You’ve been gone from us for eight and a half months now, my dear girl. Every single day I miss you. I remember so clearly the day you were born, a little warrior princess, already fighting the fight of your life against a congenital heart defect that threatened your very existence even in the womb. Naomi, I can’t tell you how thankful I am that you were born, that you were alive, that at 32 weeks pregnant we found out you were in trouble and we were able to begin to help you live your life…the life, the days that were intended for you. Because you had a purpose in our lives and in the lives of many many others.
When you were born, Naomi, you couldn’t breathe on your own. You came out of me like a champ, the normal way babies do, but the moment that life line between us was cut you were in serious trouble. Your heart plumbing was all mixed up and you just couldn’t get enough blood into your lungs to get that oxygen to circulate through your body. There was a crowd of people waiting for you, people who have dedicated their lives to helping little ones like you. And I placed you into their skilled hands before I even took you into mine because I believed that they could give you a fighting chance. That first night, they did give you a chance to fight another day. When things looked like they were worse than we’d hoped for, brave men and women opened your tiny little chest and pinched off one ittty bitty little artery so that the life blood in your heart might begin to move in the life sustaining ways you needed. That night we almost lost you but you fought through.
You amazed me with your strength and I think I truly thought that as harrowing as every step of your battle for life was, you were going to pull through, you were going to come home. I remember so vividly the day you first opened your eyes and really looked at me. Your deep brown eyes were clear and I knew you saw me and I saw you. It was like looking through a window into your soul…that precious soul so recently come into this world. It took my breath away and though I had yet to hold you, I knew we had a bond deeper even than physical touch ever would be.
You were on a heart lung bypass for thirteen days. You had open heart surgery at 2 and a half weeks old. You were making progress. We were hopeful. And then, ever so slowly, infection set in, unseen and unresponsive to every treatment. Slowly you began to slip away from us. Your little eyes were so swollen and eventually, try as you might, you could not open them. We loved you. We sang and read and talked to you. And we held you in our arms, careful of the tubes and wires that we held out hope would help you come back to us. But you were only ours to hold here in this life for a few short weeks.
On a bright, sunny day toward the end of June we told you it was okay to go, to go home to be with Jesus. I held you until your heart beat it’s last and you left my arms for Jesus’. In those sacred moments the veil between this world and the next shimmered thin as you left this earth, our warrior princess, to be healed in the arms of Jesus.
My sweet baby girl, how I long to see you again. How I long for that day when we will be re-united. But as much as the missing you hurts and at times it feels like more than I can bear, I know that the days we will one day have together will far eclipse these days of sorrow. And even in this sorrow the love that you have brought into my heart is something I would not trade even to avoid the burden of this grief of loosing you. God is giving me strength, even when I feel like I have none, to keep living, loving, seeing beauty, in the here and now. It all looks different now than before I met you, Naomi-girl. My world looks different because it is colored by my love for you just as much as it is colored by my grief over loosing you. My prayer is that this living I am doing will honor and celebrate your life for as many days as I continue to walk this earth, in honesty, in love, in sorrow, in joy, in all the many colors of life.
All my love,
This post and the self-portrait images above are part of the work I’m doing in the Illuminate e-course. I found that the words came much more quickly than the images which is why I am looking forward to challenging myself in this course!