That long since we've hugged you close and breathed you in deep...
We cannot believe that much time has passed since we stared into those eyes...
Or were able to show you the things of this world...
Eighteen months since you've been dancing Marie... Eighteen months you've been home and listening to angels sing... Eighteen months Princess Marie and we love you so much... We'll see you soon and we won't remember the hurt of this being without you... Be good Little Mama... We love you.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 "a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,"
I put Sarah down for her nap and ate lunch. Then I moved down to the basement office, I had bills that needed paid, farm bookwork, I needed to open mail.
I set my iced tea down and reached for the biggest envelope... better to start there right? It was from our health insurance company and I scanned the pages. Me, me, me, Luke, Marie... Marie. Her name, beautiful name. Printed in black and white and a sight that used to be so common. Her folder was over two inches thick from health insurance... all the keeping track I used to do. And the date of service, February 6, 2008... She wasn't even one then. Now it is creeping up on what would be her fourth birthday... That was so long ago.
Three years ago with a sick baby in my arms that couldn't stop vomiting and they told us she was starving to death. She was so tiny at nearly one... I remember it. Only 15 pounds... I held her in my arms all day long, every day back then. She'd cry if I let her go and she hurt... And I remember the doctor appointment they're suddenly billing for, three years late.
We had taken her down for a study, to see if reflux caused her pain. I had to coax her to drink a thick pink mix, so stubborn even then. I remember tiny brown eyebrows scowling at me and us just pleading "come on Marie, just a sip, please Marie..." And the x rays showing her tiny organs, her tiny esophagus down to her stomach and the pink drink coming back up and the pain that reflux must have caused made my heart ache because she was just so small. And nothing was working back then, we didn't know how to help her. That was the day the scheduled surgery for her g-tube and the Nissen. February 6, 2008...
So they billed us this February, for that appointment long ago. I called them and asked why, why now, why three years late. Why on a child that is... deceased. It is a disgusting word. Sliding off my tongue black and oily. Deceased. Evil word, not touching the emotions or the love still carried. Just a vile word.
The woman was so businesslike. She told me the account was closed, zero balance. Then she explained the account is closed because my child is dead. Thank you. Thank you for clearing that up. As though that is a fact that doesn't touch every corner of my heart, shadow every hour of my day, as though I wasn't aware. I told her it was ridiculousness to even get this statement of benefits. I told her when my insurance company received the bill, in 2011. I told her how unhappy we are with Children's Hospital. At every corner they have been too little, to late, to wrong, and they have never apologized. We have been mid-diagnosed, double billed, asked to be studied, we have been moved into dirty rooms, we have notified them in a timely manner and still not heard from their grief program until she was gone six months and we were beginning to learn to live again. But we always get their requests for fundraising dollars, they have no trouble asking for our money. And I told her that we would choose another hospital if we ever needed that kind of care again.
The lady very politely offered to give me an email address that I could use to file my complaint. She did not say she was sorry. I told her it probably doesn't even matter anymore and hung up the phone.
Why? Why today? Why did I get this statement? Why did I have to talk to that woman? What is the lesson I am supposed to learn from this?
It just hurts... because my Marie is gone, baby gone. And I wish her back every day though I know God won't give her and I wouldn't take her if He did because she's Home... but the hurts no less. And what am I supposed to learn from this? Why?
Why this on a heart aching to plan a fourth birthday party instead of wondering how to fill those hours. That day four years ago I labored long and hard and then she was... Marie all dark haired in her Daddy's arms and we didn't know anything bad yet, we were just so happy. Why this reminder as I come up on that day. That she is gone, baby gone.... And she is not just some account. She was Little Mama and we love her...
I haven't been posting a lot. Life has seemed so full these last weeks. Today I've been going through pictures... we switched computers over the summer and some that I know we had are gone... even on the disks I had backed up. So I've been sort of obsessing over that.
And Sarah has been demanding attention and I love that she can speak her mind so well! All is ok with us, just busy... I think we are all feeling the anniversary coming next week, and Marie's birthday coming Thursday. It's hard to be without her these days.
I feel as though so much lately my heart has just felt heavy. The weight of it is something I can feel, something I have to breath around. I have so many blessings in my life but the sorrows sometimes seem to weigh more.
I have been praying... praying for Clarissa and Joey as they adjust to life with a child called Home. It reminds me of Luke and I in those days. The one's I don't fully remember the happenings but I can't forget the emotions. The weight of Marie's loss heavy in my chest. And it's still there.
I know the hurt, and I hurt still. Time takes on different significance and it keeps passing on. Soon she would have been four... and I try not to let myself but I wonder what Marie would have been at four. Blue eyes laughing? How long would her hair be? Would she still want to cuddle me or would she fight for independence? And I won't know, not this side of Heaven.
And soon she'll have been gone a whole year and a half. How does that even happen? How can it be when I just kissed her goodnight? How? I don't know and I don't like the distance when I think of it and the weight of that feeling is so heavy.
I have been trying to pray, trying to count blessings, trying to see joys and not sorrows. But it's hard. Hard when someone I have come to count among my best friends buries a baby. Hard when I wonder what I'll do when Sarah doens't have any more of Marie's hand-me-downs to wear. Hard when I bring Valentine's roses to a cememtary (complete with fairy wand) for a little girl that isn't here on earth anymore.
Hard when Josie cries... Hard when Sarah doesn't say Marie's name yet, only calling the big sister in the pictures baby.
There is so much to be thankful for, but at moments the weight of the longing is just heavy. I long for Marie but I ache for Clarissa too. That she be able to hold her little boy, that I could somehow ease the pain of it. Even in the sorrow there is beautiful... just bittersweet.
Counting the blessings...
Please pray for Joey and Clarissa and their children as they make their way through there hard days. Ask the Lord bless them with healing, comfort, peace, and the knowledge of His love.
Please be in prayer for my friend Clarissa and her husband Joey as they grieve the loss of their son Elijah. He was born and called home last Wednesday. These are hard times, dark days. Please ask they feel God's love, comfort, and peace during this time. Thank you!
Sometimes I am still completely amazed at the world and how it just keeps turning. Time marching forward, events of my life pulling me on. In some ways I want to fight it and stay still, I want to hold close the last time I had Marie and not let it go.
Then I realize. There is no benefit in that. Not for her, not for me, not for the other girls. I have to move forward... one foot. In front of the other.
This morning we were driving and I was looking out the window at cold plains, brown grass, frozen trees. Flying by outside my window and Luke talking, saying something. The sun shining but still the cold, cold of February. These brown grasses, they looked this way last year and the year before that.
They will look brown and dry in the February sun next winter. Somethings don't change. The farm fields stretch on and the sky is blue and the wind blows cold. It doesn't change. Even though time pulls forward it doesn't change. And my feelings don't change. And my love doesn't change. And His love doesn't change and that. That is very good.
I am so grateful today the wind doesn't blow like that in Heaven. Marie will never know the bite of February wind again and for that I am happy. The wind always stole her breath away... and I'm comforted that my little girl doesn't feel the wind like I felt today in Heaven.