Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Year Later

It's been a year now since we had our precious Cayla Joy.  When a milestone like a 1st birthday of a baby in heaven approaches, there's no telling how each person will face it or handle it.  I was obviously not anticipating celebrating this day, but still very unsure how it would effect me and my family.  Without saying much, many have just been giving extra hugs, cards, notes, verses, and other tangible evidence of their love and support over the last week or so. Plus, many have quietly prayed for us and for God to give us His perfect comfort through this time, and He has.  I think many have tried not to talk about it to be sensitive to where we're at.  Problem is, I don't know where I'm at.  I thought I'd be weepy and who knows what, but I was wrong.  Then I thought, well, maybe I'm just repressing my emotions (not something I'm known for), or in denial somehow (not usually me either).  But, no.  I think I'm just simply loving the memories of a year ago, wishing to be back there in the midst of all the excitement and wonder of having another baby after so many years.  I have been reliving it all, and the memories that are coming to me are the feelings of how my world (as my life was at the time) came to a screeching halt when I had Cayla.  Whether I wanted to or not, my focus became little Miss Cayla Joy.  Okay, now I'm crying just typing this out.

That day a year ago was one of the highlights of my life.  I never thought we'd ever get the privilege to have another baby, but God gave Cayla Joy to us.  That in itself is enough to blow me away in it's magnitude.  There is nothing that quite compares to having a baby.  It's in a category all by itself.  It's one of life's most incredible moments.  September 20, 1995 and April 24, 2012, will always be up near the top of the list of my life's most amazing days.  I was so excited, so looking forward to actually holding her and touching her to make it all real.

I could go on, but it will probably make me cry again, and you get the point.  This time last year was something I'd love to remember over again, and brings thoughts and feelings that I really can't even describe. I even feel at times that I'd love to go back to Cleveland Clinic just to see, smell and feel it all again.  Out of the 60 days she lived, 35 were at the hospital.  So, as I relive this week from last year, it's all good.  I've laughed, smiled, dreamed, and I felt very blessed for being given such a precious gift.

I'm not grieving like I thought I would.  As we were going through pictures of those first couple of days, we were looking at things we didn't notice before and were telling stories and memories.  There's tears, but more smiles.  I'm thinking that June 22nd might be a different story, but only time will tell.

I do want to thank everyone who's praying for us.  I give God the glory for making this week a good one when by all estimations, it shouldn't be.  God is faithful in keeping His promises.  There's just no getting around it.  God's as real and a part of our lives as the nose is on my face.  He really did give her to us for His purposes, and if that means that many of us were made to think about where we stand with God and what we're doing with our lives, then I pray her life was worth it.

Yesterday morning, April 24th, I opened my Bible and did the "open and point your finger" thing.  I found myself in I Corinthians 15. My eye was drawn to some verses I'd underlined.  Verses 14-18 were right what God had for me to read.  We celebrated Jesus' resurrection a few weeks ago on Easter.  If He had not risen from the dead, then the entire Bible, God, preaching about it and our faith is all in vain.  Verses 17 and 18 say,
"And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins,
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."

If Jesus hadn't rose again, I'd have no hope of seeing Cayla again.  Through David's example with his baby that died, these little ones that are not old enough to understand, are His and with Him in Heaven.  This verse says that if Jesus' resurrection isn't real, none of us can go to Heaven when we die, and we will all perish and spend eternity in hell, a lake of fire.  BUT, Jesus DID rise from the dead and we DO have His promise that those who've put their faith in Him and believe, "asleep" or alive, will NOT perish but be in Heaven with Him.  I don't know I'll see Cayla again because I hope I will or think I will because that's what I want to have happen.  I know I'll see Cayla again because Jesus Christ rose from the dead and everything He says in His Word, the Bible, is 100% true.  That, is what Jesus gave me yesterday morning!  Isn't that just awesome?!  

