We've had a lot to do this week. Working on arrangements for Caroline, scheduling services, working out transportation for her and us. And it's the week of Christmas, so we've been trying to get stuff together for that, although that's been a low priority.
One nice thing is that we got our pictures back from our Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer. They turned out so well. I love them. I'll post some at the end of this post. This organization is awesome. You can learn more about them at their website... http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/ They do photography for people who experience the loss of a child. We love our pictures.
I also have a bracelet that was given to me by several friends of mine.
I've been getting charms for it from people since Caroline's diagnosis. It's almost full now, and every time I look at it, it means so much to me. I know it comes from so many people, all showing they care. I pretty much haven't taken it off since I went into the hospital to have Caroline. I loved it before Caroline was born, and now it just means even more. So if you're one of those friends who has contributed, know that you are appreciated and have made a difference for me during this time.
My aunt and uncle gave me a stuffed bunny with Caroline's name embroidered on the ear.
I cried when I opened the box it came in. Cameron and I have shared it since then, and it has actually brought me a lot of comfort. I didn't expect that, but it has. I guess sometimes I just need something small and cute to hold onto since I can't hold on to Caroline. I miss her terribly.
Today has actually been a little bit rough. We've had to do some things that weren't exactly pleasant, and it's been a challenge. It just hurts to make some of these decisions and to know how final they are. It hurts to face reality and know the truth about Caroline. There will just be some days when this whole situation just stinks. Today was one of those days. Through it all, though, I have had more peace than I thought possible. Even today, as I had several moments of deep grief and hurt, I could feel God's loving arms surrounding me. I can't explain it, really. All I can say is that as I sat there weeping at one point today, I all of a sudden felt a heavy weight lifted from my heart. The sadness remains, and the hurt will come in waves for a long time, I'm sure, but the deep, soul-sustaining peace and comfort I have felt the last couple days is more than I could have ever imagined.
I will confess that yesterday and today were hard. Extremely hard. We had to escort Caroline from the hospital to the funeral home yesterday, and we had to go to the funeral home again today to take care of a few matters. It makes it all seem very real and very final. I broke down several times, both yesterday and today. It hurts, and I hate it. I tell God every day, and every moment I feel almost overcome, that I miss her and need His help to get through that moment. He is so gracious to give me the comfort and peace that I need. I wouldn't be able to make it through this without Him. Seriously.
I know there will be hard days amidst good days. I know God will get me through each one. I know that as each hard decision comes, we will make it to the best of our ability, and keep moving to the next step. Only by God's grace. And for that I am eternally grateful. I'm trying to keep an eternal mindset, but it's hard sometimes. It's especially hard when I'm so sad, and when I miss her so much. The best thing I can do, though, when I miss her and feel the extreme emotions coming on, is to remember the eternal. "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." -1 Corinthians 15:54-57. I don't want death to have victory over me, even temporarily, as I grieve my baby girl. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?
I hurt. I can't deny that. I cry. I mourn. I grieve. But I also have hope. Even in my darkest moments, I still know the truth...I'll see my Caroline again someday. I may not feel the ultimate comfort of that at the moment, but as long as I know that truth, my heart and my emotions will eventually follow. Just like I had to focus on the truth while Caroline was still with us, as we were waiting for God to reveal His will, I have to focus on it now. God is in control. God has a plan. God loves me, He loves Cameron, and He loves Caroline. I will see her again in Heaven. All of that truth makes the pain bearable. It makes this whole situation less agonizing. My heart is broken for the time I have on earth, but it will be whole in eternity. Just like my precious baby girl is now whole in Heaven. I will miss her every day, but I can look forward to seeing her again.
That is what gets me through each day. God's grace, both for me and for my baby girl. I love you, precious Caroline.