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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Caroline's Butterflies

    Yesterday we celebrated Caroline's second birthday. It was a day filled with so much emotion, lots of healing tears, and many laughs and smiles. I am so thankful that it turned out to be a day of remembering her life, and all the joy that she brought into my life. It was a day to miss her more than ever before. It was a day to cry, because sometimes there just aren't the right words. It was a day to talk about her, and to think about what could have been. It was a day to celebrate her beauty, and the impact her life has made on so many. It was a day of sadness, and a day of joy. It was a day to hug Noah just a little bit tighter, and whisper "I love you" just a million times more. It was a day to spend with family, and to remember with them. It was a day to feel blessed, oh so incredibly blessed, by the outpouring of love and prayers.
     From the very bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you. My phone was filled with texts and phone calls, sharing so much love and encouragement! We received beautiful flowers, which brightened up the day! Thank you for all the kind Facebook messages, and for taking the time to read my blog posts. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me yesterday, to everyone who spoke her name, took the time to pray for us, and to offer us words of love and support. I cannot even begin to say how much it all meant. Thank you to each of you! It was yesterday when I realized, that Caroline will not be forgotten. There are so many beautiful people who love her so much, and who are willing to help us remember her in the most beautiful of ways. Thank you for helping us to remember her! Losing a baby is so incredibly painful, difficult, and life changing, but from a mommy's heart who knows and understands, I can tell you that just helping to share her story, and to speak her name, makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for helping to making yesterday so special. Thank you for remembering our sweet Caroline Joy!

    Last night, as the sun started to set, Josh and I and Noah had a picnic by Caroline's special place. It was a beautiful summer night, one that makes you thankful to live in Michigan! As we sat there talking, and enjoying being together, I saw a beautiful butterfly fluttering nearby. Ever since we lost Caroline, I have always had a special appreciation for butterflies. They make me think of her, fluttering around in Heaven. I think about her every time I see a white butterfly flying around. I am so thankful that God sends those perfect little reminders to me, which always bring a smile to my face.
     In honor of Caroline, and her second birthday, we had a special plan for the night. Butterflies. Beautiful Butterflies. Lots of Beautiful Butterflies. 
One of the greatest fears with losing Caroline, is that she will be forgotten. I never want people to forget her life. That she did exist. That she did live, and that she did fight. That her life was valuable, precious. I want her story, and her life to be remembered, and honored. I know that when we first learned of her diagnosis, that she was not going to live for long,  we had to make the difficult visit to the cemetery. As I held my stomach tighter, where my sweet baby was safe inside, I remember walking through the cemetery, looking at the headstones. Such a cruel cruel moment, to feel my living baby moving inside, and yet be planning ahead for her death. It seemed terrible, like I was being tortured. But as we walked around the headstones, we noticed many small graves, with precious writing etched carefully into the stone. Babies. Children. All young. Different dates. Different stories. But precious, precious lives. Lost too soon. So last night, we placed butterflies on the headstones of those babies, and of those children. So many. It was so eye opening, to think of all the babies who never got to experience their first birthday. Josh and I, and our wonderful parents, wondered together at each of their stories. We looked at the dates, and said their sweet names. In my heart, I wondered, about their parents. They too had to face the unimaginable, burying a child, a baby, before they were buried themselves.
     Last night was tough, to think about all the sadness in this world. About all of the hurt, and of the pain and sadness. Of how unfair it all seems to be. Yet in the midst of it all, those brightly colored butterflies stood out. They stood as a symbol of hope, of love, and of peace. It felt right to honor those babies, those children, by placing a butterfly near their precious names. It felt right to think about them, to say their names, and to talk about it. It felt right to honor Caroline on her birthday, by honoring other babies who are also in Heaven.
     My hope is that if a mom, or a dad comes to visit the special place, where their baby or child is buried, that they will see that brightly colored butterfly. I hope they will realize that their baby is not forgotten, but so so loved. That they will be remembered!
     It was a perfect way to end such a special day. The day that our baby girl turned 2 years old. We pray that she had a very special celebration in Heaven, and that she knows that we had a special celebration for her here on earth as well. My heart is full, knowing that my Caroline is so loved, and so thought of, by so many. And my hope is that we can countinue the butterfly tradition, to spread some hope, the hope that we have through our Heavenly Father. Happy second Birthday Caroline Joy! We love you!

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

                                               By Laura Story

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