LIFE: Given and Taken Away

 

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I haven’t written in months I know.
I have a valid excuse though. I’ve been busy birthing and caring for a new baby girl.
That’s right the little miracle I’ve written about so much is finally here and I couldn’t be more in love.
Though I’m sure I could’ve found the few minutes to write a blog or two over the past few weeks I’ve wanted to step back from the noise and focus solely on baby Grace-Lynn and being a new mom. So thanks to everyone for your patience and for standing by while we navigate this new road together.
The past two weeks have been a sort of blur. It’s passed by like no time at all and it has also dragged on like never ending day after never ending day.

2 weeks ago on 7-22-16 at 7:00pm Gracie was born. She was born perfect, healthy, and totally adorable. The 45 hours of labor I had prior to delivery was semi less adorable than the end result but totally worth it. Thankfully I’m mostly recovered and feeling great, Gracie is still perfect and healthy and if possible getting even more adorable. We’re all very grateful for each other and I personally am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be a mother to my own flesh and blood, something we never thought would happen. I’m blissfully in love and I can’t get enough of her.
It’s been an almost perfect 2 weeks.

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So what has made it not so perfect?
One week ago on 7-29-16 at 11:00am my grandmother, lovingly called Duckie, passed from this world onto the next. She had battled cancer on and off for 10 years and finally won the ultimate prize of being with Jesus for eternity. My family is shaken and saddened. I feel both completely devastated and slightly relieved. As heartbreaking as this loss is I know she is in a better place and I’m so glad she is no longer in physical pain the way she had been for so long.
Duckie had been fading for months and we all knew it but she had a goal, the goal to live long enough to meet my daughter. I’m so glad she reached her goal. The morning me and Gracie left the hospital we drove the 90 miles up the hill to get to our Duckie. I was determined to get that baby girl in Duckies arms at least once before she left us. Thank God Gracie came a few days early, it’s as if God knew we were running out of time and he wanted them to have that moment together. So Duckie got to hold Gracie, just one time, but it was all we had hoped for. Gracie cuddled up in Duckies arms and smiled a smile that most newborns are incapable of. Duckie was so happy to see me as a mom and to see that my baby girl was really here. She had a sense of accomplishment on her face as she held Gracie, as if to say “I did what I needed to do and now I can rest”.

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Before handing Gracie back to me Duckie leaned down to her and told her “engrave this in your memory, somehow remember me”.
I know Gracie won’t remember that day but I will be certain she remembers that day happened. Even if she won’t know Duckie, Duckie knew her and loved her and that’s something Gracie will know growing up. Gracie will have a copy of that picture of her Duckie loving and holding her. She will know Duckie fought with all her strength to make it long enough to give her kisses and hold her hand. I’m so grateful and proud of my Duckie for fighting as hard as she did. I’m so grateful she refused to die before Gracie was here. It doesn’t take the pain of her loss away but it lessens it just a bit.

Before leaving that day I had a few minutes with my Duck. We got to say our goodbyes and we both knew it would be our last goodbyes. We cried together, held hands and hugged. She gave me some advice that I’ll never forget, she told me to enjoy my baby girl, to have fun with her and be a fun mom. She told me change is a good thing and not to fear it. She told me to stay close to my cousin Caleb who I am so much like, she said we were the strongest and maybe the most ornery but also the most compassionate, she said we are the ones who would take care of the others when they’re in need. She told me to center my life around Jesus Christ and not try to make it with out him again. We both agreed with a small chuckle that last time I tried to live on my own it didn’t go so well. Then she told me to “go be happy” and I promised her I would do all the above.
She told my husband Shawn to take care of me and Gracie and he tearfully promised he would.
We gave her kisses and before the tears stopped we left. I hated walking away because I knew in my heart it was the last time I’d walk away from her.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced but I am certain if I didn’t have my baby Grace it would have been a million times harder.

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So within a week my family was given a new life in Grace-Lynn and my family had the life of our Duckie taken away. I’ve never felt so many massive life altering emotions in such a short time. As hard as this week has been I know God does not make mistakes and his timing is perfect. I know he bright Gracie early so Duckie could meet her. Even tough I’m so so sad I’m also comforted by the realization that what I’ve always been told is true, he gives and takes away. Why I do not know, and I wish it could be different but I’m once again choosing to live by faith in the unknown. I choose to believe this gain and loss will work together for good. I’m choosing to believe that though not on this earth my Duckie is walking this road of motherhood by my side. I choose to believe Gracie may have lost the chance to know Duckie but she has gained a guardian angel.

It’s been a heck of a week.
I’m overwhelmed with joy at the birth of my perfect baby girl. I’m broken hearted at the loss of my wonderful and strong Duckie, I loved her so much, I’m not entirely sure how to go on with out her in our lives. But regardless of the changes good or bad (Duckie told me change is a good thing right?!) I’m choosing to say it is okay.
It may be a few weeks until I write again, I have a newborn to care for and a family to help through grief. So until my next post please keep us in your prayers and know that we are learning to grow and navigate this rainy time as best as we can. Until my next post I’ll be here loving on my little princess and singing over and over again,

“As your mercy falls I praise the God who gives and takes away. And I will praise you in this storm, I will lift my hands. You are who you are no matter where I am. Every tear I’ve cried you hold in your hands, you’ve never left my side. And though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm.”

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