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Capture Your Grief, Day 5: Memory

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The first thing that comes to mind when I think of our precious little Sephora is a butterfly.  When I arrived home from the hospital after Sephora’s birth, I was welcomed with a beautiful gift from my husband and a friend to honor Sephora.  A beautiful heart shaped garden full of Angel-wing Begonias and Blue Angel Hostas.  As more people became aware of her garden, we were showered with other meaningful plants to be added.  We watch Sephora’s Garden grow every year.

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As I stood over Sephora’s Garden and started to cry through the overwhelming amount of emotion that swallowed me up those first few months, I noticed a small yellow butterfly.  Seeing it float through the air so effortlessly and beautifully seemed to calm my spirit.  This spring, around the time of Sephora’s 1st birthday, butterflies were everywhere.  Each time I see a beautiful butterfly, I allow myself to stop, breathe, and calm myself to feel Sephora’s spirit surround and embrace me.

Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

My Sunshine From Heaven

It’s been three months since our beautiful, 3 pound 9 ounce, 16 inch, Sephora Angeline was born.  Tomorrow will mark the beginning of her third month in Heaven.  One of our friends made this beautiful picture for us, in remembrance of Sephora.  I was just talking to Chrissy, a friend from high school that I haven’t seen in years, last night about Sephora.  I tried to describe the way she looked, and it saddened me to realize that I had forgotten how big she actually was when I held her in my arms.  I sometimes wished I would have taken a little more time to inspect her and take all of her in.  I kept her wrapped so neatly in her blankets and cradled in my arms to keep her warm.  We unfortunately are still waiting for my pictures from the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” photographer, who so graciously came to my bedside to photograph Sephora from the time we went into the operating room, until an hour before she passed away so peacefully in my arms.  We are hoping to have those photos this week.  We are very excited to see them and eventually hang more of them throughout the house.  May your beautiful smile warm our hearts today Sephora, and may you be wrapped in the arms of the angels until the day I can cradle you in my arms again.

Song of Solomon 2:6,  says, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me.”

12 Weeks in Heaven Must Be Incredible

How does a person keep their eyes and motives set toward our final destination, rather than tomorrow?  I’ve come to realize I have a greater thirst for something the world just isn’t able to satisfy.  When a bad day clouds my emotions from what actually is, some type of symbol grabs my attention to prove to me, there is something greater than myself.  After discussing this with our life group, I see that I can focus my sights on Heaven because our little Sephora is there waiting for us!  I opened the closet where I keep all of Sephora’s little mementos, and for a brief second, I thought I saw her there.  That’s a small vision of what my heart wishes to see I suppose.  I squeezed the teddy bear that plays the sound of her heartbeat to remind myself that she is still with me.  The pendant I wear around my neck bares a part of her as well.

Sephora would have been 12 weeks old today.  At my job, I see many young children every day.  The children that I see that are around Sephora’s age, makes my heart skip a beat.  At the off chance that a baby would share her same birth day or birth month, makes me ache for her even more.  In most cases, I want to run up to these mothers and ask to hold their precious babies.  I would never let a random grieving mother that I didn’t know come anywhere near my child.  I do get to spend time with little ones at church, since I have been volunteering in the nursery.  Playing with those children for the brief hour that I see them helps to suppress my ache for Sephora and brings happiness to my soul.

Psalm 84:2-4
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
(NIV)

The Right Place At The Right Time

Yesterday was Sephora’s 2 month birthday.  I was a bit down, so I met one of my girlfriends for lunch and about an hour to just socialize, which was absolutely wonderful.  Before we left and went our separate ways, she handed me a white box wrapped in a pink tulle.  Inside was a little plaque with a butterfly on it that read, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”  A great reminder of Sephora’s wonderful story.  Although her life was short, she has changed the lives of many.  My friend also gave me a necklace with charms inside the box, with an Angel’s wing and Sephora’s name.  Kimberly has been so wonderful to Chris and me.  Everything she has given to us as a memento to and for Sephora, throughout our entire pregnancy and after Sephora was born, has been so powerful for us.  I wish I possessed the spiritual gift of discernment that she does.  She just understands in her own powerful way what could be soothing and comforting to us, and she gets it right every single time.

After lunch, I had a few hours to kill before I needed to be at work, so I headed to the mall.  Thanks to Memaw, (my maternal grandma), I had many gift cards left over from Christmas to do a little bit of shopping!  I usually don’t enjoy shopping for myself, but seeing as I was in a pretty great mood, I took advantage of it!  The last place I stopped was the bookstore.  I picked up Nicholas Sparks’ newest book, and continued to walk around the store.  I passed by and then walked through the section about pregnancy.  I was drawn to one of Anne Geddes photo books, so I grabbed it and walked to the farthest corner of the store so I could thumb through it in peace.  Anyway, a few minutes after that, a woman with 2 young kids and a sales clerk walked passed me, and headed for the farthest bookshelf in the whole store.  You’ll never believe which one that was…THE SECTION ABOUT GRIEF AND LOSS.  Me, being the nosey person I am, tried to eavesdrop to see what exactly they were looking for.  I heard the woman mention something about a child.  My heart started pounding, my face turned beat red, and I started to shake.  When they walked out of the aisle, I spoke up and asked if they were looking for books about the loss of a child.  The woman said her brother and sister-in-law had just lost a baby on May 1.  I began with my story…”I lost my baby 2 months ago today.”  I quickly called Chris to get the names of some of the books we’d read that we absolutely found helpful and gave the list to her.  We continued to talk for a bit, and she had shared that this baby had a horrible diagnosis of Trisomy 13.  “That’s what my baby had!”  I think we spoke for nearly an hour about our situations, how Chris and I are coping, and how she could help her brother and sister-in-law, (from my perspective).  I gave her my information and asked her to please share it with her family.  If there is one thing I’ve learned through this whole experience, is God puts people in our lives to help us cope, learn, laugh, cry, grieve, and walk through our experiences while helping each other grow all at the same time.  I was led to look through that book in the far corner of the store, not knowing I would meet Melissa, and guide her to a great spiritual based book to give to her sister-in-law.  I walked away with the satisfaction that I had been used by the same gracious God who has been carrying my husband and me to help another grieving family going through the same exact situaltion.  I hope this woman chooses to contact me.  It has been so important for us as a couple to walk through our pain with others that understand.

“In the same way, let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (International Standard Version @2008)