We celebrated Marissa's first birthday the next day. She is such a little princess, but yet loves to get dirty by helping me in the garden, taking handfuls of dirt from one bucket to another, and loves to stand under the spray of the hose when I water the plants.
In early May I was able to fly to Maine and visit my Mama for 6 days over Mothers Day. It was so good to see her and to see how she has settled into her new home with my sister. It was odd to see the furniture that has forever been in my mind on the farm in Iowa in a new home. I was able to help her sort through her clothes, unpack some boxes, hang up curtains in her bedroom and plant some flowers outside. I planted some pansies in a pot and a lilac bush under her window to remind her of the lilac bushes we had on the farm. I wish I could have done more, but time didn't allow it. We took a drive on Saturday and Sunday and saw some of the beautiful Maine landscape. Mama told me a few times, "I don't think I will ever see you again." I tried to encourage her and tell her I would visit again in the fall. Saying goodbye was very, very hard.
|Deer Isle (I think)|
|Taking a picture of Mama, taking a picture of a seagull|
|Mama and me, the morning I left|
Our pastor and his wife retired the end of May. Pastor Floyd baptized James when he was 6 years old. He baptized Amy just a few months before she passed away. He had been her Sunday School teacher at one time and he told me that was one of his dearest memories. It was difficult to say goodbye to someone who has been a spiritual leader to me for so many years. We have a new pastor now. He and his wife are very sweet. But they didn't know Amy. How can I ever tell them how much she was and still is a part of my life?
Last week I was in WalMart and I saw a little boy in a shopping cart with his mom. He was sitting in the front seat but looked to be about 6 or 7 with such long legs that I didn't know how the Mom was able to get him in the cart. He was playing with two plastic animals and he clearly had special needs. I stood for a few seconds, just looking at him and then quickly went around the corner before his mom saw that I was staring. I stood in the next aisle wondering if I should go back and talk to her. I just wanted to give him a hug. That's all. I just wanted to hug him. But I didn't. I didn't know them. The tears were already starting to fall.
Today in church we sat behind a young man with Down Syndrome. I have known him since birth. I had a hard time keeping the tears in and then our assistant pastor shared that he had lost a member of the first youth group he pastored. He was a young man in his twenties with special needs. He told how he would sing for the Lord with his whole heart. He talked about heaven and how he was singing up there. The tears fell again.
I'm not sure everyone can understand my grief. Last week we attended a party of a young man graduating from high school. His father was telling us of his adoption story. How they searched and searched for a "perfect" baby. I wish I had the courage to tell him what a blessing they missed by not adopting a special needs child! Yes, Amy was a lifetime commitment, and a lot of physical work, but she was a piece of heaven living with us. I miss the pure innocence and joy that she showed me every day of her life. I miss how she showed Jesus to me. I miss her so much.
Missing Amy also brings me to missing my Daddy.
So many times these past few months he has come to my mind and I want to talk to him. I see farmers here out in the fields and I want to call Daddy and ask him if the planting has started, if the corn is coming up, how tall is it now, do you have enough rain, too much? The list goes on and on in my mind. Every time I called I would ask about the crops. Once a farmer, always a farmer, even retired. But there is no one left in Iowa to call anymore. Soon the farm will be sold. Only a memory will be left to me.
Last year at this time I was with my parents. Emily and I had the privilege of celebrating Daddy's 85th birthday on the 18th of June.
|We were able to surprise him with a cake and candles.|
On his birthday, 39 years ago this Saturday, Bill and I were married. Daddy and I have shared a special day together for all those years. Sometimes I would remember to call first and wish him happy birthday or sometimes he would call first and wish me a happy anniversary.
I am so very thankful that I had this special time to spend with Daddy last year. I didn't know it would be the last time I would be able to see him without the effects of drugs and pain. I didn't know it would be the last birthday. The last special day we would share together.
Heaven is so much more real to me now. I do not fear death. I look forward to it.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says,
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."