Monday, November 24, 2014

Loving Lily

On Thursday we buried our daughter. No one should ever have to say that, but we have to. People keep saying how strong I was through it all, but nothing about what I feel right now is strength. In the days following her birth (I'll write about it someday, but for now, it's still too raw), whenever I thought about the day of her funeral and never seeing her again, I honestly couldn't breathe and would immediately start to cry.

I've had many fears leading up to her birth and all the moments after. I was terrified to see her, until I actually saw her. She was and is breathtaking. I didn't think it was possible to love her more than I did before I saw her, but I did and I still do.

I was terrified that she might not be born alive, but just as fearful that she would be born alive and I would have to watch her stop breathing. I feel like God knew my fears better than me and she was born sleeping.

Mostly, I was terrified for that moment...that moment when I knew I was never going to see her again. That moment when they would close her casket and I would have to rely on my memory of her sweet kissable cheeks, her perfect fingers and toes. 

That moment is the one that reduces me to sobbing tears again and again.

I miss her. 

I miss her kicks. I miss holding her. I miss her cheeks, I miss those perfect fingers and toes. I miss seeing Jason kiss and hold his daughter. 

I honestly didn't think it was possible to love her the way we do. Maybe I was trying to protect myself...knowing that loving her the way I do would lead to the greatest heartache of my life. A heartache that will never go away.

But more important than anything is this...she is worth every second of heartache that I will face for the rest of my life. I would have given anything to heal her, but I also would not trade her for anything in the world.

Loving her makes me a better person. Loving her makes me a better mom, wife, friend, sister and daughter. Loving her is the greatest honor God has ever bestowed on me. If given the choice, I would do it all over again. 

My love for her surpasses all understanding.

This was read at her funeral, the first adapted from something a dear friend shared with me this summer. The second written by me about what it really means to love Lily. My words are still inadequate, there are no real words to describe this love for my sweet Lily. She has stolen my heart forever and I will spend the rest of my life missing her, loving her and hoping to meet her in my dreams.

To Love a Person - Adapted from Kathleen Dean Moore

What does it mean to love a person? 

To love - a person - means at least this:
One. To want to be near her, physically.

Number two. To want to know everything about her -
her story, her moods, what she looks like by moonlight.

Number three. To rejoice in the fact of her.

Number four. To fear her loss, and grieve for her inquiries.

Five. To protect her - fiercely, mindlessly, futilely, and maybe tragically,
but to be helpless to do otherwise.

Six. To be transformed in her presence -
lifted, lighter on your feet, transparent,
open to everything beautiful and new.

Number seven. To want to be joined with her,
taken in by her, lost in her.

Number eight. To want the best for her.

Number nine. Desperately.

Loving isn’t just a state of being, it’s a way of acting in the world. Love isn’t a sort of bliss, it’s a kind of work, sometimes hard, spirit-testing work. To love a person is to accept the responsibility to act lovingly toward her, to make her needs my own needs. Responsibility grows from love. It’s the natural shape of caring.

Number ten.
To love a person is to accept moral responsibility for her well-being.

What does it mean to love Lily?

It means everything on this list and so much more.

It means knowing that labor will hurt and you go through with it anyway even though you don't get to keep your reward.

It means knowing that your heart will be broken for the rest of your life, but holding her for even five minutes makes up for it.

It means watching her lift her big brother off your belly with her amazingly strong kicks.

It means you will be filled with awe, wonder and sorrow as you watch your belly dance before you go to sleep every night.

It means you might not get any sleep at night because Lily wants to dance all night long and that's totally okay with you.

It means you never knew you could love someone so much before you even meet them.

It means your heart will be so full when you see her with her brother's chipmunk cheeks.

It means if you had would do it all over again because those brief minutes held more love than a whole lifetime does for some.

It means you didn't know it was possible for your heart to grow in so much love for your husband through honoring your daughter.

It means memorizing every single sweet and perfect detail so you can meet her in your dreams.

It means you will fight and defend her right to life until your very last breath.

It means that you mourn for your son who doesn't have his best friend to grow up with, but also rejoice in knowing the special connection he will have with her in Heaven.

And most importantly, it means you will never be the same person again, for we are the mother and father of a saint, and we walk with one foot on earth and one foot in Heaven, until we meet our beautiful girl again.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in our prayers. We celebrate Lily and her life with you and grieve that you did not have more time together.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story...I know it couldn't have been easy. We are praying for your family that you may find peace and comfort.

  3. Thank you for sharing such a sweet and tragic part of your life .. I too have a perfect little angel and your words echo my sentiments and heart exactly. It has been 12 years for me and at times the pain can be as raw as it was back then, but always - ALWAYS - the love I feel for my little girl and my total gratitude that I was chosen to be her mother sees me through the hardest of times. I hope that time treats you gently and your dreams are wonderful. Wendy Archer

  4. I meant to say earlier - Lily is beautiful. Absolutely, perfectly, beautiful.

  5. Oh, heart breaks for you...I'm at a loss for words. Know that prayers continue. Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.