She died this day that year,
and on Sunday we will celebrate
the day she was born.
Again with the backwards of it all.
And it will always be backwards.
The finality of it still catches in my throat
like a lump of dirt that I still can’t swallow.
Brothers request a cake and a party and we will miss and cry
and be grateful for what is.
And we will have cake.
They cry today missing her,
even while holding her sister,
and I ask myself again how they could feel what I feel so strongly
when they weren’t there.
But they are of my blood and so much of me that I know.
They feel like they were there.
I can’t recall how much I’ve even shared of her special day.
(I can’t bring myself to read her birth story today, but if you’d like to it’s here.)
It isn’t anything but perfect and beautiful in my memory.
That day when, for some mystical reason I don’t fully understand,
we got time with our daughter.
Her spirit was with us.
I can’t adequately explain it to you, it’s just real.
I’m a dreamer, but I don’t make things up.
I think about how we don’t know the logistics of what exactly takes place
when a soul passes on.
When do things exactly take place? What does it look like?
We won’t know until we go through it.
And sometimes we wonder about babies that die -
do they go to be with God as a baby?
My children ask me this constantly.
What age will Mabel be when we get to see her someday?
They assume God is feeding her and she is growing, just not here with us.
But when we had that time on that glorious and terrible day that I had no idea how I’d survive but I did and we do – it was just 4 short hours.
Only 4 hours with Mabel, and we got to speak to her, tell her our dreams…but here’s the thing…
we were not talking to a baby.
It was our daughter, but it wasn’t baby talk coming out of our mouths.
I can’t tell you an “age” because there wasn’t one.
She just was.
And we told her how she was loved, already missed.
That she had changed us and we’d be better people because of her.
How she taught us how to really love.
How to really pray.
That I am her mother, that I got to birth her, it’s too honorable for words.
That she passed that threshold, the place where the veil thins
and we feel the holy ground soften beneath our toes –
birth is that threshold, as much as dying is.
Mabel crossed one before the other, but changed how we saw life forever.
My experience shaped my belief,
and how I see this world and the next,
but didn’t change what I know of God.
That all things are for my story, and on purpose and don’t always make sense.
This little girl, whose neck I’m smelling today
and whose eyes light up when I simply look her way.
Whose passage over the birth threshold was also a moment of the veil thin and my heart bursting and my mind blown.
She brings with her secret gifts, locked away in her soul that will slowly be revealed and unlocked and presented as she gets older.
It’s humbling having daily epiphanies about life, but I try and write them each down for her. I have secrets about the world that I wonder if only she will understand them the exact way I do. My boys are so tender and so tapped in to the beating pulse of the earth and life and they shape me in ways I never expected – but they hold special gifts only their dad will know and feel and live.
God makes children so specifically for us, each of them.
I have two daughters, one I get to raise and another who waits for us to join her. I like to believe she doesn’t actually have the sensation of “waiting”, but rather that she simply wakes and it’s all over and we are all there and it’s all the next chapter.
All those before us are risen, too,
and we His people
with anticipation and joy,
cry no longer for the missings of love
and that world which we ache for.
Our true home.
For Mabel, today, I continue my daily grind because I have to.
We miss her none the lesser and watch her sister grow
with the memory of Mabel about her head like a delicate crown of perfect purpose.
The one here, the one other.
Rest comes from truth and leaning into it and holding it above all else.
I will sleep well tonight.