Here is an honest blog. Throughout the last few months, with everything that has been occurring in my family, I've had my up and down moments. I've been angry, jealous, mad, and I have been happy and at peace. I've been bubbly and I've been cranky. There are days with hope and excitement, and days that seem to have no end as they are filled with depression and tears.
One month from Wednesday I am suppose to be an aunt. The due date of my niece has swiftly come upon me. I don't know what the thoughts are of my family members. However, for me personally, November 5th is a day that I do not look forward to. It's a day I dread.
Instead of buying cute mini frilly little pink dresses and cute little rattles for my niece, about three months ago we pulled out our grown-up black dresses and ironed black suits. Instead of celebrating new life we mourned the premature death of Ashley, my niece. Instead of watching her sleep in her crib, we watched her being lowered into the ground in a tiny pink casket. (The smallest I have ever seen.)
We mourned the lose of a beautiful child and the lose of excitement and future dreams. As we mourned (and still do mourn), we mourn never being able to make eye contact, hear her laugh, or hold a verbal conversation with her. We mourned never getting to watch her grow up and bloom into a beautiful woman. I have personally mourned not being able to be that "cool aunt" that spoils her niece rotten...just to return her to her parents hyped up on sugar from the fresh batch of unbaked cookie dough.
Often I wonder if my feeling are normal. I'm not sure if it's normal to feel the way I do as an aunt of a precious child that now spends her time with God in Heaven. While knowing she's with our creator brings me a certain kind of peace in life, I still go through a lot of pain and heart ache. I'm not sure if it's normal to still have urges to go buy her toys and adorable clothes. I wasn't her mother, I am just her aunt. While I'm not her mother, my arms often long to hold her. Instead they feel empty. Some days are good for me emotionally and mentally, but some days are worse due to a random trigger of hearing her name in a crowd, seeing a dress I want to buy her, or even hearing about others with excitement of becoming an aunt or uncle.
There are have been many times that I have been sadden by the lack of being able to see Ashley grow up. I'll never get to teach her how to make an origami flower. My camera will never capture her moments of laughter, or moments of first steps or as she rides a bike for the first time. (For me it's extremely odd to have a niece and to have never snapped a photo of her and I often regret not doing so.) We won't get to talk about boys or about her first date. I won't be able to one day take her on a trip, or share my passion of traveling and missions.
When I feel like this I then try and remind myself, while we on earth have had the chance to live and experience many things...She is in Heaven experiencing something so much better that we still haven't had the chance to experience ourselves. She is able to sit at the throne of God praising Him with her every being in a way that we strive for here on earth. While her feet will never touch earth's soil, her heart will also never feel the pain that living on earth brings. She forever will have the complete peace and joy that only God can give her...The joy and peace that we often miss out on due to the complex design of life that sin has brought our way. And while she cannot travel to Japan or go on an Alaskan cruise, she sees true beauty. She sees what beauty was intended to be before the fall.
When my arms feel empty and the desire to hold her, I remind myself, "She's with God now." Ashley can literally walk and talk with God face to face. God can literally and physically hold her hand as they walk down the beautiful roads of Heaven. Whenever I feel the desire to give her a hug, I imagine God bending down to give her the sweetest of embraces - and this comforts me. One of the best feelings I have ever had in my life time is when my grandpa and I hold hands. His hands are so big and strong, yet soft and loving. I can't even imagine what physically holding God's hand or being hugged by him is like once in the pearly gates of Heaven.
While I remind myself that Ashley is in God's hands, I still struggle. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. Each day is different - as it's different for my sister, my mom, brother-in-law, and dad.
As we go through this experience we're all still trying to figure out the kinks and details of what it's like to be aunts, parents, and grandparents. What do I say when I'm asked if we have any nieces or nephews? What is the best response when asked if my mother and father have any grandchildren? While we are parents, aunts, and grandparents, it's still an awkward question that we often dread having to answer due to the complicated answer and pain it brings to our hearts. In my mind I often do wonder, "What is it like to be an aunt? What is like to hold the precious child and to watch them grow up?"
As I end this blog, let me leave you by saying that when I write what I write at times, I do not write in hopes to gain your sympathy. In fact...Sympathy is not what my family and I need. When I write what I write it is meant to let you know what's going on in my life. It's meant to help others going through similar situations. It is my prayer to be able to use my story to help others so they realize that they are not alone in what they go through. It's my hopes that it might help others realize that what they're going through is a normal process.
When you finish reading what I write and leave my blog all I ask that if God lays me or my family on your hearts, pray for my family. Pray for me...pray for my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. (Or whomever the blog is about.) Pray for those who are unknown and going through similar situations.
The Travelin' Chick,