On September 20,2012 I posted this about our dear friends in Ontario who were facing the diagnosis of leukemia for their precious Emma Grace.
Yesterday, May 20,2013, Emma received complete and total healing as she flew straight into the arms of Jesus.
My earthly, motherly heart cannot comprehend the depths of despair that her mom is feeling.
My soul bursts with grief and mourning for this family.
In my present condition~human,fleshly, selfish and needy~all that I know is I have all 4 of my children here with me but my friend is feeling the ache of empty arms for not one, but now two precious daughters. I weep.
It was 16 years ago that we first found out that Michelle was carrying another precious bundle after only a few months earlier experiencing the devastating premature delivery of Claire. I sat in that mournful sanctuary on that day in October 1996 and saw that tiny casket and wondered how God could possibly redeem this. And yet, He did. Were it not for that horrible loss, Emma would not have been conceived under impossible circumstances.
I visited Michelle in hospital that summer. Bed rest for months while summer heat and life continued outside those walls. We laughed as she shifted in her bed, unable to get up at all for fear of losing this precious life. There were a few times when it seemed like maybe the odds were stacked against her. We prayed. We hoped. We rallied around this young family. And when the first anniversary passed of baby Claire’s passing and the due date drew near, there was that tension of grief and anticipation. How does a mother both mourn the loss of one baby and rejoice at the life within her? A sacrifice of one for another? I was a young mother too and I always marveled at her ability to remain steadfast in grace and hope and the victory of each day. Perhaps that is why, on October 17, 1997 when that baby screamed out her first cries it was the only word that seemed remotely appropriate: Grace. And so they named her….Emma Grace.
Borrowed from Heaven. Not fair. Not fair at all. Rage and grief. Anger and suffering. Pain and weeping. Why does God only give us a taste and not the whole meal? Why?
So few answers.
Thankful for this family to have had 15 and a half years of Grace. But so sad that there aren’t 15 more yet to come.
Today I’m planting flowers. It’s time. It’s warm and I have these empty beds that need to be filled.
And in 3 months all we will have will be the leftovers of what was. We plant knowing that death will come. We make beauty in the moment knowing that it is temporary. It is this temporary season that brings us eternal joy. We give colour and life and beauty to THIS day knowing that hail, storms, pests, drought could wipe it all out in the blink of an eye. We plant in hope. We plant for a season. We know that winter will come again and steal it all away.
And yet, I love to feel the earth and let God use me to bring a little beauty to my neighbourhood for such a short time.
That is what the Stewarts have done. They have allowed God to use them to show us some beauty for a little while. They partnered with the Heavenly Gardner to sow a seed that became a flower that grew and then wilted and fell back into the earth.
We grieve. We mourn. We plant. We water. We cry. We pray. We hope. We live. We wilt and then we die. And so for today…let us live and be beautiful wherever we are planted.
This is the rhythm of sowing and reaping. This is the song of grief and mourning.
Zach died yesterday too. He is teaching a lot of people about living in this moment.
Follow up post: What to Say when Someone Dies…