Friday, May 15, 2015

Rest Sweetly, Abbie Rae (5 years)

On the 5th anniversary today  of our guardian angel receiving her wings, I felt it appropriate to remember her by sharing a beautiful experience we had in March. Closer family and friends know the brief of the event, but here is my perspective of the story.

June 2014, I got an email from Angie, Abbie's mom. She told me they were planning on visiting Southern California to celebrate what would have been Abbie's 8th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth and felt like she was ready to meet us if we would make the trip that way. There was no doubt in my mind, I was going to make that trip happen. After the first of the new year, I began making plans to go, but keeping cautious. I knew this was going to be abundantly difficult for Angie, her husband and daughter. I kept in the back of my mind that they may change their mind, and I think I kept that small bout of hesitation up until the day we left for California. We spoke many times about the emotions and fear we were feeling anticipating meeting, how we predicted we might feel at the moment, and so many other emotions that truly have no description for someone who hasn't been in one of our 2 places. But the minute I knew this was going to be beautiful was when she told me her daughter Lillian, Abbie's big sister, was so excited to meet Gabriella.

March 19, the day after Abbie's birthday, we packed up our rental van and headed for a Spring Break trip like nothing else we would ever experience. I planned a few activities for us, like visiting the area we lived after Gabriella's transplant, heading to our favorite aquarium in Long Beach and a visit to Santa Monica Pier. And of course, some solid beach time for my water babies! But the day we got to our destination was a day reserved for our new family.

Gabriella, PJ and I walked into the lobby of the condo's they were staying at and before I even found an elevator, a sweet little girl with a face that felt like I had known her forever asked "do you know Angie?". My sweaty eyes grew huge and I immediately hugged her and said her name, Lillian. She was happy, shy, nervous... but I could feel my heart exploding in my chest knowing everything this precious young lady has been through and how she is one of my real life heroes. She guided us up the elevator to their condo, where we were greeted, for the (not so) first time, by a man and woman who instantly felt like family. A few minutes of settling nerves, hugs and little Laila being a bit overwhelmed, we all settled in with such ease. We talked about their trip to Disneyland, happenings of life and Abbie while Angie made us a delicious dinner. We went to the rooftop to watch fireworks from the park on a night that ended too quickly.

I was able to give them a gift that day. Over 5 years that I have attempted in weak English terms to express my thanks gratitude appreciation (insert a word not yet created here) to Angie, I learned that night that the only gift I truly had to bring to them that meant anything close to what it should was Gabriella. I brought them her growing, beautiful, healthy existence.... and a stethoscope. I remember reading Angie's first letter to me, her talking about listening to her heart on the monitors in her final days and hours, and I was able to give all 3 of them a chance to hear Abbie's heart, Gabriella's heart, continue beating. I was able to show them the beauty Abbie continues to create and that she is gone from this earth but not without leaving behind a piece to live on.

I noticed immediately, which carried through that night and later in the weekend when we met up again at the beach, that Gabriella and Lillian immediately clicked. Gabriella has friends, but despite her vibrant personality with people she knows, she is very reserved and quiet in settings like school and other social gatherings. With Lillian, it was something special, unique. They were truly 'Sisters By Heart'. I cannot help but believe in the miracle of cellular memory and the connection between souls being a real living thing. I know Lillian felt close to Abbie, knowing that her heart was beating strong within Gabriella. And I know Gabriella had no understanding as to why, but that her heart felt drawn to Lillian. The heart is a physical muscle, but one would be a failure at trying to convince me that it is not an emotional existence as well. I saw before my own eyes what power the heart has, physically when it saved Gabriellas life and supernaturally as these two (not so) strangers connected like sisters in a matter of minutes.

And one of the most beautiful things I think anyone has told me was a sweet message I received from Angie after our trip: "I have to tell you meeting you guys somehow makes me feel closer with Abbie. I still miss her dearly and my heart aches, but I think some the edges of the wound are not as sharp."

I love you all, my new family!!! I cherish the time we got, and look forward to the next time we can get together!!!!





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A decade of life....

Today, the calendar proves it is Wednesday, January 14, 2015.

My schedule proves it is a normal day of waking up sleepy kids, breakfast, pack lunches, drop off kids to school, head to work, pick up kids from school, homework, dinner, bedtimes.

The weather proves it is a typical mid-January day in Arizona with a gorgeous mid-60's forecast.

All typical and well, and probably no different than the day most of you reading are having.

But do you know why my day is different? Why the calendar, schedule and weather prove irrelevant mundane facts in light of whats really happening?

Because faith, miracles and strength all prove something priceless today- life.

Gabriella is 10 years old, as of 9:57am.     And praise God for that.

I have spent the last week welling up and holding back tears. Tears of joy for the young lady she is growing into. Tears of relief that God let me keep her this long. Tears of reminiscing over the rapid acceleration of time since she came into my world. Tears of pride over the strength and perseverance she has not only shown me, but taught me as well. Tears of remembrance as I remember why I was given the last 4 years and 8 months extra. Tears of mourning for the changes and struggles faced. Tears of humility as I remember she is not mine first, but belonging to God before me. Tears of gratitude for the journey.

No words will ever be able to truly express what is in my heart, but hopefully this birthday video for Gabriella can shed a peek into the amazing decade we have had together.

Your Dad and I are beyond blessed to be your parents!! I love you, my Princess, and I cannot wait to see what the next decade has in store for you!!! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLo9kQbAoMc

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