Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mommy's Words to Mattie

For Mattie's memorial service, I wanted to say a few words for Mattie that could only come from her mother's heart.  I knew it would be difficult to speak at such a time, but I also knew that the words wouldn't sound right coming from anyone but me.  I also encouraged my husband to find the strength to do the same.  I prayed for the strength necessary to accomplish this task, and I am so glad I was able to do so.  I think it was an important part of the healing process to be able to say these words of love and goodbye.

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Although this was a painful moment, this is probably my favorite picture of me and Mattie as I held her and snuggled her in the way that I always enjoy holding my babies.

Mattie, about a month ago, I wrote this letter to you expressing my joy, hopes, and anticipation of your arrival:

Dear Mattie,

With just a little over a month to go before we get to meet face to face, I have so many thoughts that I want to express to you.  Having a daughter is a bit of a scary endeavor for me, I admit.  I love you as much as any mother ever could, but I'll always worry whether it will be good enough.  I'll want to protect you from so much pain, fear, and tragedy in the world as you grow up, but I know I can't always be there to shelter you.  You will have to be strong enough to face whatever life brings.  I want to teach you and prepare you for what the world might offer, but I want to protect your innocence too.  I am trusting that God will help me know what to do. 

Like most mothers of daughters, I am looking forward to dressing you up like my own personal baby doll, but I will try to let you express yourself in your own way as well.  I am so excited to see what you will be like.  After two boys, I know it will be different.  Have I mentioned how lucky you are to already have two of the most loving big brothers to help look after you?  Evan and Brody are both so excited and curious to meet you.  Brody has grown increasingly curious as he sees the evidence of your growth, and Evan has always wanted a baby sister. 

And what about Daddy?  Well, he is probably the most excited of all.  I think he suspects you will be his little girl forever and will quickly have him wrapped around your little finger.  He is such a sweet and good man and definitely knows how to treat us girls.  You are a lucky girl!  I envision there will be lots of father-daughter dances, tea parties, and hand holding.  Those visions do make me very excited. 

I am looking forward to some special time with you and your brothers in your first months with us as Mommy has had a very busy schedule the last few years as she completed law school.  For the next few months, she wants to devote as much time as possible to all of her sweet babies.  We await your arrival with much anticipation and hope, and we know that no matter where life takes us, we'll always have each other.  I pray that you continue to grow strong and healthy in the coming weeks until you are ready to meet us.  We will be busy getting your house, room and closet (because we know how important that is for a girl) ready for you. 

Lots of love and hugs and kisses! 

Love, Mommy

In the following weeks, you did continue to grow bigger, stronger, and healthier.  We listened each week to your strong and rapid heartbeat and rejoiced.  As your due date approached, we hoped to welcome you soon.  Your due date came and went and still we waited.  We begged our doctors to help get you here, but we were told to wait until 41 weeks.  Just two days before your scheduled delivery, Mommy started feeling stronger contractions, and we hoped to soon welcome you to your family.  On Sunday afternoon, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together, and we prepared to head to the hospital after Grandma arrived to keep your brothers.  The weather had turned rainy as we drove to the hospital.  By the time we arrived, Mommy's contractions were only about 3 to 4 minutes apart, and after she was checked in, the nurses proceeded to check for your heartbeat.  The seconds and minutes ticked by as they searched and searched, and we anxiously hoped and prayed that you were just curled up and making your heart difficult to find.  Your doctor arrived to check with a quick ultrasound, and our worst fears were soon realized.  We questioned our doctor and God as to why such a strong heart could just stop beating, and why we couldn't have delivered you earlier before this happened.  How could a cord that brought you life now be the cause of your death?  We prayed for a miracle to save you and give you back to us.  Later that night, you came to us with the most peaceful sleeping expression on your beautiful little face.  We cried, but our tears weren't joyful.  A painful ache began to grow in our hearts in the hole you left.  You were everything we could have hoped you would be.  You weighed a healthy and perfect 8 pounds even and were 20 and a half inches long.  You had the softest and fullest head of dark hair that would have been just perfect for all of your hair bows.  You touched our lives, and we will never be the same.  Our home is different.  Your beautiful room sits waiting and ready for you, and most of your beautiful clothes will never be used by you.  We don't know what the future holds for our family now.  We know we must continue living, and we will have to learn to enjoy life again with your brothers.  Your brothers will also never be the same.  Evan has awaited your arrival for so long, and he is hurt deeply by the prospect of never getting to know you.  He will always love you.  Brody may not remember this time in his life, but he'll grow up knowing that he had a sister that was taken from him too soon.  We'll all await a day when we can meet in heaven.  We know you are in heaven now with Jesus and many of your family, including your Great-Grandmother Mattie, your Great-Granny, your Great-Grandma Zella, a sweet little cousin who we never got to meet, and so many others.  You are loved in heaven and on earth, my little angel!  Please ask Jesus to help your Mommy, Daddy, and big brothers during this difficult time for us. 

Mommy is reminded of her favorite childhood bedtime story,  The Velveteen Rabbit, about how love makes us “real.”  Loving is what connects us all and what sets us as humans apart from the rest of the world.  “Real isn’t how you are made…it’s a thing that happens to you.  It takes a long time.  Once you are real, you can’t become unreal again.  It last for always.”  Remember that you were truly loved by your mother and no one can ever take that away from us.  It will last for always!  Love brought you into this world and put us together and love is forever so nothing can ever separate us.  
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  1. This is so touching. Thank you for sharing this. : )

    1. Thank you, Kelly! It has been a rough month, but I don't want to forget any of it or her.

  2. The picture of you and Mattie is just beautiful! As I read your words to Mattie, I just can't help but think of the song 'I Will Carry You' by Selah. And you are right, the love you have and shared can never separate you.

    1. Thank you, Tracy! The picture was taken at a pretty raw moment as I was trying to find the strength to let go before we left the hospital. That is a perfect song. I had actually never heard it, but it is so beautiful.

  3. Oh Sherry -- this is beautiful. Mattie is a lucky girl to have a mommy who loves her so much and will carry her close to her heart forever. I am awed by your strength as you mourn your precious daughter.

    1. Thank you, Natasha! Your encouragement has been such a blessing these last few weeks.

  4. I have read this post, and re-read it and re-read it again. But I haven't been able to comment because nothing I say can come anywhere near how beautiful your words were to Mattie.


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