These Lines

I saw a baby girl just the other day.  She looked identical to her mama who was making silly faces while holding this precious girl on her hip. I noticed her toes, of all things. They were painted raspberry…a not-quite-red-not-quite-magenta color. For a second I wondered how it was humanly possibly to pull that off. How does someone get a baby to hold still long enough to dip the brush and paint each tiny toenail? Then I thought, “Of course, silly…while she is sleeping.” Almost instantly all the breath in my lungs attempted to escape and I couldn’t seem to catch it in time. The line at Target moved too slow as I desperately fought back that all-too-familiar feeling of despair. Those little raspberry toes made my heart hurt.

I should have painted her toes.

There are days it is just plain hard to feel. It’s easier to shut down, hide and pray to God for a new day. The new day may be brighter and clearer, but sometimes the new day is darker than the one before.

“Embrace the place you are in.”

Last week, Christine Caine said these powerful words to a small room full of 150 people craving wisdom and hope. As I looked around the room briefly, I wondered what “place” each person was in at that moment. Most people nodded their heads in agreement as those six words dripped like honey and coated the room with her charming Australian accent. A few, however, looked down or closed their eyes. Embracing this place means accepting it, owning it, to stop wishing for the past or the future…instead to be still.

I’m guilty of reliving days and moments in my mind over and over instead of making the most of the day ahead of me. I’m guilty, also, of wanting whatever may be next to just reveal itself. Whatever Audrey’s life was/is preparing us for, let’s just get on with it. I wouldn’t say I’m living in fear, but I can’t help but think that her story was a means of preparing me for something even harder. Why else would such a tolerance to heartache be needed? Quiet aside: I’m keenly aware of how “glass half empty” that sounds.

Early in my twenties, I decided I couldn’t wait to be 30. I had this strange infatuation with turning the big 3-0. I’ve always felt young, like the baby of the group. Perhaps turning 30 would finally gain me some credibility. In my mind, 30 basically came wrapped in a white picket fence. I turned 30 with baby Audrey in my belly, just a few weeks after learning of her health concerns. There’s no denying that this ripe, old age of 30 has come with a serious dose of reality. In some ways I feel like I’ve aged many, many years. My face is lined with new crevasses. These lines act as a map of this life. Quite appropriate isn’t it? With life experience comes a visible trace of where you’ve been.

Life lesson #1,793: I wished so badly to be 30. Instead of embracing the place that I was in, I wanted life to move more quickly. Result? I made it to 30 and at times look back and think, “Why did I rush the most simple times in my life?”

Let time stand still. Be brave and take a deep breath. This is what I will tell Cooper when he can’t wait to be 16 and drive, or when he is itching to move out and go to college. “Embrace this place, my boy.”

Our family is once again in a hard place. Chris’ father has been in an accident, he was hit by a car while walking across a street in Stillwater last weekend. He is stable and in good hands. He has been tough through it all. Chris has been a pillar of strength for his father, mother and sister. Mary and Carrie are so compassionate and gentle, it is hard to see the pain in their faces as they lovingly hold his hand or peck his cheek, aching for him. Life is so incredibly precious and here we are, reminded that each day is a gift.

Have you said it lately? Have you told them how much you love them? Have you mentioned how much they mean to you?

Many thanks to you for continuing to read, support and love. Some days I feel like it’s time to “get over it already”, other days I feel enraged by the whole of it and simply functioning like a normal human being feels challenging. That’s just the honest truth. There’s no point in hiding it now. Thank you for just being there, on the other side of your screen, caring. Wings for Audrey is taking shape because of so many Audrey lovers, each of these donors is proof that her life holds meaning.

Stillwater Newspress graciously included an article on their website today, click to read & share:

Love & Hugs,

10 thoughts on “These Lines

  1. Rachel that was an amazing piece in the News Press. We will probably never realize all of the lives and hearts that Audrey touched and changed AND will continue to touch and change. Such a powerful warrior for God’s army of works.

