The day Ellie went home to Jesus, I remember the morning well. I remember the exhaustion we felt after such a long night. I remember the frustration, wondering why God was dragging this out so long, and the numbness of just life. I remember the quiet peace of her last breaths and I remember getting on my knees once she was gone and thanking God for the hope of heaven. I remember all our family getting to our house before the funeral home did. I remember thinking, if an outsider were watching all this....or if you had told me 5 years ago, this would be a seen in my house, I would have thought you were crazy. Kids running around the living room, playing with toys, family all around and Ellie's body still here. Yes, it sounds weird, but it was sweet. After the funeral home came, I don't remember the rest of the day. Maybe that's God's way of protecting our hearts, or I was just so tired...who knows.
Last year on December 22nd, I remember waking up and just having my family here, the 5 of us. I do remember the joy I was filled with. I know we went to the cemetery, but honestly I don't remember much of that day. My post from last year, said we felt happy and that we were celebrating Ellie, but I posted at 10 in the morning....I don't know how the rest of the day went.
December 22nd, 2015...Started out like another lazy day together. No one was moving too fast, still in our pj's, and snuggling. I was reflecting back on how a few days ago I asked for prayer, when we were struggling. The days leading up to Ellie's death are filled with lots of tough memories. Tension was high. After I asked, I received, in a big way. Smiles came back, we were doing better at understanding each others' attitudes and not taking offense. We played around with the camera yesterday and took a great family picture (and a lot of bloopers!), and Richard came up with the idea to challenge others to share what gives them strength, using the hash tag #princessstrong.
We headed to the cemetery to bring Ellie's pink tree and decorate it...as more sadness creeped in, this hot mess, came out all ready to go...and how can you not smile at her crazy self?!?!
Decorations up, sweet prayers said, crazy kids running up and down the hill, mission accomplished.
As we headed home, I told Richard I don't remember last year being this tough...maybe it was the newborn baby blur...but I just don't remember it. I went back to last year's blog and realized I posted it at 10 in the morning, so for all I know it could have been just as rough. The rest of yesterday was filled with many more tears, Ellie's favorite dinner of dino nuggets and mac and cheese on the living room floor. watching Disney videos and mommy heading to bed at 9 because I was just so emotionally drained from the day. My sweet boys stayed up late in the dark putting up my lights because Richard knew just how much I was missing it. Yesterday felt empty and full all at the same time, I was so happy we were all together, but absolutely lost in my emotions.
There...now its down on "paper" so next year, on December 22nd, when I possibly can't remember how last year went...it's here, the entire day, not just the morning. (Note to self...Carly Marie, its okay to have a day like this...the next day, December 23rd, will come and you will feel better that you made it through another December 22nd)
I think my December 22nd amnesia is a gift from God. If all we ever remembered was the sad stuff, life would be unbearable. If we only ever focused on the negative and what God isn't doing and what's going wrong, there is no joy to be found. That is a conscious choice a person makes each and every day. I agree there will be moments in life that stink and so much more. There will be moments you cannot understand and wonder "where is God in this" but I promise you, He can be found, look at the people around you, the house you are in, the food you are eating.
Ellie's diagnosis of cancer was heartbreaking, watching her decline....tore my Mommy heart to shreds...her death, was joyous. Because just 3 days after her death, a baby boy was born hundreds of years ago. That baby boy was brought into this world with a purpose, just like my Ellie, just like all of us. That boy's mommy, Mary, experienced the same heart ache I did. She watched her son be tortured and die for all us...people she never even knew. I'm sure as he was hanging on that cross, she wasn't jumping for joy...but 3 days later her beautiful baby boy rose from the dead and I'm sure in that moment, she found her peace, she saw part of God's plan. You can find joy.
After Ellie's death, this moment was where I saw God's plan...
Let you light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Today, I pray you can find joy, no matter what is going on in your life!
Prayers, Praise and Pink
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