Lately

I have been so bad at regularly updating the blog these past few months! I have several posts written in my head that I really want to type out but I just cannot find the time to do it. Part of me feels guilty about this since I used to be so consistent with my blogging, but part of me also feels relieved that there have been no big tragedies in my life lately to blog about. I am busy with life, regular life with my three earth babies, and it is wonderful. I still feel like I’m trying to reintegrate back into “normal” life, except that it is a new normal. I still struggle with the fact that I will never be the person I was before anti-kell antibodies and before my daughter died. This adjustment to my new life feels very similar to when I move to a new country. It’s disorienting at first trying to understand a new culture, learn a new language, figure out a new transportation system, make new friends, find your way around a new city, etc. I’ve realized that it takes me at least a whole year in a new country to start feeling like I’m not just a visitor anymore, like I belong. I still feel like I don’t quite belong here even though she died three and a half years ago.

For the rest of my time here on earth my life will be divided into two parts…no, not even two parts, two completely different lives. There was my life before Lucy and there is my life after Lucy. It feels like I am just now figuring out how to make this new life work. I am feeling more confident finding my way around this new country. The culture shock is not as terrible now, but it still jolts me some days. Often, the cloud of sadness settles on me and overtakes everything. I can’t believe I’m missing her whole life. I can’t believe I have to actually go through the rest of my life not knowing my daughter, not interacting with her on a daily basis. Most of the time, though, I just feel thankful. I’m thankful for all that God has done for me. I’m thankful for the many ways He continually fulfills His promise to me that He made on the day Lucy died. He said He would redeem her death and my pain, and He is slowly doing that, day by day (this is one of the blog posts I need to write!)

I started working part time again teaching English to German families and I love it. It is so rewarding and fulfilling for me and the extra income is desperately needed. We finished paying off all of Nora’s medical bills, but we still have our credit card bill to pay off. Normally we don’t use our credit card at all unless there is an emergency but after we lost all of our savings on the “adoption” and I moved to Houston last year we had to use it on a regular basis. Hopefully we can now pay it off over the next year.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the fact that if I didn’t have anti-kell antibodies, we would have already been trying again for our next baby. We would have to get pregnant this month or next month if we wanted Nora to have a sibling two years younger than her. It hurts me to see Liam and Asher play and wrestle while Nora sits all alone on the sidelines, smiling sweetly at her brothers. She should have a three year old sister. I wish I could be pregnant right now with her little brother or sister. I don’t want her to be all alone without a sibling friend close in age. It is another loss that hurts me every day. We are not trying to conceive, by the way. Here is Nora playing with her stuffed animal friends on her little couch that she got for her birthday.

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Nora is now 14 months old and is still such a content, joyful baby. I love having a little girl in the house. She is so different from her brothers. She loves shoes, clothes and jewelry and tries to dress herself already. She is very maternal like I was when I was little. Her baby dolls and stuffed animals have all been rocked to sleep, bottle fed, kissed, patted, dressed, undressed, dressed again and even sung to. Nora loves talking and singing. Her favorite sentences are “I love you.” and “I like this.” I ask her, “Nora, who is your hero?” and she says, “Doc Mo” which is her version of Dr. Moise. Last night she was playing with her Daddy before bed and she pointed to her belly and said, “Tickle this.” She is finally walking all over the place and trying to keep up with her brothers. They are still obsessed with her. They think she’s hilarious and adorable and they can’t believe how soft her skin is. I often hear one of them say something like, “Mommy, Nora is so cute she’s making my eyes cry.” They are gentle around her and very protective of her. If one of them accidentally knocks her down or hurts her somehow, I always end up comforting the big brother more than I have to comfort Nora. She might cry for a minute but her brother will cry for half an hour and then feel guilty all day about how he knocked her over and hurt her. In these moments I feel extra thankful that she didn’t die in my womb. Her brothers would have been absolutely devastated. I’m so glad they didn’t have to go through that heartache again. Liam asks often about Scarlet and Lucy and he says on a regular basis, “What if we had been able to keep Lucy, Scarlet AND Nora? I would have loved that.” He just said it again this morning. Our lives are interwoven with grief and joy and “what might have beens” but they are anchored in the steadiness of God’s love and goodness. Our joy and our stability are found in Him and we are so thankful that He is unchanging. Here are a few pictures of Nora lately and a video from her first birthday that I forgot to post earlier.

