She was the perfect person to walk us all through saying goodbye!  We had worship. My friend Michaelann read The Conversation, a post I wrote about what Katie Grace’s coming into the world was really about.  Charles and I said a few words. We had a few people share. We prayed.  And then we released 13 dozen balloons.  Our final congratulations and goodbye to an stunning and powerful little girl.

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To everybody who was able to make it….Thank you!

To those of you who have kept us in your prayers as we have ran this journey…. Thank you!

To Katie Grace I celebrate your race daughter.  You came into this world with a destiny and you fought every step of the way. I am honored to be called your Momma and I am humbled to be the one who was entrusted with your tenacious loving soul. I celebrate that we have an eternity together and our time apart while I am here on earth will seem as nothing once our feet are upon the same ground. You daughter changed my life in the most painful and glorious ways ever. I am better then I ever thought I could be….Thank you!

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