I really should be doing homework right now. I needed to come home to take care of a few things anyway, but the primary reason was so I could get this Psych paper done. The sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can go back to ‘home away from home’ and the man (who I miss terribly), but I’ve had the stirrings of this thought rattling around in my brain for a few weeks now, and it really wants to come out. So I’m taking five to assuage the distraction and will get back to my paper in a minute.
Most of you know that I lost a daughter, Isabel Elyse; she was stillborn at five months. She would be turning 23 this coming summer if she were still here. I don’t know why God decided to call her home before we even had the chance to meet; that was most assuredly the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I do, however, know that He used that tragedy for good. Her death is what fueled my work with the non-profit organization, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It gave me the experience and intestinal fortitude to draw from to help thousands of hurting families in similar situations and gift them family portraits to honor and remember their children. I genuinely believe that was something I was meant to do.
A year after I said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to Isabel on the same day, my son, Jacob, was born. I think I would have been a good girl-mom, but I think I was a pretty great boy-mom. (Everyone knows what a huge sports fan I am. LOL)
Having lost my daughter left a hole in my heart, though, that nothing could fill.
The second way that God used that situation for good was less expected. In some way, I suppose it is in an effort to fill that void, but I have found that I tend to pour myself into the young women in my life. I may not have a daughter of my own, but I have been blessed with beautiful, intelligent, bonus-daughters that mean the world to me. Some have been in the form of my nieces, Ashley & Kati. Some are the daughters of my best friend in the world, my soul-nieces, Britney, Ravyn, & Jai’Dee. Some have worked for me, Emily, Cayce, & Claire (or indirectly with me, Becky). And some have come to me through loving another, Jana, Naomi, Annie, & Amber. These girls are all so unique and different, yet they share a strength and resilience it took me well into adulthood to find. I adore each one of them and couldn’t love them more if they were my own. Some of these relationships have been life-long, others are newer; some are more consistent, others sporadic; but I’m inspired by each of them and my life is richer for having them in it. Whether lessons about life (what we think, we become), school (keep going), work/career (perception is reality), love (yes, boys are often dumb, but love is worth it – ok, in all honesty, I might just now finally believe this one myself), recipes/cooking (Homerun Chicken, my specialty), or simply providing a listening ear or shoulder to cry on, they are open and receptive, and I feel honored that they trust me and see value in the wisdom I have to offer. I want only the best for these stunning creatures, and if I have contributed, in any way, to them leading happy, healthy, productive lives, then my time on earth was not in vain.
I don’t know why God decided to call Isabel home before I had a chance to pour myself into her, but I am forever grateful that He gave me these strong, beautiful bonus-daughters with whom I’ve been able to share my life.
I consider it a privilege that you have allowed me to be a part of your journey.
You are part of my legacy.
I love you, girls.