Bitter + Sweet

Dearest Audrey,

Today is a hard day. It’s cloudy and cool. The weather is changing, a new season is dawning. Proof that time is moving on and the world continues to turn. It’s like nature’s reminder that time cannot stand still and we are forced to keep going. Each week since you earned your wings has gone too quickly. I miss every single thing about you. Memories of you flash unexpectedly and stop me in my tracks. It’s so intensely bittersweet, I can almost taste it.

As the rain falls today I wonder if tears from Heaven might be real?

Do you know what you have done? Do you know that in your 81 days, you changed people’s lives?

Let me tell you just a few of the ways you impacted family, friends and even some who didn’t get the chance to meet you in person. Letters, notes and messages have come to me when I needed it most, sharing how you made a difference.

  • Your strength gave hope to two different families who have babies that are battling with severe health complications.
  • Your life inspired a mother to take nothing for granted. She spends more time rocking her baby and less time wishing the sleepless nights away.
  • Your smile stole the heart of one person who was feeling hopeless and anxious. 
  • Your story gave comfort to one couple who lost their daughter, knowing you earned your wings and have joined her up above.
  • You made Cooper a brother.

You did these things and so much more. You deserve the world, but I can’t give it to you. I would have done anything for you, baby. But what you have been given is more than anything your daddy or I could provide, you have Heaven. I may not be humming in your ear right now, instead angels are singing sweet lullabies. You may not be in your daddy’s arms, instead you are being rocked by Jesus. You aren’t smiling your gummy grin at Cooper, instead you are surrounded by many angel babies and children that have gone before you. These are the things I must remind myself when I taste more of the bitter and less of the sweet.

I sat at my desk this morning and started in on a Christmas design for work. I thought about Christmas. You experienced one…you were in my belly, remember? From my computer screen, I looked up and my eye caught a glimpse of the ornament we made with your handprint. I gently picked up this treasure more precious than gold and placed my hand over yours. I traced each inch of your tiny fingers. Suddenly, the glass felt too fragile. As carefully as I picked it up, I placed it back on the “A” hook that it calls home. Momentarily distracted, I simply sat, I tried to catch my breath. My hands; unwilling to move, all the creativity in me; lost.

I shook my head, took a deep breath in and told myself to get back to work. I did just that. The sweet part of work is that it gives me a sense of purpose. The bitter part is when I feel guilty for going too many seconds, minutes or hours without you in the forefront of my thoughts. It’s a process, but I’m getting better at it.

I’m still waiting for a dream of you. Praying for this gift. Put in a good word with the Big Guy, will you?

Audrey-girl, did I ever say thank you? Did I mumble or weep the words? If I could go back, I would say it every single day. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Know that my list of 1,000 gifts is full of so much of you, for you and because of you.

Keep waiting, baby girl.

Love & Hugs,

Mama

CELEBRATION OF LIFE VIDEO: AUGUST 25, 2014

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4 thoughts on “Bitter + Sweet

  1. My sweet sweet Rachel my heart aches for you. Cassie and I know all too well how much your whole body, heart and soul ache for Audrey. You can’t believe the world has the gall to move on without her. You try to understand why Audrey and yet you know you should just trust God. We are so abundantly blessed that he loves us so much to forgive us for yelling and questioning WHY LORD, WHY. He knows the loss, He knows the pain and He carries us through. There will be glimpses of normal here and there. You will find it is OK to smile and even laugh. You have to hold on to knowing that your Father in Heaven will keep sweet Audrey ever so close just for you until you enter His beautiful Heaven. God knew you were the exact parents and big brother that Audrey deserved. He blessed her with you….Love you all so much!

  2. My Dearest Rachel, my heart is aching with you today. It does so, often & without warning, just as you have explained previously, with regard to our precious angel baby Audrey. I am usually so moved by your written words, & can feel the tremendous weight of them upon your heart, upon your life, upon your whole being, that I cannot gather myself to always respond, or write comments. Sometimes by the time I think I’ll respond, I become concerned that I will reopen some pain that you have already addressed & dealt with, & God has given you healing & peace over.

