"We love you, Grace!", was what we shouted as we released a rainbow of balloons heavenward. Many of them carried handwritten messages of love to Grace from those of us left here missing her so much. Joy's note said she loved and missed her sister. Mae was just wondering if she could have cake in heaven, and said she loved her. (smile) Grace's birthday was a painful day for us, but was made lighter by many friends and family who supported us through it. Thank you so much to those of you who sent cards, made phone calls and left facebook messages and e-mails. They really did help us through another "first" without Grace here.
We ate an angel food cake to commemorate the day of remembrance, and looked at pictures and let some tears fall. Mae had a good day at school. Many of the kids and teachers wore their t-shirts from Grace's benefit as a way to honor her on her birthday. Mae thought it was so cool to see Grace's picture everywhere she went that day. We are so thankful for such an amazing family of friends that surround her each and every day.
I can't help wondering what Grace was doing in heaven on her birthday? I wish more than anything that I could have gotten just a glimpse. I imagined her in the midst of a celestial party with such beautifully alive music playing that it filled everyone up... the swells of sound making everyone move with a joy they could not contain. I pictured her surrounded by our friends and family who are there with her. The sound of her laughter filling the air. Blowing out candles on the shores of a breathtaking crystal sea. Spinning and dancing with Jesus himself. Celebrating God's creation of her and praising Him for the amazing gift of the joy of heaven. I cannot wait to share moments like those with her again...
Mae had an entry in an art and academic fair that evening at school too. We were so proud of her. She had to present her project during the day to an evaluator and just beamed when she got to show it off to her grandparents and auntie at the fair. A child who could not communicate at 3 years of age, and who didn't even understand most of what we said at that point... at 7 years old Mae is a living, breathing miracle. She amazes us every day with her sweet heart, intelligence and love for life.
We are trying to see beyond a birthday without Grace here to focus on a heaven more alive and full with her in it. Our pain for ourselves is forever mixed with joy for her.