Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Beyond a Year

December 7, 2011 Grace's 1st HEAVENday

As this day of remembering comes to an end I am overflowing with gratitude to all of you who have
eased our hurt by sharing your love and compassion with us. I could hardly keep up with the facebook messages today! Each time we have faced one of these tough days you have been there to hold us up. How do we ever repay that kind of love? THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

I just wanted to share a couple pictures with you....

<-- This is Joy placing her ornament on the tree at the cemetery this afternoon.

The completed tree...

Mae and Joy holding the ornaments
they chose (a rainbow and guitar) -->

Today we looked at pictures and watched a lot of videos. We visited with Gammy and Auntie Susie. Auntie Alisa spent the entire day as we leaned on each other. Joe, our girls, my Mom, Grandpa, Sisters and many cousins met to decorate the tree this afternoon. The kids played there together and even made snow angels. Grandpa brought candy canes for a special treat to enjoy on the way home. We ate chinese food and tacos for our meals today (Gracie's top favorite foods). We looked though Graces treasure chest recalling memories both wonderful and difficult. My parents joined us for supper and then we watched more videos. We thought of heaven and wondered what Grace is doing today.

And we thanked God for each of you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beyond Earth

A year ago today I laid with Grace in her room on the hospital bed, cradling her in my arms. It was a difficult night. She was still struggling to breathe, but I think she was already closer to heaven than earth. Joe, Alisa and I said our goodbyes to her stillness at 7:15 the next morning, on December 7th, 2010. By that evening the dates for her home going services had already been arranged and we were arriving back home to a much quieter new world without her in it.

This last 12 months has felt like swimming across a wide river. The current has been so strong, the struggle to keep our heads above water difficult at times and the whole of it has been exhausting. But the sun has still been shining. The warmth of God's love and the encouragement of family and friends has kept us going. Knowing Grace is waiting for us on the other side of the river gives us the courage to keep moving forward.

I have to share a story here. Around this time last year I was praying for my friend to have a baby. She had been such a gift to me through so many difficult times, and I so wanted that blessing for her. Yesterday I spent the the day and night at her home, helping to care for her newborn triplets! They came early, but their due date was December 7th. A miracle of perfect proportions on a day God knew I would need his encouragement. Last night I got to hold their sweet little bodies and marvel at the amazing creation each of them are. 30 tiny toes and 30 long slender fingers. 3 perfect noses and a smile in their sleep. There have been so many moments of "coincidence" like Grace being born to heaven and those babies due to be born on earth on the same date. But my spirit testifies to the truth that those "coincidences" are really evidence of God's active presence in our lives.

Tomorrow will be a day of remembrance at our house. Mae gets to stay home from school. We will be spending some time together looking at pictures and videos, going through Grace's treasure chest of special things, and will be bringing out ornaments to adorn a little Christmas tree at the cemetery. Next year those ornaments will go on our tree at home. Each year we will bring out new ornaments and our collection at home will grow over the years, keeping Grace as part of our Christmas decorating every year. I think she would love this idea! It should also be a tangible way for her sisters to remember her as they pick out an ornament each year that reminds them of her. This year Mae picked out a pastel rainbow and Joy got a pink and purple guitar. They are perfect!

I got an email from a friend of a friend's friend a couple of days ago. She encouraged me by telling me about how Grace's story had effected her family even though we had never met. It's amazing to think of how the life of one little girl of 9 years old has touched so many others in the world. I can't wait to one day fully know the true impact of Grace. Beyond planet earth, impacting lives for eternity.