I struggle to know how best to celebrate her life, the 2.5 beautiful years that we had with her, without dwelling upon her death. People tell me all the time that I "need to remember her life, not her death." Well, that's a really nice thought. Truly it is. But it's not realistic. She died, she is not here anymore. To remember her life IS to remember that she died. The two cannot be separated. I cannot miss my child without recalling her death. But while all of these things are true, I do believe that there must be a balance, to remember but not to dwell upon. Therein lies one of the greatest challenges that we face at this point in our grief.
I baked a cake, I wanted it to be special for her. As I stared into the cupboard at ingredients for cake, I realized that I can't make her favorite cake because I don't even know what that would be. We tend to go pink for nearly everything where Laynee is concerned, but would pink be her color? Truth is, while we all loved to doll her up in girly things, this one was about as un-dainty as a girl could get. In the end, I decided it really didn't matter and went with pink. Jim came home and asked "are you making Laynee's favorite dinner?" He asked because that is what we do on birthdays. But because it was a gorgeous, warm, sun shiny day I grilled out, not for Laynee, but for those who are still here. Her grave site glitters and sparkles tonight with hearts and butterflies and birthday hats, all put there to remember the life of the little girl who lit up our world.
In addition to today being Laynee's birthday, the past several days have been filled with sad and devastating news. Our little community seems to get hit hard by devastation and I can't help asking "Why?" "Why, God?" A young father of three, and a fourth baby on the way, with an inoperable tumor on his spine. A wonderful father, a man of God and he and his wife are faced with decisions that have no easy answers, options with no great outcomes. And I wonder, how, even in the big picture that I cannot see does, this make sense. And tonight news came of another, this one from our church family, also young, too young for such a diagnosis. His body is ravaged by cancer. Months of treatment, countless prayers, but the cancer has grown and multiplied. Then another, a man who has seen his children and even his grandchildren raised, but his tests come back "NO sign of cancer spreading." I rejoice and I praise God for this result but still I wonder. "Why?' Prayers have gone up on behalf of all these men. Why are the requests of some granted but not of others?
There are no answers and for those of you who are prepared to send me emails or comments or messages (because I know there are many thinking this very thing) telling me that "we can't question God." That "his ways are higher than our ways." Don't. I'll save you the trouble. I already know. I know, on a cerebral level, that His ways are perfect. I know that God is good and that he does good. I know that God is a god of love and mercy and compassion and that "all things work together for good" I know all of these things in my head and, on good days, even in my heart. I know it but I cannot understand. I cannot understand why children are abused and unloved, all over the world, but my child is not here to celebrate her fifth birthday with those who love her desperately.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I still will not understand but I will whisper "I trust you God. I know that you love me enough to die for me, and I trust you"
Although the fig tree shall not blossom
neither shall fruit be in the vines,
the labour of the olive shall fail
and the field shall yield no meat
the flock shall be cut of from the fold
and there shall be no herd in the stall
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakuk 3:17,18, 19