Friday, December 27, 2013

Five years.........

Written Dec 20, 2013 10:24am
Five Years……………

In the early morning hours, I was reflecting back on this very day, five years ago when we gathered together to share our sweet goodbyes with you.  Some of the memories are so very vivid, and some, not so much. Perhaps that is God’s way of protecting us – by filtering out the things we need not hold on to when losing someone we love so very much.

For the past few days, my heart has been on an emotional roller coaster ride.  Filled with a plethora of emotions – from bittersweet to sad, from confused to questioning, from joy and thankfulness and from smiles to tears - but never anger or bitterness. For the love that you shared with each of us in your short 17 years here has been a blessing beyond measure. There are those who had the honor and privilege of knowing you and who have been deeply touched by your life, and yet there those who are virtual strangers who share your story, support our efforts in honoring your memory and love you just as if they were a part of your everyday life.

Your life, the life you so graciously shared with us, taught us each how to live.  Your faith was unparalleled your strength unmatchable. Your courageous, never wavering belief in the gift that God has offered to each of us is the reason I am able to live each and every day here on this earth without you.  You taught me that Emily.  You showed me the way.  How can I ever repay or say thank you adequately enough to express the significance of that gift you gave to me?
So, in the early morning hours as I lay awake trying to decide how to celebrate today – yes, celebrate, for surely that is what you are doing today.  So unimaginable so unfathomable to try and reflect on what today is like for you and for all of those with you, but I trust it is tailor made especially for you.  The mystery of heaven and all it holds is something that preoccupies my thoughts daily. Oh to have a glimpse…..

I wanted to go bold – go big – change the world with my actions today.  But after much prayer and reflection on you and your life, I realized your impact on each of us was done in a very small, but very loving, and deliberate way.  You passed that along to each of us in a way that was tailor made for each of us.  In a quiet and often unassuming way, you spread the light and the love to us when none of us really realized that is what you were doing.  It was what made you – you. 
Those of you who are reading this probably remember me saying that Mark often addressed notes and emails to Emily as “MLE”.  Since her passing the acronym “MLE” has come to be known as “Make Leukemia Extinct” for Emily.  Today, on this special and significant day, I want to change the meaning to “Make Life Extraordinary” in remembrance and honor of Emily.  As you go about your day, choose to “MLE” for those around you. Open the door for someone, smile at a stranger, be kind, compassionate and considerate to those you meet for you truly don’t know what their circumstances are, despite what they outwardly reflect to you.   Be patient and understanding.  Smile and laugh,for I can still hear Emily’s contagious laughter and see her radiant smile when I close my eyes.  Be silly.  Wear your purple.  Wear your purple wrist band and share her story if someone asks about your bracelet. Read Deuteronomy 31:8 and believe it.  Be a vessel and share like she did.   Make a profound impact by doing the little things. 

Pay it forward.  And when this day ends, remember all that she shared with us and taught us.  Choose to live your life each and every day as she did hers.  When 2014 rolls around let’s all MLE “MakeLeukemia Extinct” for Emily and all the other children who are undergoing treatment and for those yet to be diagnosed. In the new year approaching us let’s make finding a cure for pediatric cancer possible.  Pay it forward.  Do your part.
My sweet Emily, thank you for loving me, for showing me the way, the light and the truth.  For showing me where to turn when things are dark and lonely.  For showing me how to trust the things I don’t completely understand and to believe in the things I can’t see, but know they are real and true.  I don’t exactly know how I can ever repay you for being the vessel for me, but I do know that the day will come when I will once again be face to face with you and that is the greatest gift of all.

I love you, Emily.

Merry Christmas to each of you my family, my friends!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

it's a brand new year.....

it's the brink of a new year..........a new beginning, a new start, another year.....
i am on the verge of a milestone birthday..........
i am anxious, I am unsettled, i am at unrest.

today, i agreed to take my sweet son, brendan and two of his friends to the mall.
i don't really like malls.........i tend to frequent the smaller, marshalls, homegoods....
yet, today, i said "yes" and we ventured out.

we ended up not far from the house that i last called "home".  it was a sweet home......a home stocked full of memories and treasures..........and a reminder of things that used to be.

don't misunderstand, that last comment.........for i am truly happy and content and full of joy where i currently reside - it's just that the other home....the one before this one......was when i felt more "intact".

you see, *that* home was actually the home that we moved into precisely on the 5th birthday of miss emily.  we joked and we shared with her, "you got a new home for your 5th birthday"........and you know?  that was all well and good and "enough" for her.  there were memories made, milestones met and it was a home that was full of love and loved in return.

as we left the mall today, with friends that didn't know us "then", my son requested that we drive by our "old" home.  he was not yet 8 years old when we said goodbye to that home, yet it is the one he remembers today and shares with me memories from time to time.

as we drove down the street, i was filled with a plethora of memories.  the bus stop on the corner where both of my children started kindergarten.....the cul-de-sac where both my kids learned to ride their bikes and was a gathering place for many of the neighborhood kids.....the "house" that was made a "home".

we were pleased to see that the neighbors on one side of us were still there.........and we shared a few moments with them.......reminiscing, talking about how grown up our kids are.....and how emily is no longer with was a bittersweet moment...........

and then, we went next door.  to the house we called home for awhile........and reintroduced ourselves to the sweet family that now reside in our former home..........and it was a refreshing, renewing, and reassuring.....that they love the house as much as we did.  that they are making memories and savoring moments, just as we did.  and they mentioned that they had heard about my sweet daughter, and while they didn't have the honor and privilege of knowing her.......that everything they had heard and read is a true testiment of just how special she was.......she is...............

they let me go inside the house.  and it was a tug at the heartstrings with memories of "what used to be"......and reminders of what no longer is.    but, just like my life, their life is filled with the love of children, the love of their home, the love of friends and family and even pets..........and it is all a part of what we all call "life".............and it is reminder of all the blessings that we are all given - though we are all so undeserving.  and yet, there "He" is ....... showering His grace, His love, His hope...............

my hope and my prayer for each of you is a new year filled with an abundance of hope.......of love and of life.......that we seek Him first.......and that we put Him before all...........and with that.........we will all be showered with the grace that only He gave give.

happy 2012 to all of you......................

with all my love!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

random thoughts that keep me restless.........