 

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Nora and five year old Asher

When big brother “helps” Nora get a sip and almost drowns her instead. Ha!

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That time Nora loved the little chick so much she almost squeezed it to death.

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Nora feeds a baby goat at the barnyard.

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Feeding ducks with Liam.

That tiny ponytail!

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This morning she tried out the sandbox for the very first time and scooped shovels of sand onto her head.

 

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Where Is Your Sting?

This is a heavy post. My grandfather is dying right now. He is 93 years old and he’s in a hospital bed in my old bedroom in my parents’ house down the street. We have been keeping vigil by his bedside for the past four or five days, never leaving him alone for more than a few minutes at a time. Days ago we thought that he surely wouldn’t last another day, another hour, but the body that has worked well for almost a century is not willing to give up so easily. It is heartbreaking to watch, emotionally draining and depressing. We know that he is going to heaven and that he has wanted to go to heaven ever since my grandmother died five years ago, but it is still painful to watch the transition. I keep thinking about Lucy and my three babies on earth. Liam, Asher and Nora will all die one day and I probably won’t be here to make sure their transition to heaven will be as comfortable as possible. This is a distressing thought. Will my babies be well loved in their last hours? Will they be scared? Will they be in pain? My Daddy-D, he is somebody’s baby boy, and that’s how we are treating him…the way we want our children to be treated when they die.

Nora and Daddy-D have had a special bond, especially these last few days. She loves sitting on his bed next to him, patting him and babbling at him, even saying his name. His face would light up when he saw her in the last few days that he was aware and still in control of his body.

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Daddy-D being silly with Nora


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Playing peekaboo with Daddy-D


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Nora gives love pats while my sister moistens and cleans Daddy-D’s mouth.

She played peekaboo with him, touched his nose, laid her head on him, and all I could think of was Lucy doing the same things with him soon, in heaven. How long until he goes from playing with my daughter Nora, to playing with my other daughter Lucy? Days? Hours? Minutes? And he will get to know her before I do, my own daughter. How do I process this?

As he has slowly deteriorated and faded, we have been speaking more about the people who are waiting for him in heaven. My mom encourages him, “Mama is waiting for you, Daddy! She can’t wait to see you!” He seems at peace most of the time. I have to mention Lucy…”And you will get to see Lucy soon, Daddy-D! Tell her…” What do I say? What kind of words can I send with him that can adequately convey my love to her, my ache for her, my inability to live without her here? There are no words in the English language powerful enough to express how I feel about her. “Tell her that Mommy loves her and misses her so much. Tell her about her sister and her brothers. Tell her how fun it was playing with her baby sister. I’m jealous that you get to go meet her.” The words are limp. Not enough. He can’t really move but his eyes fill with tears and the tears spill out the sides, running down his face. He tries to speak but we can’t understand what he wants to say.


As I watch my Daddy-D get closer and closer to his last breath I think of the verse-

1 Corinthians 15:55  Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?

I know that Jesus conquered death, but these words don’t feel true because death seems so much bigger at the moment. Looming, mysterious, inescapable. None of us are getting out alive. I feel weighted down as he struggles to breathe. THIS is the best case scenario? One day, we will all be dead.

I ask God for His perspective, for His light to brighten our darkness. And He gives me thoughts that comfort: Death is inescapable, but for those who love God and believe in Him, it is only a tiny slice of time; a moment. It doesn’t define us, it isn’t the end, it is just a transition we all have to go through. For those of us who are left behind, death is a separation from the people we love, and that is why I hate it. For those who are dying or have already gone ahead, death is a link to the people we love, and that is why I appreciate it. Yes, death is real and it affects us all, but there is also SO MUCH LIFE. Daddy-D experienced so much life. He lived for 93 years! When my mom was a tiny girl he promised her that he would tell her he loved her every single day, and he did. He kissed her and doted on her and told her she was beautiful and she believed him. He loved his wife and his kids and his grandchildren well. He loved God and was faithful to Him. Daddy-D was a leader, a WWII veteran, a successful engineer and he LOVED giving advice. When we were younger he would say, “Look at my old, wrinkly face. Would you swap faces with me? No? What if I gave you ten dollars, would you trade faces with me then? No? What if I gave you a million dollars, would you trade faces with me then? No? Then you are a millionaire right now, at this very moment.” And I felt like a millionaire. He often reminded us, “Deciding to follow God is the most important decision of your life. Deciding who to marry is the second most important decision you will ever make.” I could write so much about his life, but the point is that he LIVED. And after his last breath, when his life here on earth comes to an end, there is more life. Everlasting life stretches out ahead of him. Thank you, Jesus for this gift. What if we could see death for what it really was? Just a thing we all have to get through, like puberty, or winter (or summer if you live here in Alabama.) It does not loom, it does not define us. THERE IS SO MUCH LIVING TO BE DONE, before death and after. Having this assurance brings the most amazing peace, even here in the valley of the shadow of death.

