Is that even possible?
Did this even happen to us??
It's a strange thing to be on the other side of grief -- to be restored, to feel grateful for a journey that had left you broken and at times, unable to breathe.
But that's exactly where we are. Restored, and grateful.
We had never really planned on talking much about Shalom Hope - but as Mattias had already been born, and as it was a therapeutic process for us - he knew of her from the beginning. He was the one who told Josiah. And Josiah? Well, he told Katia. I remember that day clearly ... him sitting at the breakfast table, munching on food, telling Katia that she had a big sister in Heaven -- as her eyes grew big. She must've only been two. I couldn't stop it ... the words were said so quickly, so out-of-the-blue.
If anything, Katia expresses the most sadness about not having a big sister. Yet other times, she will talk about her sister-in-heaven with huge pride. Again - we hadn't planned on sharing Shalom's story with them until they were older ... but, we are hoping that the dialogue has been helpful. The kids like to ask questions about the experience every now and then.
Yesterday, Mattias asked if we could go see the Christmas Lights -- like we used to on Shalom's birthday. That kinda shocked me, to say the least. We haven't done that for years -- not even since Katia's been born, I think.
The tradition of Christmas Lights started the very day Shalom was born. I remember wanting to escape everything about our lives. For me, our home SCREAMED of the absence of our baby girl ... I needed to get out. And it was a beautiful night, with snow coming down. We packed up Mattias in a stroller, and walked around the neighbourhood. It was a beautiful escape.
We did that for years on December 17th.
And then ... at some point - it just felt ... strange. So we stopped.
But tonight, we will go as a family. We may or may not talk about Shalom. The kids may ask their typical questions ... how old would she be, which sibling she'd like the most, would she have long hair ... but it'll be a family night. It will be a good night - and hopefully the rain will hold off.
If you don't know our story ... if you're curious about our experience ... I'm posting link for you to head to. It was written years ago - and part of me wants to update it, as it wasn't exactly written the best. But - I'm going to leave it, as I vividly remember writing those words. It was so helpful for me.
Our story of Shalom Hope can be found HERE.
I'd like to close with the lyrics of a very old choir song. It was sung when I was a little girl, sleeping under the church pews. I was reminded of these words during a conversation this week ... it seems fitting, because I believe it is so true. It's called "Praise the Lord" by Russ Taff. If you've never heard it, well that' because it's an oldie for sure. I found a random version of it on Youtube, sung by Russ and the Gaither choir. It's hugely nostalgic for me , and I find that I turn into a 4 year old instantly when I close my eyes ... picking gum off the bottom of the pew *smile*.
You can watch and listen HERE to the song if you wish, but if you do -- please take those few moments and listen to the whole thing. It makes me cry every time ... the lyrics are absolute truth. I can testify to that.