    Feel everything Rachel. Don’t feel that you can’t. Going through these ups and downs of desperate pain and sorrow are healing paths. Sometimes we look at it like we must show we are strong, we have it together, that we are over it. That’s bull! We learn to function in a new norm but we will never be the same. How could we be after having someone so amazingly precious in our lives. You don’t have to go through these paths on your own. God has carried others through loss to help carry you. Cassie really wants to spend time with you. You guys are close. Just remember we love you all.

    • Rach,
      Never feel like you need to “just get over it.” I realize that I have absolutely NO idea what you and Chris are experiencing each day, and I will not pretend that I do. From talking to my mom and dad about the loss of Lauren my sister, I have a very faint idea of the agony and pain that they experienced when they lost her at just 4 months old. Even to this day, my mom might get choked up talking of Lauren, but the subject is never avoided. Lauren’s story lives on. And even though its been over 30 years since she has been gone, my mom will still sometimes get tears in her eyes when she tells a story about her. That being said, I do not think you will ever get over sweet Audrey, but I think that is how it is supposed to be. I believe she will be the fire that keeps your faith alive when you begin to doubt. I believe that she will be the one that reminds you of God’s faithfulness and goodness when you are in a season of drought. I believe that she will be the one that gives you the ability to strengthen a heartbroken mother that has just lost her baby. I do believe that one day the pain will not be as heart-wrenching, as raw and deep. I believe that God will grant you peace and rest, and as Ecclesiastes 3 puts it, there is a season for everything:

      There is a time for everything,
      and a season for every activity under the heavens:

      2 a time to be born and a time to die,
      a time to plant and a time to uproot,
      3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
      a time to tear down and a time to build,
      4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
      a time to mourn and a time to dance,
      5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
      a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
      6 a time to search and a time to give up,
      a time to keep and a time to throw away,
      7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
      a time to be silent and a time to speak,
      8 a time to love and a time to hate,
      a time for war and a time for peace.

      You are in a season of mourning Rachel, a season of weeping. I believe that God WILL bring you to a season of healing, laughing, and dancing. For now though, as you said, “be still” and know that he is God. I love you dearly.


  2. It was so nice running into you at the coffe shop. I have been so moved by your strength over the last months. Words seem so insignificant but please know that Audrey’s story has touched the life of so many. God Bless you and your family.

  3. Oh there are hundreds who care dear Rachel! And there would be hundreds more who would care if they knew Audreys story! And that is what makes life worth living! There’s definitely more good than bad!! Loved the article in the paper this morning! It will recruit more “carers” who didn’t know!

  4. Dearest Rachel~ As trite as it may sound, you are exactly where you are suppose to be. There is no feeling that is not okay and there is no timeline to healing. You will love, miss, regret, cherish, laugh and cry, I would guess, the rest of forever when you think of your precious daughter, or see things that remind you of her. The life and loss of little Audrey is something that most of us could never, ever, imagine. My heart breaks for you. Be you, be honest, just be… You will be loved and cared for always~ Great big hugs, Cynthia

  5. Rache, you continue to inspire and spread the love of Audrey. You and Audrey are touching lives that you will never know. You continue to be loved always.

  6. I can’t even process how hard each day is and the moments that catch you when you least expect it. But I truly love reading and hearing how you are and what I can keep praying for you to help my sweet friend and her family. So no never ever do you need to just get on with it and stop writing because what you share with us in real life and raw feelings. And above all you remind me daily how amazing our GOD is and how I truly want to have a faith just like yours. Love you so much! Saying prayers for Chris’s dad and all of you!

  7. You are a very strong woman and mother and I have loved and cried reading your story. You have written it so well and although I don’t know you or your Baby Audrey I pray for comfort for you and your precious family.

  8. Good to see you today Rachel!! Love reading your updates on how you are doing and how God is holding you up. God bless!!

    Susie Condict

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