Another Labor Day weekend at Ocean Isle has come and gone without you, Miss Emily. It was a picture perfect weekend and as always, my thoughts were of you and the memories that we made and shared at our favorite beach. I smiled thinking back on all the family moments, but I smiled even more inside remembering all of those afternoons when everyone else had had too much sun and retreated in doors, leaving you and I alone sitting together watching that enormous ocean and soaking in the moments that are now even more of a treasure for me. Sharing those moments between mother and daughter that I miss more than there are words to express.

It was "our" was a mother and daughter sharing our hearts openly and oh my goodness your laughter that warmed my heart and melted me and I fell in love with you all over again. As I sat there this weekend, I remembered that late afternoon when you and I were lying on a blanket and we witnessed such a beautiful and sweet wedding just a few feet from where we were laying. A beautiful young woman dressed in jeans and a white spaghetti-strapped tank and boots. And her groom, just as simply dressed in jeans and white shirt. Together, along with one sole minister, and before God, they faced one another and pledged their love for each other. And there you and I were, sandy, salty, sticky, and suntan-lotion lathered watching it as if it were on the big screen of a romantic movie. They each picked up a handful of sand and placed it into a bottle, symbolic of their new life together. Truly, it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever seen. You commented that you couldn't wait to one day find your Prince Charming and that, you too, planned on being married on that very beach where I sat this weekend.

Oh the plans and the hopes and the dreams that you talked of. Graduating high school in just one year and going on to college. Following your heart and relying on guidance from The One that has been within your heart from such a young age. You had the world at your feet and your enthusiasm for life truly took my breath away.

Last night as I laid in bed my heart and my head just couldn't get insync. I know where you are. I know you are wanting nor needing absolutely nothing and it is pure and constant joy for you. And that, my sweet girl, makes me so happy and so peaceful.........but head and my heart begin this battle that rages and tears me inside out. You don't need me anymore. All of the things that you once relied upon me for and the things that only I could make right and fix - the things that I could kiss away, or lend an ear or shoulder for........they, like you, are gone. For 17 years I was that person in your life..........and now I'm not. I want to be your mother again and I want to be needed by you again and it's simply not possible. That rips my heart to the very core. Those are the struggles that I am trying to overcome today. I know you're safe....I know you're in the place that I have absolutely no worries - but oh how I miss being your Mom.

I miss your sweet smile, your beauty, your zest for life and the way you could always make everything all right when it all seemed so wrong. You were that person in our family. The one that would crack a joke when things were too serious. The one that brought everything back into perspective. The one that taught us what truly mattered. I miss you setting me straight when I forget those things. I miss your beautiful blue eyes and your contagious laugh. The way I could be so stressed one minute and you'd come in and turn it all around. I miss you coming down in the morning for school in the dead of winter with your northface jacket, holey jeans and rainbows!!! I miss how your car was your closet.........and as you are running out the door for school I ask where your jacket, shoes, sweatshirt......whatever you don't have on you but need, and hear you reply "they are in my car, worries". I miss how you'd call me the very minute you landed in the student parking lot and leave a message on my voicemail at work that I would find when I got into the office. I miss that at precisely 2:15, my office phone would ring and you would fill me in on your day and tell me you were off to cheerleading practice. And, then, you'd call again when you were leaving for home. I miss the post it notes I'd find on my steering column telling me how much God loved me..........and how beautiful I was.......when all I felt was so unworthy. Mature and wise beyond your years. An old soul that loved so unconditionally.

I miss you............everything about you. And I am lost without you here. I pray every night for a glimpse of you in my dreams.......I long for that. Just for a minute, ok?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

forever changed..............

The past couple of days, I've been "composing" the random thoughts that seem to be constantly taunting me inside of my head and have yet attempted to express them in writing....until now. It's been a very difficult few days and my emotions seems to be right on the brink of eruption - with the tears coming all too quickly. Since I am the only follower of this blog.........I decided to put these random thoughts down on paper with the hope that when I am in the right frame of mind, I'll edit them into something more concrete - something more palatable. But for now - I am throwing caution into the wind and consider yourself forewarned if you happen to stumble upon this page.

On June 10th 1991, my life was "forever changed". It was on that day that I was given one of the most precious gifts that anyone could ever be given. A baby girl. And not just any baby girl - but exactly what I had "ordered", what I had prayed for. All 8.8 lbs of her came into this world with all ten fingers and all ten toes. In addition, she also had the blue eyes and blonde hair that I had dreamt of. She was perfect - absolutely beyond perfect.

Fast forward -------------> December 20th 2008, and my life was once more forever changed. That beautiful, vivacious, wonderful young woman left this world ........... and just as I was 17 years earlier when she took her first breath, I was with her and holding her when she took her very last breath. It truly was an honor and a privilege to be that person..........