    Today I want to tell you, as your momma, I ache, because ever since January 30 I have wanted to take your pain away. To carry it for you, to “fix it”, to “fix her”, to trade myself for her, to trade places with her NOW!! I would DO ANYTHING a mother would do to relive her own child from this unbearable aching, if only it were possible.

    I come back to the reality of the truth we know, we firmly believe in, & the foundation of what shapes us. We are only human, God did not design us to do the miracles that only He can do. We cannot understand His full plan for Audrey, & the impact of her life, & how He plans to use her for His good. He has grown you & Chris stronger & wiser. With compassion He increases the love & peace that fills your heart, slowly to heal the brokeness. He created you, He cares for you, He will continue to mold you & hold you. I am grateful He is able TO DO, what I can only yearn to do for you.

    How sweet the moments, the treasured days we had with her “here”. Yes, Heaven is brighter and lovelier because she is there. The promise of an eternity in Heaven, only grows more wonderful, & the hope of it, carries us forward on our journey.

    Sweet kisses & warm hugs to our Heavenly Baby!

  3. I look at the clock and am reminded one month ago from almost this exact moment I got a call from you. I got a call as you rushed to the hospital to pray. And that I did, I got on my knees by my bed and prayed. I cried and I prayed for Audrey. But God kept telling me to pray for you and Chris, so I did. It was heartbreaking to feel such a strong presence telling me its time to pray for you guys over her, but I did. I prayed for strength and for time.

    I’ve looked at these pictures a thousand times over the past three weeks, just stared not knowing where to start. How do I edit pictures of one of my best friend’s daughters passing? How do I capture this monumental moment in their life? Capture every moment I thought to myself with the camera in my hand. If it was me, what would I want to see? So I did, I took over 800 pictures, my battery died twice. So each night I would look at my collection, only to be able to go through about 50 a night without breaking down. Seeing the hurt, the loss, the weight on your shoulders as I stared at those pictures was gut wrenching. I feel as though I now know you on a deeper level. Your girl, your precious daughter… my heart aches for you as I type and the tears fall on the keyboard. What do I say to you each day when I see you? Do I bring her up? Do I let you feel that pain or on the other hand do I let you experience that joy of talking about your little girl? You my friend are stronger than I will ever be. I break for you, almost daily. I look at Lorelai and feel guilty that I get her and you only had your daughter for 81 days. Why am I special? So many questions. I look at her everyday and think of Audrey. The thoughts that run through my head, oh Rachel the thoughts. Your daughter gave me more purpose as a mom. Audrey taught me that to never take a moment granted with her. So I promise you Rach, I promise to love Lorelai HARD. To hold her tight at night and to teach her about bunnies.

    Keep going, it will get better, praying for you, thinking of you, are you okay? Nights are the hardest, etc. So many cliche sayings that I know you may tear your hair out if you hear them again. So here is my “saying to you” Cry, yell, get in a ball and just sob. Be honest with your heart Rachel and do what you need to do. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel ashamed, just be, be honest.

    Thank you for allowing me into your family, your pain, and your honesty that day. Thank you for trusting me with that task, it meant the world to me. I love you dear friend. I love you. I love your family, your spirit, and your honesty.

  4. Rachel,

    I can’t believe that it has been one month since Audrey has gone to be with Jesus. It does seem like just yesterday. I am praying for you today that even as your arms ache that God will be putting a new hope and excitement in your heart for the things to come. No momma should have to go through this but you have done this with such strength and courage.

    So many friends ask about Audrey and how you are doing and I always tell them that I am amazed at your openness and transparency and most of all your great strength.

    I thought of the story of Job this morning and how much he suffered and how much was taken from him. But he was not forgotten and God gave him a new season full of double blessing. This is my prayer for you. That this new season will be one of restoration and even greater blessing. That you will be given sweet gifts from above in this season. Love you so much!

    Job 42:11 And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

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