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Letters to Taylor: On Expressions of Sympathy and Love
My sweet girl,
Four weeks ago today, our family followed the hurse holding your body as we made our way to the cemetery. In some ways, it seems like yesterday and in others, it would appear to have been years ago. I feel like I’ve aged more in the last six weeks than the last six years.
Last week the house was busy during the day because school was cancelled due to ultra-cold temps and then ice and snow. Today it’s empty and quiet with Daddy at work and your brothers and sisters off to school.
As I sit here typing, there is zero noise except for beautiful sounds coming from the wind chimes we received as a memorial gift in your honor. You know how much your Daddy loves wind chimes. He and I have looked at many wind chimes over the years, but each time, we said, “We’ll wait until…” for whatever reason. When we received two sets of memorial wind chimes in one day, we were so shocked and pondered at God’s incredible attention to detail in our lives. I believe each note is a little gift from God whispering that you are well. Perhaps he allows you to be the one to blow the winds our way? Who can know.
Can you believe this? We are still receiving encouraging, sympathy cards and gifts in the mail and through email. I’ve lost count of just how many friends have reached out in prayer and kind thoughts, but I know it’s in the hundreds.
The outpouring of love we’ve been privileged to receive since your graduation to heaven has made me want to be more purposeful in sending thoughts and encouragement to others. I’ve never been on top of sending cards as I’d like to, but I’ve loved receiving them so much that I really want that to change.
And I’ve changed my philosophy on card-sending. I believe it’s never too late to send a sympathy card. Before now, I probably wouldn’t have followed through if two weeks or more had passed since a funeral or memorial service. But now? The cards that have come in the last few days have been the ones I think I needed the most. You know I’m a word nerd, so I’ve gone back through the cards and read them again and again. It’s really not the cards themselves, but the precious words of those who love you and whose lives were impacted by you.
This past Saturday was one month since your spirit left this world. Typing that still makes my fingers feel numb. Gripping both joy and sorrow causes the strangest swirl of emotions. On the anniversary of your death, Facebook reminded me of a photo memory of you from 2 years ago.
A lot has happened since I bought that blanket for you, but especially in the last six weeks. You became so ill in the second week of December that we wound up in the ER and even stayed overnight. I honestly thought we would get you home and you would bounce back as you had so many times before. I remember feeling so much relief when I took a photo of you in the van before we exited the hospital parking garage. Though we knew your disease was terminal, it wouldn’t be this time, right?
But God had another plan. On January 2, we wrapped your disease-ridden, worn-out body with that colorful, heart-saturated blanket of love. After much weeping from all seven family members who lived with you, Daddy did the hardest thing he has ever done in his life. He carried your broken, empty body out the front door of our home. Of course the sobs are wrecking me even now as I face the truth on the screen once again.
I know you are perfect and whole now. I’m so thankful the Holy Spirit still resonates the love of God poured into our hearts because without Him, your precious blanket would bring no joy.
Instead, I wrap up in it every evening and remind myself of how beautiful heaven must be.
I love you so much.