If Daddy-D could tell you one thing right now as his time on earth dwindles, I know he would ask, “Have you made the most important decision of your life?” Because that decision is what defines your eternity, and when you accept the free gift of life that Jesus offers, you rob death of it’s power.

Romans 10:9  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

I love you Daddy-D. Give Lucy so many kisses for me.

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Anti-kell Antibodies: Dr. Moise’s New Treatment

I want to start this post by saying how thankful I am for doctors like Dr. Ken Moise. He thinks outside of the box and works so hard to come up with new treatment ideas instead of just doing what doctors have done for years. Nora is alive because he pioneered the use of plasmapheresis and IVIG to treat red cell alloimmunization/isoimmunization (antibodies during pregnancy/hemolytic disease of the fetus/Rh disease- there are so many different names for the disorder I don’t know what to call it, sorry!) He is now working on a new treatment that seems even more effective and groundbreaking than those treatments.

Dr. Moise is working with a pharmaceutical company to develop a new drug that will block all maternal antibodies from going through the placenta and getting to the baby. This treatment is still a few years away from actual use, but thankfully, the FDA has agreed to fast track the drug’s approval process. The drug is being tested right now through a series of safety experiments in pregnant primates. If these studies prove safe for the mother and her fetus they will proceed to studying safety in human volunteers for one month (non-alloimmunized individuals). Hopefully the human trials will start this year (2016.) The first human trial will test whether the drug is safe. After the drug proves to be safe for humans, they will go to the next phase in the safety study and will test alloimmunized women who have completed their child bearing years (they have undergone a tubal or their husband has undergone a vasectomy.) The trial will show if the drug does affect the titer and will help them figure out the dose needed to suppress the antibody level. The final phase would be to give the medication to pregnant alloimmunized patients with a high antibody titer (say greater than 1000) with a history of a pregnancy loss at < 24 weeks. These patients would be monitored in a specialized center with serial MCAs with intrauterine transfusions as a reserve for treatment failures. Hopefully, the new drug will block the maternal antibodies from getting to the baby, which will protect the baby from getting anemic. The only problem with this new drug is the fact that it blocks all maternal antibodies from getting to the baby, even the good antibodies. This is something they are working on now.

The best part of this new treatment (assuming that it works) is the absence of invasive procedures and interventions. The baby won’t need any plasmapheresis, IVIG, or intrauterine blood transfusions to survive. Dr. Moise’s hope is that by the time he retires, he won’t need to teach any younger doctors how to do intrauterine blood transfusions because they will not be needed. Dr. Moise also told me he was hopeful that it would be ready in time for me to have another baby (I am 35 at the moment.) I am praying that this drug works and saves many lives in the future. Ever since I learned that I had anti-kell antibodies I have been worried about my future grandchildren. Would my son, Asher (who is kell positive) one day face these same problems with his own wife and children? What about Liam? We don’t know if he’s kell positive or negative. What about Nora’s sons? Would they grow up and get married only to find out about the “curse” Josh and I have handed down to them? What about Josh’s brother, Caleb, and his wife and kids? These questions haunted me, but because of this new treatment possibility I can relax knowing that in the future a few simple injections or pills during pregnancy could keep these precious babies safe. I’ll keep this page updated with any new information that Dr. Moise shares about the drug and the safety trials along the way.

 

Happy Birthday Nora!

Happy first birthday to my beautiful baby Nora.

