Another lesson in gratitude…

•February 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

Today I am uber thankful for God’s blessings in my life, most recently Carly Marie Dudley of Christian’s Beach http://namesinthesand.blogspot.com.  Her work is ingenious, a vision birthed from the stillbirth of her own son Christian.  I can’t help but smile today, the way God has blessed Carly to bless the lives of so many others.  One more way to see joy through the tribulation… thank you so much for this Lily image Carly!

Ashes to ashes…

•January 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

To look fear in the face, just leave it to Alex.  Ashes are simply that… ashes, nothing to fear, right?  Well, I’ve never seen the ash remains of a dead person, up until recently that is.  “What’s this Mama?”  [Insert crickets chirping…]

I’m actually not an ash hoarder, had no intention of hanging onto Lily’s box for so long.  But now Alex’s curiosity is begging me to open that box.  Just how exactly does one explain ashes to a 4-year old again… baby into fire into ash?  Uggg, she’s so not going to get this and I so don’t want to open this!  Dad!!!

For once I find myself thankful for Alex’ short attention span.  No she didn’t get it but that didn’t stop her from taking ownership of Lily, moving the ashes to her room for “safekeeping.”

Nine months later and the question remains what to do with her ashes… a lily garden perhaps?

Letter to Lily_January 25th

•January 26, 2012 • 1 Comment

Seriously, sometimes you just have to laugh!  “Mom, can I take Lily’s ashes for show & tell?”  Alex is so proud of you Lily, as I am, hope you know that. 

Did you know Alexandra named you?  Well, she actually named you Lily Snowflake Lambert, but Dad and I spared you the Snowflake part.  The middle name Rose came about much later, though it was our original thought.  Other names got tossed around by family … Lily Kate Lambert, Lily Grace Lambert… yet silently I kept going back to Lily Rose.  Funny how that is, intuition maybe?  The day the screen went black is the day you were named.  Sometimes my mind takes me back to that day, the poor sonographer turning on the equipment to begin measuring your head and body.  All I could say was, “Please go to her heart, just go to her heart.”  I knew, Lily, just knew you were already in Heaven.  No beating heart, the off click of the equipment, a black screen before me, and a husband’s loving arms, that’s what I remember.

So I call your Great Aunt Susie to tell her the sad news and she asks me, “What middle name did you and Mike finally decide on for Lily?”  I told her we hadn’t, that Lily Rose was my choice but I didn’t want to rock the family boat.  “Lily Rose is perfect, Angie!”  And here, Sweet Lily, is the beautiful part of your story…

Aunt Susie has traveled the world as a flight attendant, that much I knew.  What I didn’t know (and doesn’t surprise me given her incredibly benevolent spirit) was that on occasion she visits cemeteries during layovers, a place of tranquility perhaps?  Anyway, it was on one of these visits years ago that she came across a small headstone in memory of a little girl named Lily Rose… Budded on Earth to Bloom in Heaven it read.  Strangely fitting and tender…  and I can’t help but wonder if you’ve met this little girl yet?

A name, Lily Rose Lambert, yet another gift from God.  Goodnight little one, I love you.

Mom

Wishing I had all the answers…

•January 25, 2012 • 1 Comment

I don’t.  And I realize what an understatement this is as I tuck Alex into bed… “Mom, how did Jesus get up on that cross?  Why is God so bright like the sun?  He loves the little children, right?  Are there toys in Heaven?  Are there trees I can climb There, trees with swings?  Oh Mom, I don’t want to go to Heaven old, I won’t be able to climb those trees.  But I don’t want to die little like Lily either.  I wish Lily were here, wish I had a baby sister to hold.  When am I getting one?”

A month ago her mind and these incessant questions would have exhausted me, especially given how ignorant they make me feel.  I mean, I’m supposed to be smarter than my 4-year old, the all-knowing go-to person when nobody else has the patience to listen, right?   I recently finished a book, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, an incredibly poignant memoir about finding joy by embracing gratitude.  What a blessing to have a daughter so curious about life, to see planted seeds grow!  (This might just be the first entry in my gratitude journal.)

