Tuesday, November 26, 2013

First birthday

Waking up today, I could scarcely believe that it has been one year since I lost a child.
     One year since one of the worst nightmares for a mother came true in my life.
          One year since I had to say goodbye to my second daughter, Abigaile Grace, far too soon after I said hello. I was sad and a little angry throughout the morning, that I was preparing to go scatter my daughter's ashes, instead of picking up first birthday cake that would soon be smeared all over her adorable little face, and blowing up balloons that would entertain and delight her. I couldn't help but remember back to the mornings of Isabel's and Josiah's first birthdays, and think how there were really no similarities between those experiences and this one.

Shock and disbelief still reign some of the time in my life, that I am in the position of being a mother who has experienced the death of an infant, but I can only keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, and continue to live my life in a way that will help others to remember hers, and to draw closer to the One who created each of us in the palm of His hand with a unique purpose in this life.

I wanted to do something special to commemorate Abbie, so we planned a mini family vacation this to honor and remember her.

The North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota has been a special place to Luke and me since before we were married. We have been up there about a half dozen or more times over the years, always staying in a different location, but always at some point during the trip, finding our way to the town of Grand Marais.

We chose to have Abbie cremated last year, and so far her cremains have lived in a wooden box on our dresser, that plays the song "Amazing Grace" when wound. But all along, I have known that I wanted to scatter her ashes in a few places that are special to our family, and Grand Marais is the first obvious choice.

Luke is the travel guru in our family, so he spent days researching the best cabin for us to stay in this particular trip, booked it, and made all the arrangements. Love having an organization nut in our family!

We arrived on Saturday in the afternoon, and the cabin was perfect for our needs. Luke and the kids enjoyed exploring on the rocky (and somewhat icy!) shoreline near our cabin. The first two nights, we experienced windstorms on Lake Superior that even the locals said were very strong. The massive waves crashing on the large boulders along the shore sounded like a constant thunderstorm rolling all night long. I found this an interesting parallel to the journey of grief I have been on this past year. Sometimes I feel as if the waves beating against me are relentless, and other times they abate long enough for me to take a breath, look out past the waves, and even see the beautiful sky and sunset off in the distance.

A song has really been speaking to me these past few months during worship at church:

"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" (Hillsong United)
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
This could not be more true in my life, in the past and especially now. In the deepest waters of my life, where I am close to drowning, is where I have experienced the real presence of Jesus the most. So I will continue to look to Him.

This morning, to close out our time at the North Shore, we took half of Abbie's ashes and went out to Artist's Point in Grand Marais, where there are large flat rocks to walk on to get closer to the water. Due to the windstorm causing waves to crash over these rocks the past few days, and the temperature hovering right around 15 degrees (VERY cold!) they were too icy to get very far out, but we managed to get out far enough to scatter her ashes into the water, in a place where we will visit many more times in the future. We now have one more reason to call Grand Marais a special place.

Abbie, I hope you are dancing and laughing today as the princess birthday girl in heaven. We miss you terribly and can't wait to see you again someday.
P.S. Isabel is insisting on being the first one to hug you when we get there. I hope that's OK - it will warm my heart to see my two daughters embracing. And mama can wait her turn, because once I get you in my arms again, I may not let go for a very long time! I love you, little girl. ~Mommy

1 comment:

  1. Wow. So Sweet. Thank you for sharing this stop on your journey.