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I still can’t believe she is here alive and thriving. I probably started writing at least four different blog posts about this huge milestone and how amazing this past year has been, but most of them ended up being about me and not Nora. I also ran out of time and realized that today I wanted to spend my time just hanging out with my girl instead of editing blog posts. Now she is sleeping soundly in her crib after a fun day and I’m typing up a quick happy birthday post. I decided last minute to take the boys to the beach for a night (we’re leaving early tomorrow morning and they have no idea!) so I have to pack for the trip. I will write more about her birthday when I get back.

We had such a great, laid back day. Asher came running out of his room really early asking, “Where is baby Nora?” I told him she was still asleep and he said, “Oh, well, what does she look like?” I broke the news that she still looks the same as she did yesterday. “Oh, no! You mean she still looks like she’s zero? Can she at least walk?” Poor guy. He was expecting her to be an instant toddler when she turned one. After everyone woke up, we sang happy birthday to her this morning as she stuffed a giant pink cookie in her mouth.

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She opened some of her presents while the boys crowded around. She will open the rest of her presents at her party this coming weekend. Liam and Asher loved watching her open presents.

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Also, please ignore her crazy outfit…apparently that’s what I put her to bed in last night! Nora’s favorite part of her birthday was when we took her to a pet store and let her look at the little animals. Also, notice the tiny puppy she brought along to the pet store…my heart cannot handle the cuteness.

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DSC_0491It is hard to believe that this was one whole year ago.

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We are so incredibly thankful for Nora’s life and we love watching God use her already as a light to others. Happy birthday precious girl. We love you! Here are a few pictures from our DIY birthday shoot:

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And this is my favorite one…like she’s looking up at her big sister:

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To the Doctor Who Saved My Daughter’s Life

Dr. Moise,

Our miracle baby Nora will be a year old in a couple of days. We know that without you, this past year would have been very different and Nora would not be here with us today. One whole year of kisses. One whole year of full arms and mended hearts, of doting big brothers and tiny dresses and a warm little body on my chest. One whole year of little details emerging, revealing who our daughter is…

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Those big brown eyes with long, dark eyelashes; her content and happy spirit; her sensitive heart; her desperate love for animals. She’s everything to us. She is her Grandma’s first living granddaughter, our first living daughter, my rainbow baby, the pride and joy of her brothers, someone’s future wife, someone’s Mommy. Thank you for seeing that, for seeing her value before she was even viable. You treated her like the most special baby in the world, even though I knew that she was just one of the many babies you helped on a daily basis. Thank you for recognizing how important this little life was to us, and for treating her with respect before she even took her first breath.

It is rare to find a doctor who is so generous with his time. I still remember emailing you, grasping for answers and a glimmer of hope after Lucy died. You didn’t know me. I wasn’t your patient or a family friend or anything, but ten minutes after I sent that email I couldn’t believe it when my cell phone rang showing an incoming call from Houston. You talked to me for 45 minutes, sharing your opinion about what happened to Lucy and discussing our possibilities for another child. I remember how much that meant to me at the time; a gesture of kindness from a stranger who thought Lucy’s life was important enough to spend his time discussing. Every single time someone contacts me with questions about anti-kell antibodies or advice about what their treatment should look like I give my time gladly knowing how much it will mean to them.

Thank you for thinking outside of the box and pushing for better treatment options long before Nora was even conceived. Thank you for not accepting, “This is the way it’s always been done” or, “There’s nothing we can do.” Those ideas of yours saved her life and the new treatment you are working on now will hopefully save many more lives, maybe even my grandchildren. And when you save a baby’s life, you don’t just save a baby’s life. You save the parents from living the rest of their days without their child. You save the grandparents, the cousins, the siblings and the aunts and uncles from a devastating heartache.

We will always think of you on Nora’s birthday and tell her about you when she gets older. Liam and Asher know who you are. In our family, Dr. Moise is a household name. We want our kids to know how one life can be used by God to change the lives of other people for good. We will always be grateful for the priceless gift you have given us, our Nora Juliet.

