Thursday, November 22, 2012

Written in stone

So, I know its Thanksgiving and I'm probably supposed to write some kind of a post about that. I think we'll end up there-- I think. But thats not where we're starting.

Last Friday I was driving two crabby girls around in the back of my car waiting for them to either lighten up or fall asleep. I had 10 minutes to spare before I had to be someplace, so I stopped by my old "sure-fire waste 10 minutes" place-- the cemetery. I like to go at least once a week, mostly a few times. It had been a few days and I drove on in hoping I could escape the car a few minutes to visit Liv's patch of grass. Before I even pulled the car up I saw it and my breath caught in my chest and the hysterical tears began.

I hadn't been expecting it. They hadn't said that they would call when it came in, I just figured they would. But they didn't, and I couldn't pretend like I hadn't seen it. Thanksgiving to Christmas had been the time frame-- I guess it came a little early. Nevermind that they forgot to attach the vase...

After I finished my hysterics, a phone call to Brian and my mother, and a visit to Liv I really looked at the headstone. It seemed a bit plain, but then again, thats kind of our style. All the information is correct and I began to really focus on that sentence at the bottom. We really struggled for a while with what to add to the stone. We could have put the "you will be missed", "she was beautiful", "and angel among us" type sentence and none of that would really be wrong. But Brian and I thought that we would be the ones looking at it-- not Liv. We will always remember her silly, ornery attitude, that she was SO beautiful, and what her short life meant to us. We thought, though, there might be days-- either days or decades from when this stone arrived-- that we might be tempted to feel entitled, to wag our finger at God, or to be angry with Him that he shorted our family. We thought that lyric from Liv's song would remind us of what we really need to know when we visit her.

We needed to remember that the promises of God are certainly true all the time and are the ONLY thing we can really trust in in this life. He does not promise a happy, easy life obviously. But His promises are so much more expansive and long lasting. They are promises for the soul and not so much for the body. Those promises are what I am thankful for. Late at night when I'm thinking of Liv and the loss that we an incurred when she left, I have NOTHING else but the promises of God to hold onto. He is faithful-- all the time. It is against His nature to ever be contrary to that. There is so much consolation in His word-- not only consolation, but joy.

So, Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A "good" Livi day

I love my daughter and treasure so much the memories I have of her. But (much like our view of God) often the intensity of her spirit dims and the scope of her touch shrinks when I don't have others perceptions of her. Today I have been loaded up with the words of people who loved her-- not because they had to, but because they loved to love her. This surplus should last me for a while.

The way Olivia touched mine and Brian's life will never leave me. It will always be at the forefront when I think of her, which is often. But how she reached out and touched others without having good muscles or words to do it with is beyond me. I do understand that after someone dies its everyone's instinct to make them some sort of a "saint".  Olivia did have a nasty attitude from time to time and did plenty of "naughty" things-- don't get me wrong, but she was a very special girl who had the intense pleasure and incredible opportunity to connect with others.

Today I was reminded that hosts of people at Children's Mercy Hospital here in Kansas City, other patient families and especially staff were truly touched and honored to know my child. They all still remember her and tell stories of her sassy little attitude and determined spirit. I am SO proud to be her mother. After that very touching phone call with a CMH employee I got to turn in my volunteer form to CCVI (Children's Center for the Visually Impaired) where Liv attended preschool. It had been several weeks since I had walked into that building and honestly I was a little worried about how emotionally overwhelming it might be. There were a few small moments that I saw Liv so vividly in that building, but it was a beautiful array of memories and happy, not sad. Again, we were welcomed by everyone in the building who knew us. They wanted to say "hello" to Gabby, but also to hug us and remember all the things we both loved about Liv.

These people who have surrounded us for years, both at the hospital and the preschool, are part of what our family misses so much about missing Liv. They were family to us and spurred us on to care for our daughter well and to never, NEVER underestimate her. If someone did once, they never would twice, that is for sure. Thank you, if you are reading this as an employee of either facility. We dearly love you and miss you tons. Thanks for your care for Liv and our family, and especially thank you for keeping her memory alive--we are astonished and flattered.

And, just because I can't help it...

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 course meal

Here is the appetizer: I'm sorry. I've done it again. This time I sort of have an excuse. I honestly haven't been feeling well the past few weeks. I'm not a very good "rester" though and its difficult to say if "taking care of myself" doesn't feel just like lazy. The lines are blurry for me.

Since I last posted Brian has turned 30. We had a wonderful party with all of our friends to celebrate the man in my life that I am most proud of. Also, I am about 8 months younger than him, so I get to rub it in for a bit.

Gabby is NOT walking, though we are walking around the house holding just one of her hands now. She usually walks in a kind of circle when we do this, but its too cute to pass up.

The main course: You wanna hear one of my biggest problems? Its fall. Thats not the bad part, I love fall, but I think I love fall because its crazy busy. The bustle of the holidays starts earlier every year and now blends right into getting ready for school and Halloween. I LOVE football and all the outdoor activities you try and squeeze in before it gets really cold. My problem is I don't slow down. I don't stop and I don't think. Honestly, my attempts at quiet or thoughtful time lately (only when Gabs is napping) is full of making a list of things I haven't done yet. No lie. Its super depressing and super discouraging. I'm not writing this post because I found a solution. I 'm writing it because I haven't. Because every day I wake up with incredible intentions and fail them one after the other. I'm guessing you're not too different. Maybe we can work on that together?

Lord, I like to have a full calendar more than I like spending meaningful time with you. Please, help me!

The dessert: So even though Gabs isn't walking, don't mistake-- she is doing PLENTY of funny things. Here is a sweet treat.