So sorry for the delay, friends! I had all intentions to post this on Monday, but life gets in the way sometimes. Below is another beautiful submission by one of WLG&J's instagram followers, Justine. You can read more of her writing at her blog, here.
The Elouise Tree
Today is Mother’s Day. May 14, 2017. My first Mother’s Day without Elouise. It’s been 108 days since I found out my baby’s heart stopped beating. 104 days since she left my body. There’s a feeling of defeat that comes with losing a baby. Sometimes the grief hits so hard I can hardly breathe. But lately those days are fewer and further between. I know there will still be moments that will be hard to handle, like her due date, the anniversary of her death, etc. But for now my laughter has returned. I laugh easily. A normal day doesn’t mean I cry anymore. Unless it’s Sunday. So far I haven’t made it through a single church service without crying. But I’m healing. It’s getting easier.
Today is Mother’s Day. And today we planted an adorable baby apple tree in our yard in memory of our Elouise. It wasn’t an organized service – we just had some friends and our families over and we planted a tree. Andrew and I tried to say a few words but our words were limited because it’s still hard for us to not cry.
We bought a wind chime so when the wind blows or the storms rage we can hear her little bubbly sound. Imagine it’s her giggles. The bell on her bike, her shrieks of joy as she runs through the sprinkler. The sounds she never made.
I wrote her a letter. I sealed it in an envelope and buried it under the tree. It felt a bit like closure for me. All the things I wish for. The things I wish I could have said.
My dear sweet Elouise,
There is so much I wish I could say to you. I wish with all my heart I could have placed a kiss on your tiny face. I long for the day Jesus comes back, and maybe I’m selfish because mostly I just want to meet you and your brother. My heart aches with emptiness in the place I hoped you would fill. I will never stop missing you while we are apart.
I wish I knew what colour your eyes are. What colour your hair would be. If you would have freckles like your dad or maybe more like your sisters. We were all so excited to meet you, my sweet girl.
I imagine you with blue eyes and brown hair and a wild spray of freckles all over your face. You’re a girly girl but you like keeping up with your brother. I imagine you in a pink tutu and rubber boots on a run bike pushing hard to keep up with your siblings. You have a laugh that reminds me of bubbles and it comes easily. You light up a room whenever you enter it. You have a special bond with your daddy. I know he adores you. As you grow I imagine your hair takes on strawberry highlights and you earn even more freckles. You are so beautiful.
I wish I could hug you and breathe in your scent. You’d smell like fresh air after the rain. You would be warm.
OH I miss you. I miss all the moments we would have had. I miss feeling your wiggles. I wish I could have heard your heartbeat – even just once. I wish I could have held you in my arms and let you hear my voice so I could tell you just how much I love you.
I would have loved to hear your cry. Your tiny voice. To hear how your words would develop, if you had a lisp or a whirl.
I would have loved to cry on your first day of kindergarten and graduation day. I wish daddy could have walked you down the aisle.
Oh Elouise, I so badly wanted to make memories with you. I had so many plans.
But do you know what? God had something different. And even though I won’t hold you until I get to heaven I’m okay, because I know you’re safe. You’ll never feel pain or heartache. You’ll never know cancer or a scraped knee. I’m so grateful your experience will be a perfect one. And Jesus will take such good care of you! And you even have your big brother to be with you.
Even though these things bring me such comfort I still wish I could nurse you, hold you, cuddle you and dream with you.
Do you know what else though? Ever since you left God has been doing something amazing in my heart. I didn’t understand trust and faith before. I never felt so secure in Jesus’ love for me. I don’t think I was excited about Him coming back because I still had so much I wanted to do. But now I can’t wait! While I’m here and while He still has a purpose for me I hope to be obedient and compassionate. But my eyes are fixed on things above. I can’t wait to be with Jesus. To be with Him in paradise and to hold you and Aaron and kiss you. I can’t wait to see you. To look into your eyes.
I miss you. I wish you had stayed.
Thank you for teaching me more about Jesus. If you had stayed I don’t know if I would understand suffering, joy and peace the way I do now. The bible says we grieve with hope (1 Thess. 4:13) and in everything give thanks (1 Thess. 5:18). As much as I miss you and as much as I wish you had stayed – that you were still growing in my womb, I am so grateful that I have grown and become better. And it’s because of you, sweet girl.
I want to stop wishing for what could have been and start hoping for what’s still to come. I don’t want to feel guilty as I continue to heal. I want you and your brother to know i will always hold you in my heart and I long for the day I can kiss your sweet faces. Even as I heal and my tears don’t fall for you as often you will always be so dear to me. I wait with eagerness for the day we meet.
Dear daughter, you have taught me so much even though your time was short. I’ve changed because of you. You have made me better. And I hold Jesus closer, all because of you. I owe you for that, Lou. You are the perfect baby. I love you so much. Please tell your brother how much I miss him. I love you both with all my heart.
Until the day we meet in heaven,
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lords great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Songs of Songs 4:7
You are altogether beautiful, my darling, there is no flaw in you.
Isaiah 49: 13
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
I thank my God every time I remember you.
This whole journey has been so trying, so devastating. It’s been really humbling to have such an amazing community of family and friends hold us up in prayer and supporting us through our grief.
It was a gorgeous day. The clouds threatened rain, and it was a little windy – but overall a pretty amazing day to be planting a new little tree. We had our friend, who is a horticulturist, help us pick a tree and make sure it was planted properly because of all this tree represents I wanted to make sure it had the absolute best start. This baby apple tree. The Elouise Tree.