With love,

Josh, Bethany, Liam, Asher and Nora Weathersby

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Weaning my Rainbow Baby

Nora is almost 11 months old and she is finally finished breastfeeding. She is totally on cow’s milk now (and a little bit of frozen breast milk) and she eats more “real” food than her brothers do at most meals so I know she is getting the nutrition she needs. The weaning process has been much harder and emotionally taxing for me than I ever imagined it would be. I planned on breastfeeding Nora for an entire year but there were several pressing factors that meant she needed to be done breastfeeding a month and a half earlier than I had anticipated. I was not expecting the rush of emotions that came with this transition. Depression, anxiety, extreme guilt, feelings of inadequacy as a mother, insomnia, hopelessness…it was insane. When I weaned the boys around 11-12 months I felt a little bit sad, but was mostly glad to be done and I felt totally ready for the next stage. Weaning my rainbow baby turned out to be a very different experience.

When Lucy died and was stillborn I was only halfway through my pregnancy so no one warned me that my milk would come in afterwards. It did in full force. I was engorged and leaking milk and had no baby to nurse. It was traumatic to say the least. It scarred me permanently. In the days and weeks following Lucy’s death I begged God to let me breastfeed a baby one day, even though it felt impossible. I would wake up throughout the night in despair with the sense that I should be getting up to nurse my newborn daughter. Instead of nursing Lucy, I woke up to aching breasts and empty arms. If I dared let myself imagine breastfeeding a future baby of mine, I would immediately break into tears of joy at the thought. This is one reason why it was so important for me to be able to breastfeed baby Scarlet when we were planning to adopt her. When I was finally able to breastfeed my beautiful rainbow baby Nora in the NICU, it was everything I had imagined. She was alive and breathing and so perfect. She latched right on and was a pro from the start. I could not believe that God had given me this desire of my heart, to breastfeed my very own living daughter. Breastfeeding Nora has been a huge part of God’s promise to redeem my losses and it has been an essential piece to my healing puzzle.

During the two agonizing years between losing Lucy and having Nora, I fantasized about having a living baby and nursing her and holding her on my chest and feeling her tiny body rise and fall with each breath. I pictured so many scenarios…Josh holding our miracle baby and the boys meeting her and all the healing that would take place. But for some reason, I never pictured her growing up and leaving me. Weaning my rainbow baby made me realize that she won’t always be my rainbow BABY. She will grow up and mature just like she should, and she will not always be a little baby. One day Nora will be a grown woman and she will leave to go live somewhere else. I won’t be holding her in my arms forever. That was a difficult realization for me. As I was working through the weaning process with Nora I almost gave up at one point because of my intense feelings of loss and depression. I realized, though, that if I continued to breastfeed Nora just because I needed her to complete me emotionally or because I was too sad to let her grow into a toddler, then I would be doing it for the wrong reasons. She was ready to be done, she had a mouth full of teeth, was eating complete meals at the table and was biting me and feeling frustrated that the milk wasn’t letting down immediately like the bottle did. I knew it was time to move on but it was just hard. It went so FAST. How is she not a tiny baby anymore? I savored every moment, even the hard ones, but it still went by so incredibly fast.

Nora has reminded me that life is full of changes, constant changes. We get older, jobs change, friends move away and children grow up. My mom told me when her five children were growing up and she was tempted to mourn the fleeting babyhoods and the toddlers turning into big kids, it helped her to remember that it is supposed to be that way. Babies are not meant to be babies forever. She asked herself how she would have felt if she had been stuck at age four forever. Of course she is glad she was able to grow up into a happy adult and become who she was meant to become and we should be thankful that our kids get to as well. I finally found peace when I remembered that God is solid and unchanging. He is our constant. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and His steadfast love never ends. His faithfulness and goodness are forever. I can plant my feet firmly on Him and know for sure that He will not change or be moved. He is my satisfaction, my confidence and my fulfillment, and only HE can be those things. Yes, one day my kids will grow up and leave me and I can be a mom without any kids at home and still be perfectly complete and satisfied with my life.

Rainbow babies grow up but that doesn’t mean their light and brilliance fade. If anything it shows that they are ALIVE and thriving and it lets the radiance of who they truly are shine forth even brighter.

 

 

Ripples

“Mommy, do you want to die in an explosion so you can go to heaven and see Lucy?” Five year old Asher caught me completely off guard with his question. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh or cry but his face was earnest and he really wanted to know. I told him I didn’t want to die in an explosion but I was excited about being with Lucy one day when I do eventually get to heaven.