After I called Samuel in and we read through I Corinthians 15:1-18 together and talked about sharing our faith as it's laid out in verses 3 and 4 and then going on to the power in Jesus Christ's resurrection, we were ready for the day.  I have mentioned before that Cayla was born on Mrs. Emery's birthday (our Pastor's wife).  They were unable to have children, and when we realized that these 2 would share a birthday, I thought that was pretty special.  I was thinking about this last weekend and didn't want Mrs. Emery's birthday to have a negative feeling associated with it.  So, I thought I should have her over for lunch that day.  Then I thought I can't hog her all to myself, so I thought I'd give her a surprise party that morning at my house.  It was the perfect thing to do, and as I look back, I feel that God put this thought in my head to do this.  For one, I got to plan a birthday party, even if it wasn't Cayla's.  I quietly told whoever I saw Sunday (sorry if I missed someone, but I couldn't announce it and this was kind of last minute).  There were 13 of us here and yes, we did manage to surprise her. Yay!  It was such a beautiful time of fellowship and just what I needed with such sweet people loving me in so many ways.  I am a blessed woman!  I didn't have the time to write yesterday, so I put as my status on facebook that I was feeling loved.  

After everyone left around 2, my sister and I talked for almost an hour and a half.  I haven't had such a wonderful, uplifting, talk with her that was that long in a while.  I think we both needed it.  I love you Kathy!!!  Then I fell asleep on the couch for about an hour before getting ready to pick up Lowell from work.  My brother John called me the night before, and I had a really good talk with him and then I got to talk to his wife Lisa last night too!  Jim and Marla called me while we were at the cemetery and I'll catch her tomorrow.  I love my family.  All of them on my side and Lowell's.  They have been there with us through all of this, and I know we wouldn't be where we are without all their support and love!  

Yesterday, when we went to pick up Lowell, it was raining when we left the house, sleeting by the time we picked him up, and a yucky, muddy mess with umbrellas by the time we arrived at the cemetery.  Of course Tuesday was an absolutely gorgeous day when Lowell and I stopped by Kelly's Gardens to get some pansies for Cayla's graveside.  We did take the flowers and actually left them there.  Lowell' mom and sister Cathie came with Tyler and Sheylyn with their flowers too.  I'd like to say it was a beautiful little moment there, remembering our precious Cayla Joy, but with the weather and mud and all, it was hard to stop and think.  We almost sang Happy Birthday to her, but even that didn't seem to fit.  (Although I did hear that Cayla's cousins in Florida got together on their own and sang Happy Birthday to her.)  :o)  I guess we should have tried after all.  Oh well, it wasn't quite what we were hoping for, but we definitely will never forget this precious baby girl.   Some very dear friends sent us a gift card to Applebee's to let us know they were remembering Cayla with us (so blessed!).  So we went afterwards to dinner with Lowell's mom and had a really nice time talking and remembering and telling stories.  She was such a huge part of all that went on last year being there with us through it all.  Love you mom, so very, very much!  You will never know how much you and Joe mean to us.  I can't put it in words.  Just know you're loved so much!  

I suppose I need to wind down here.  It's now 11:20 pm and I'm definitely ready for bed.  Through all of this, I've realized that I forgot to order Samuel's graduation announcements.  I set them up and got them ready on Shutterfly, but then never finished and bought them.  They even make it so easy to do, I just was waiting for what, I don't know.  So hopefully they will get here soon and I can send them out.  He's graduating June 1st, which is just around the corner and then his open house is the following Saturday, June 8th.  So, I have much to do to keep me busy and out of trouble, I hope.  Between Samuel's graduation, some tutoring, and helping to organize the Ashtabula County Prayer Breakfast with Sandi Patty May 10th, I'll have lots to keep me from sitting around moping or feeling sorry for myself and all that good stuff.  

Thanks for all the love, prayers, encouragement, hugs, and cards!  We truly are blessed by all of you and by our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ!  We could do nothing with out Him!  I'll do a post later with some pictures.  Too tired to download them right now, but I'll close out with a sweet picture of Cayla and me exactly one year ago when she was a day old.  Missing and loving my sweet, precious girl!


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. She was a beautiful baby. I love doing the open the Bible and point thing, too.