I could have sworn I've blogged about Rebekah Joy. I've been through this whole blog and while stopping occasionally to read a bit here and there from long forgotten posts, I never found one blog post about her. Bizarre.
There have been mentions here and there with assumptions that y'all know who and what I am talking about but lo and behold, I've not seen anything formal about her.
I'm not going to start a blog about her. I normally would but I'm too emotional tonight. It's been a long, long time since I've been emotional about Rebekah's death 17 years ago. I was trying to remember why I was rarely emotional and I think I've realized that the Gman was always so incredibly out of sorts that I felt like I had to keep my composure. That hasn't happened this year, I wonder how much Elli has had to do with that. Maybe it's just been time.
Having a dead child is sorta strange. Mostly, I think, because none of us think we will ever be THAT family. You know, THAT family with a dead baby, or THAT family with a murdered child, or THAT family fighting cancer... it's always someone else's family.
Seventeen years later, I walk by the large piece of art (for lack of a better term) that I had made to mount Rebekah's pictures and gifts etc in, and shake my head. I stare at those things, things that I've seen every day for many years, and still think, "I can't believe I have a dead daughter."
I think about that in such a shockingly sad way because I rarely have the time to just sit and stare and take in the reality of WHERE she is.
When I do take the time to THINK, I am no longer sad - at all. I actually think it's pretty awesome. I actually think - "well, wouldn't a really GOOD mother want her daughter to live in GLORY with the King?" I remind myself that she is having the best life of any of us and that there's nothing sad about her life.
I wonder what she's thinking as she observes all that her family is up to right now? I wonder if she laughs because she is privy to so much that we aren't and I wonder if she shakes her head and laughs at things we think or do or say because she knows what's about to happen? I wonder if she even spends time at all looking at us or is she busy doing the work God has her doing and realizes that we will be together soon enough?
This week 2 adoptive families held their dying children in their arms and said one last "I love you". Six people died in the Gulf because the tides were stronger than they thought. Hundreds of children all over the world left the arms of their parents for eternity in one way or another. It is tragic. All of it is tragic. The broken heart that death, especially the death of a child, leaves behind is unlike any other.
"Your past doesn't define you." is what was said in our Lifegroup class this past Sunday. That is true, it sure doesn't have to. But, as I countered, how we respond to our past DOES define us. It defines exactly what we believe and in WHOM we believe in.
I am sad tonight because I carried a little girl inside of me for almost 9 mos and never got a chance to mother her. I was created to mother her. There is something forever missing. Much of our lives, at least each June 11th will be defined by whatever "stage" of life Rebekah Joy would have been in had she lived.
I rarely cry about living apart from her anymore though. I have 5 other children that I need to define myself for. Much of what they believe to be true of their Heavenly Father will come from how I handle the things - good and bad, happy and sad, that "life" throws at me. They NEED to see that life and it's hardships are not a match for an unwavering and firm trust in the Sovereignty of God.
There was time for mourning. That was long ago and far away. I have long ago since determined what I'm going to do with my tragedies. We all need to make some decisions about our tragedies. How we are going to be defined by them...
I suppose I will realize the definition of "me" soon enough.
Happy Birthday Rebekah Joy.... we love you from afar but know that one day we will be together.