Lucy’s death had such an immediate, violent impact on my life but the rippling effects are really hitting the boys now. Liam and Asher are suddenly old enough to comprehend that their little sister is dead and it is heartbreaking to watch them work it out in their minds. The boys are so obsessed with Nora and they love having their baby sister with them. I think they are just now understanding all of the beauty and wonder and love that they are missing without Lucy here. I found this drawing at the bottom of Liam’s backpack the other day.

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I asked him about it and he said it was a bad guy freezing the whole world and all the people died but Lucy (who is the tiny dot in the upper left hand corner) survived. Lucy survived. Our ultimate fantasy scenario. Liam also told me yesterday, “Mommy, I’m sad about a daydream I had where all the babies are trying to be alive, like all the babies in their mom’s bellies, and the ones who don’t win die but only the winner gets to be alive.” The boys have asked us about having another baby and we told them that if I had another baby in my belly we don’t know if that baby would live like Nora or die and go to heaven like Lucy. Asher asked me today how old Lucy is and I told him she is about 2, almost 3 years old. I hesitated, though, because I honestly don’t know how aging works in heaven. Would Lucy grow up, year by year like she would here? Or is she still a newborn waiting for me to get there so I can watch her grow up? Or is she an adult? If she were here on earth she would be turning 3 years old this summer. She would be exactly two years older than Nora, just like Liam is two years older than Asher. The boys always have a combination birthday party in February/March and I know Lucy and Nora would have had a combination birthday party every July. I hate that Nora doesn’t have her big sister here with her. Such a huge loss. The boys are so sad that Lucy isn’t here with them. Asher asked what she looks like now and I had to tell him I wasn’t sure. He looked so sad and asked if she looked just like Nora but had a different name and I told him I didn’t know. He said he wanted to be in an explosion so that he could go see what Lucy looks like. I know some of these thoughts seem morbid, but they are just a peek into five year old and seven year old minds trying to understand death. I hate that death is such a big part of our family and part of the boys’ childhoods.

Asher always includes Lucy in our family. He was very wounded this past Christmas when I didn’t hang a stocking up for Lucy. I promised him that next year we will hang a stocking up for both of his sisters. This is his latest family drawing:

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He is holding Nora and up in the sky is Lucy in her mansion in heaven. She is looking out of the window at us. He insisted that I hang the picture up on the wall above Nora’s crib because he drew it for her. Oh how my heart hurts when I think about telling Nora one day that she has a sister that she will never get to meet until she gets to heaven. Watching the boys deal with Lucy’s death now, three years later, is a reminder that this terrible tragedy that happened to us in 2013 isn’t just over, even though we are continuing to heal. The harsh reality is that the tragedy continues and the ripples continue to bruise us, to cut into our hearts, to reopen old wounds. There are facets of our loss, our life without Lucy, that have yet to impact us. One day when Nora gets older she will wish she had someone to play My Little Ponies with; a sister to tell secrets to and do each others hair and share clothes with.

It is hard to go through life without such a vital part of our family. It is hard for siblings to comprehend their sister being dead. Their sister will never be a part of our family here in the flesh. But goodness, she makes heaven so much sweeter and more tangible. When Asher builds things with Legos he often constructs a scenario here on earth and then one in heaven too. “Mommy, these guys are in their house having a meeting and this guy is in heaven.” Thanks to Lucy, heaven is a very real place to us. She has gifted us with an eternal perspective on life and a joyful anticipation of heaven. I used to dread the end of my life on earth. I feared death. It made me feel anxious and panicky. Now, I look forward to it; not in a suicidal way, but in a very sweet, excited way. I feel peace about dying and I can’t wait to get to heaven. The boys are excited about heaven too and they look forward to meeting their little sister and seeing the mansion that she lives in.

The rippling effect of our loss and heartache will continue to hit us throughout our lives. I know one day when all the 2013 babies start kindergarten I will have an intense ache in my heart…and when they graduate and when I know she should be in college and when I see a beautiful bride her age walk down the aisle and when I meet my grandchildren but none of them are Lucy’s…I will continue to be wounded again and again and so will her Daddy. As her brothers grow and understand more and more about this great gaping hole in our family, they will continue to be bruised as well. BUT these destructive ripples are confined to this earth. They will not follow us to heaven. They are harmless in light of eternity, and that is why I look forward to heaven so much. I just can’t wait to see my first girl and to see all of my children under one roof.