For many months I have puzzled over the fact that we had not a single picture in our posession of Laynee's second Christmas nor her second birthday. This brought much anguish as they were not only her second Christmas and birthday, they were her last. The knowledge that she only got to experience two of these joyful events brings a sickening twist to my stomach. I had searched through piles of photos, discs, flash drives, and computer files, always coming up empty handed. Those who know me well, know that I am always taking pictures. If anyone needs pictures of an event that I attended, it's almost a guarantee that I will have some. After searching endlessly for these pictures, I had taken to tormenting myself for my own failure. I loathed the only explanation I could come up with; that in the busyness of life and the hubbub of 6 children, I had forgotten to take pictures of these two very special dates in Laynee's tragically short life. Words cannot describe the sorrow I felt for not having something tangible to help me remember those special lasts.
As you might have already guessed, last week I found the coveted pictures. This Christmas Jim bought me a wonderful photo printer so that I can process my own pictures. Having set it up on the desk in our basement, I headed down to print some pictures. The computer there is one that was not included in the sale of Java Junction. The kids use it for school work and there are a few Java files saved as a business precaution. I never even think to use that computer for anything. With flash drive in hand, I set out to upload the photos I wanted to print but noticed that there was a file of photos. A bit confused as to why there would be photos on the old Java computer, I opened the file. There, before my eyes, appeared photo after photo of my sweet, beautiful and missing baby. My hands shook as I realized that I was seeing Laynee's last Christmas and birthday, the events I so desperately wanted to remember.
As so often happens since Laynee left us, I was flooded with an onslaught of conflicting emotions. I was overjoyed to realize that I didn't forget to take these pictures and even more elated to find them. Soul seering agony tore through me as I longed to have her here with me once more. I was awed by God's timing, that he should give me this gift on these difficult days leading up to her second birthday in heaven. My breath caught as my eyes took in how stunningly beautiful this child of mine was. I felt humbled for having been her mother and, at the same time, cheated that she was taken too soon.
There, amidst the photos are 6 beautiful videos of Laynee in action. As, one by one, I viewed the videos, my heart felt like it was being ripped from my chest with longing for her. Some of the things that I so desperately missed were captured. One of the videos was of her last Christmas morning. She had received a sing a long CD with our favorite song "Daisy, Daisy." I always changed the words to "Laynee, Laynee......give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you." Laynee and I danced and danced to this song but in this particular clip, I am filming while Jade dances with Laynee in her arms. Jade and Laynee's faces are filled with joy; the innocent, carefree joy that our family once knew. I'm singing into the microphone and it's quite hideous but I can deal with that to see the pure happiness of two of my girls who loved endlessly. There are videos of how she loved her baby dolls and how she walked with one arm swinging behind her. There is one in which she had a few tears, which was so rare for this precious child. It makes me sad to see that always happy face, turned upside down, yet in some strange way I'm thankful that I have it. There is one of Brock and Laynee "chasing" and my heart slammed into my chest with the awareness that it this was the game she was playing with Jade and Garrett when the fatal miscommunication took place. There are videos of her annoying Moise and he, in turn, pushing her aside. They capture her smile, her sounds, her expressions, all the things that we loved so much in our little girl. They are a treasure, worth more than all of the things that money can buy. These pictures and videos tell a story, the main point being that this child was so very happy here, in our home. She loved her life here on earth.
I have no idea how these pictures came to be on that computer. I do, however, have suspicions that I could not get them uploaded onto my own computer, for whatever reason, and took them into my office at work. My dear employee and young friend, Coryell, who was always so patient with my technological impairment, very likely uploaded the photos without even glancing at them. The how and why of this situation is unimportant. I have them now and will cherish them for the rest of my days. I know that moments of discovery, such as this one, are dwindling. The little unexpected findings have become few and far between and soon will cease to occur. There are no more treasures hiding in unknown places. The pictures and mementos that we have in our possesson now will have to sustain us until we see her again. And so........for now, I will ration these beautiful photos and share them a few at a time. My heart bleeds, my eyes swell because I know that these are the last little pieces of Laynee that I will have the pleasure of sharing with you.
Look closely lest you miss the sparkle and joy that exuded from my precious child. Surely, heaven is made brighter by her presence. It has to be!!!!!!
In the picture below, even though she's turned
away, you can see her joy. It is there in the rise of her
cheeks and crinkle of her beautiful almond eyes
Stunningly, achingly beautiful and radiant
This one hurts my heart. Laynee and her papaw Glueck.
Oh how she loved her Papaw . I think he liked her too
Her first baby. It had a passy that she loved to shove,
none to gently, into poor baby's mouth
Daddy bought her a princess sleeping bag and night mask.
Her face looks "goopy" becasue whenever we were home
we coated her face with an ointment to combat dry, chapped
This book from grandma Holmes was her favorite. It had
soft, fuzzy ducks and kittens. It was this book that I tucked in beside
her before the casket was closed.
This photo is fuzzy and yet it's there. The joy and happiness
that Laynee brought to our home is there in the smiles and eyes of my
children. How we adored her.