Letters to Taylor: On Gratefulness

When disease slowly destroys your child, what do you thank God for?

Letters to Taylor: On Gratefulness

You’ll never know how grateful I am for you.

Dear TayTay,

You’re sleeping now, though it’s noon, and it seems that’s all you’ve done lately. Next week is Thanksgiving and I’ve been working on the menu and shopping list. It might seem silly, but I remember how well you ate the sweet potato casserole last year.  I’m excited to make it again for that reason. Maybe it will put a twinkle in your eye if I can get you to taste it.

I suppose to some folks, it might seem hard for our family to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. As disease continues to ravage your body and brain without any treatments to stop it or even slow it down, it’s tempting to feel like there’s just nothing to be thankful for.

In an effort to combat that attitude, for months, I’ve looked around your room and told you how grateful I am. For the gift of another day, for continuously-needed medical supplies, for your sweet brothers and sisters who love on you and hang out in your room, for your daddy who works long hours to provide well for his family, for your aunts who encourage and hug both of us, for friends who help in so many practical ways. The list could go on and on.

It’s interesting how as your time to breathe on this earth appears to be dwindling down, the list of things to be thankful for diminishes with it. Things have very little importance. What I’m most thankful for really has nothing to do with actual things. Relationships are all that matter. People and God.

In all the reminders I’ve mentioned to you on giving thanks, this one is especially important to me and I have to be sure I say it directly.

I’m so thankful for you.

I understand what Paul was saying when he wrote “I thank God upon every remembrance of you.” You are precious and loved and every single memory I have of you causes me to give thanks.

I’m pausing to laugh amidst the tears. Because some of the memories you’ve given us are crazy.

Like the time you grabbed a girl’s pizza slice in Sam’s Club and her mother got so angry at you she couldn’t see straight.

The time you climbed on top of the kitchen counter and ate a chocolate pudding cup with your hands. You were covered head to toe in that stuff!

Oh, and that year, while I was in the shower, you opened all your Christmas presents that were under the tree. Oh, girl.

I wish I could explain how much influence you’ve had on my life. How much strength you’ve developed in my mind. How much fire you’ve fanned in me. You, my sweet girl, have made me a different person than I ever was before you came along. I am so drastically different than I ever would have been without you. I owe you so much.

You opened my eyes to see the needs of those who struggle.

You fueled my soul to fight for the less fortunate.

You encouraged my spirit to embrace a vital dependence on God.

You inspired my heart to love people for their uniqueness.

I can never thank you enough.

While folks have told me dozens of times that you’re so blessed to have a mom like me, the truth is:

I’m the one who’s blessed to be your mama.

I love you,

Mommy

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12 Comments

  1. “While folks have told me dozens of times that you’re so blessed to have a mom like me, the truth is:
    I’m the one who’s blessed to be your mama.” This is SO true, isn’t it, Rachel! I’ve been told the same thing, but it’s really our special kiddos who bless us so tremendously. Love to you all. Happy Thanksgiving! Although I’ve never met Taylor, give her a hug for me (and one for you!).

  2. Gail Dudlicek says:

    Rachel, I love your raw honesty. Instead of going with the standard “Everything’s okay”, you chose to tell it like it is. I continue to pray for you and your family.

  3. Dear Rachel,
    So many people relate to you because through your pain you speak honesty and many of us relate because of that.
    I pray for comfort and the peace only Jesus himself brings. I pray for your precious daughter that her pain is controlled and God himself holds each of you.
    7 years ago my precious granddaughter lost her life on earth, because her daddy was the adult at home with her, he was charged in her tragic death. He is in a maximum security prison serving 30 yrs. We are raising his little boy.
    This tragedy changed myself and everything I thought I knew about God himself. Job says it so well; “I thought I knew you, but now I know!”
    He truly whispers in our silence and shouts in our pain!
    May the God of all peace fill your home hearts and minds until you are reunited.
    In friendship, Vickie

  4. Rachel
    You heart is so beautiful and genuine. Your letters to Taylor and more than words can express. I think of the things that I complain about and even the stuff my family may struggle with is far from what your walking through . I want your courage and faith .. I pray an easy transition for Taylor into eternity and comfort covering over your family and home surroundings. The presence of the lord to fill the atmosphere..

  5. Patty Williams says:

    Rachel
    You heart is so beautiful and genuine. Your letters to Taylor and more than words can express. I think of the things that I complain about and even the stuff my family may struggle with is far from what your walking through . I want your courage and faith .. I pray an easy transition for Taylor into eternity and comfort covering over your family and home surroundings. The presence of the lord to fill the atmosphere..

  6. Karen Roth says:

    I love the letters as they are so inspiring to us, Broken Ones. ?
    I am still trying to heal up over the murder of my sister in law at the hands of my only brother. This Christmas is the ninth year of the tragic loss. He was self medicating with illegal drugs and alcohol. But I am so Brokenhearted for not being able to raise my nephew who is in the Foster Care system. I am missing him so much. This week,I had an emotional meltdown over the color of embroidery floss. It was my brother’s favorite color. Any other time it would not have triggered such an ugly weeping session. It might be because it is the Christmas season.

    But there is always something to be thankful for.It is just sometimes we have to look harder for it.

  7. Dear Rachel,
    my father commited suicide in September and from that time I read your posts. You had a lot of trials during your ways and you’ve learned to trust in he Lord. You encourage me. May God bless you. Give you His strength for all of your days and for all of your paths.
    Although I live far away, I trust we will meet one day in heaven.
    Violet

  8. Deborah Payne says:

    Thank you and Taylor for sharing your lives with us. Love, hugs and prayers for you and your whole family, Rachel.

  9. Thank you for sharing these letters to Taylor, they are a blessing to read. I continue to pray for you, Taylor and your family. Praying God sends you a special blessing this Thanksgiving season.

  10. Sandra Koterba says:

    I lost my son to the disease of MS last January 12 th , my birthday. He would have been 55 on December 2. I thank God for the months before he passed. He was so busy with work and all the things he loved to do, I only got to see him on special days, holidays birthdays and of course Mother’s Day. When he became ill I got to spend time with him every week. Today I sit and think of my younger son, who is also dealing with another disease, drug addiction. He’s not been seen or heard from in over two months. I also thank God for the strength he has given me to deal with the everyday struggles this has created. But in all this I praise God. He knows where he is and has his hand on him. Happy thanksgiving to you and your family. Thanks you for your words of of encouragement.Sandr

    1. Rhonda Guinn says:

      I pray God will comfort you every minute of your days. Thank you for sharing and for reminding me to praise God in every situation.

    2. Kelly Lee says:

      Sandra,
      Bless you for your love and faithfulness. This life can be so hard sometimes. I’m praying for your son. As you said, God knows where he is and is watching and caring for him. As moms, we carry so much in our hearts.
      Rachel, you are always in my thoughts and prayers… you and your sweet Taylor. Thank you for inspiring all of us when we are discouraged or sorrowful and being that guiding light that points to Christ.
      Blessings,
      Kelly

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