It's Thursday. I usually do Thankful Thursday posts. I'm not going to lie. My heart is hurting today. A Thankful Thursday post is not top on my list right now. The beginning of the week was great. We had Ella's memorial on Sunday. It was beautiful. Hard, but beautiful. Our family was there and we had such a great time with them. I started working a bit (I work part time from home) and got up before the kids, got some house things done, just overall had a great few days.
Today is not one of those.
It's not the awful- just stay in bed- kind of day. Just the kind where, my heart hurts and the tears are always at the surface. 6 weeks ago... Will I ever stop counting?
Today I hurt. Tomorrow is a new day. So instead of a Thankful post, I want to share with you what I wrote and said at Ella's memorial.
(balloons we released at Ella's memorial, credit to my dear friend Marah)
“When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll…
Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”
I became a Christian at an early age. It feels like I’ve always lived my life with Christ as my center. I’ve had lots of ups and downs in my life and as most people do, I have clung closer to him during the hard times. It’s easy to live life knowing Christ is in control when life is good. But to have a baby and to know that she is going to die, is something that I never thought I’d experience and it’s so much harder to live for Christ in the hard. For years, I have sung the words to “It is well”. I have said “when sorrows like sea billows roll” but I can honestly say I’ve never thought about them or how the illustration is so very true. I can now sing those above words and know what it feels like to have sorrow and grief roll across my body in a way that is almost paralyzing.
Knowing Ella was sick and not going to live was so very hard, but it allowed us some great blessings. I stopped taking every little roll and kick for granted. I would lay in bed each night and again each morning and soak in the “time” I had with her. When she’d kick my right side like she always did, I’d tell her “good job, baby girl, you are strong”. Shane would spend more time feeling her move. Every day she was inside me was another day we had with her and I loved that.
We were given the gift of preparing. So many people don’t have that opportunity when they lose a loved one. We talked over what we wanted for her life, no matter how short it would be. We were able to begin grieving and to begin to prepare our kids that their sister wouldn’t be coming home with us. We began to talk about how we wanted to honor her life. From the very beginning Shane shared that he wanted God to be glorified in her life and death and that he wanted our family to grow even closer, and stronger from this experience. We talked about what that looked like for us. Even in the hard, we shared our feelings and thoughts and I loved that too.
From the time we heard that Ella had Trisomy 13, my only prayer was that I’d get to hold her alive. I just wanted “time” with my baby girl. I know that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the ways we want, but we had two great hours with our little girl. She cried. She opened her eyes for us. She even pooped on me! :) I am forever grateful to Him for those gifts and for hearing our prayers.
I was so worried that when we had Ella, I’d be so sad that I wouldn’t get to enjoy her. Again, the Lord showed His grace and love by blessing us with a peaceful day and a beautiful birth. Loving doctors, midwives, and nurses surrounded us. Ella was born quickly and she cried immediately, bringing a smile to both her daddy and I. She was placed right on my chest and that’s where she stayed her whole life. She was warm and loved. We told her everything we wanted to say. We sang to her, held her hands, kissed her, and loved on her. She KNEW she was important to us. I read Psalm 139 to her.
God, you created Ella’s inmost being;
You knit her together in my womb.
We praise you because she is fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
We know that full well.
Her frame was not hidden from you when she was made in the secret place.
When she was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw her unformed body.
All the days you ordained for her were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139: 13-16
I miss Ella. I miss her kicks and tugs in my belly. I miss her sweet brown curls. I miss her small hands and the smell of baby powder on her skin. I miss all of the things I won’t get to have with her. I miss not being able to bring her home to Grace and Graham. I miss seeing them kiss and love on her. I miss the snuggles we would have given her and she would have given us. All of the life experiences that we have with our first two that we won’t have with her- I’ll miss those too.
As hard as it hurts to not have her here, I know that Ella is in heaven. She was not created by accident. God knew exactly what he was doing as He made her and He knew her days. I know that God has healed her. She has no pain. She has no suffering. I’ll see her again someday and I cannot wait.
I know that God will be glorified in Ella’s life. He already has. Even if just from me- my faith now knows what it’s like to walk in the desert and valley with pain and sorrow and to be held by a loving merciful God and I can sing and know what it feels like to have “peace” as well. And all the while I know that it is well with my soul. Not because I “feel” a certain way but because I am given the assurance that neither life nor death can separate me from the love of God because he gave up his own child for me so that I can have life forever. I give him all the glory for each and every blessing in my life, including the hard ones.
My sweet little girl and her daddy