Finding joy after loss is so difficult, and how quickly I’ve forgotten those around me might still be hurting, especially little Alex.  It breaks my heart she may never get to play the role of big sister; we had practiced for this… the holding, the feeding, the singing of lullabies.  No sweetie, I don’t have all the answers, but this is why I pray and why you and I have started naming and thanking God for his blessings, a few a day, so that our sorrowful voids may be filled with joy.  Yes, I am daring myself to live fully, right here and now, letting go of past regrets and the worries of tomorrow.

Trust in God… think I might just have to order me a bracelet with this engraved, a tangible reminder of His will for my life.

Letter to Lily_November 24

•November 24, 2011 • 2 Comments

Dear Lily,

May you know today how thankful I am for my time with you!  My heart is a little lighter than when I last wrote, my memories of you beautifully tender.  There is something very freeing it letting go a bit, focusing on progress versus perfection in this grieving process.  I’m finding that the more I give thanks for my life as it is, the more I can accept the healing that allows me to change and grow.  All this to say, Mom is in a much better place these days.

Never have I felt closer to you than on my walks at the beach recently.  So much love, so many prayers sent up to you, could you feel me?  I so wished you could have been there, riding along in my baby backpack and watching the sun rise.  It’s images like this that make me smile and able to face today’s challenges, knowing God has my tomorrow.

You are missed and loved and certainly not forgotten… goodnight Lily Rose.

Mom

Touched by a stranger…

•September 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Across the pool I see a mom playing with her baby girl, not that this is unusual, but she has the most amazing smile I’ve ever seen!  And she keeps on smiling, to everyone!  I think to myself, I’d like to be that happy, to let go of this sadness weighing me down.  About an hour later I find myself in the hot tub with this same woman and her baby girl, smiling of course.  After about 15 minutes, she comes over to me and says, “I’m sorry I keep staring at you, but I just have to tell you how beautiful I think you are.”  Choking back my tears, I barely uttered the words, “Thank you, you just made my decade.”  You see, I’ve been feeling nothing but ugly since Lily’s passing, ugly physically, ugly mentally, ugliness all around.  All it took was a kind word from a stranger to help me shift my focus, to appreciate those things and people in life that bring a smile to my face.

Thank you Lord for kind people, those who don’t think twice about making someone else’s day.  Thank you for my health, my family, our home, our provisions, my job, my faith.  Within me I have the power to choose, and today I’m choosing happiness!

A lesson in matrimony…

•September 19, 2011 • 1 Comment

Wifedom doesn’t come easy for me (read as, my husband is so much better at this matrimony thing!).  In fact, I recently discovered I’ve got this whole parent/wife thing backwards!  According to Gary & Ann Marie Ezzo’s Growing Kids God’s Way, children should simply be extensions of a family, not the family.  (I know, what kind of mother puts her kid(s) before her husband, right?  Then let this blog serve as a confessional… I do!)  And I would think the same would hold true for the death of a child, that my husband should still rank #1 on my priority list, right?  Oh how I’m failing!

One of my nursing friends was recently talking with a patient, a 94-year old woman married 66 years prior to her husband’s passing.  When my friend asked her what the secret to marriage was, the woman sighed and smiled, “We never fell out of love at the same time.”  Now, I might be the only person on the planet to see truth in this, but her reply is how I’ve felt on several occasions since Lily’s death.  But herein lies a beautiful truth… my husband still loves me and continues to pour support, forgiveness, patience & humor into our marriage despite my being a sourpuss some days. 

My lesson in matrimony — There is so much joy that surfaces when I appreciate what God has given me… namely life, grace, forgiveness… but also my husband!   May I remember today that my life impacts others, that words are very powerful, to choose them carefully.  Thank you God for do-overs!