I took down a jar of pickle relish that was dated 8/3/09. My mind went back to the summer of '09 when my sister and her family visited us in July. They just announced that they were expecting their 4th child. We were all excited and immediately knew that we wanted another baby, too.
Within days, I began planning to can a bunch of veggies from our garden. I assumed that I was going to be busy with a baby next summer, so there might not be time to plant a big garden. Our shelves were and still are stocked with pickles, okra, tomatoes, and apple butter dated 8/09 to 1/10. The most difficult dates to come across came from our freezer. Heather and I froze strawberry jam (5/18/10)...only 2 days before Grace was born and died. The day before that we were out picking strawberries. I was even teased (lovingly, I'm sure) by the farm owners as I walked to their patch. I heard them say that they never had anyone deliver in one of their fields before. I just smiled my half-grin. (I had heard so many comments on my size by this time and just didn't acknowledge anyone anymore.)
Back to the relish date 8/09...Little did we know that one year later we'd be planning Grace's memorial service on 8/8/10. After the initial shock wore off from May 20, we knew how important it was for us and for our family and friends to remember Grace, to acknowledge the gift of life our gracious Lord gave to her and blessed our family with.
Today, March 21, 2012, also brought me back to January 2010. Our Thrivent rep. (insurance man) was coming to our home today. The last time he saw us was Jan. '10 when I was pregnant. (I was wondering if he even remembered. Of course, we don't bring that subject up.) Five months later, we received an infant death benefit from Thrivent. I still wonder where the benefit is in infant death? I'll say this often, “We have a child who lives in heaven!” There is no greater benefit for a Christian...My clouded vision only wants that benefit to be for someone who has been blessed with a long life.
As our insurance man was getting ready to leave, he said that they had a little girl back in November. I asked what they named her, as I felt the stab in my heart. I only remember that her middle name is Hope. I love that name, too. We congratulated him, and I rejoiced silently because it continues to be difficult to hear of that joy. All I can remember about my birth experiences is watching Grace die. I don't remember the joy. I thanked him for coming out, shook his hand, and quickly went outside for some garden therapy. I am so thankful for the sure hope that we have of seeing our loved ones in heaven...and it continues to hurt.
Everyone's time of grace is different. God's timing is perfect! I trust that, and I continue to struggle...
I continue to be amazed at how anything and everything can cause my mind to spin...relish and our Thrivent rep. of all things!