"An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to remain silent." Edmund Burke
While planning Shyla’s service, my husband and I asked that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to our local Pregnancy Care Center. After we took the donations to the center, the co-directors of the HELP (Hold Each Life Precious) Center asked if we would share our testimony at their 1st annual fundraising banquet.
The banquet was held last night. Over the past few weeks I tried to put the words I would say onto paper, with little luck. Every time I would sit down to write, the words would just not come. I prayed that God would give me the words to speak. I prayed that no word would leave my mouth that would not give glory to Him and be a witness to others.
I had many friends and family there to support me. Before I spoke, a lady sang the song “Beauty for Ashes”. I could not help but smile. That is exactly what those donations made in Shyla’a name were. Beauty for ashes.
As I made my way to the stage, I prayed again that my words would be God’s words. I gave the crowd of about 200 a brief personal history of my husband and I and how our family began. I then explained that with my job as a school social worker, I refer students to the center and see how needed this is needed in our community. I told them about the day I met with the ladies who birthed the center to talk about services they offer and telling them I just had found out I would be having my second child in November. I told my story of loss and how even though this was the worst experience of my life, I never felt as if God left my side. I AM BLESSED. I explained how my husband and I decided to share our blessings by blessing others. I read the lyrics to “Bring the Rain” by MercyMe and I shared my daughter’s footprints and the quote that is framed with them. “No foot is so small it cannot leave an imprint on this world.” Then I thanked everyone who had a part in making the center a reality. The center has helped Shyla leave her footprints on this world in a very real way.
After the banquet, a woman came up to me and wanted to share her story. Many years ago, she lost her baby and doctors advised her that she should adopt if she wanted to have children. She took their advice and began the process of adoption. When the process was complete and they had their adopted baby in their arms, they were also four months pregnant. They delivered that baby safely. Within five months they had two babies, one adopted and one natural. Doubly blessed. One of her children was my English teacher during my senior year of high school.
Many people thanked me for sharing my story. A lady who works at the school with me told me today that even though my story was sad, it ended with hope. They encouraged me that they were not sad when I left that stage, but full of hope.
I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but, I had a breakthrough. I am a different person today. I can honestly day I felt JOY today. It was like the sun has broken through the clouds and the warmth has wrapped around me. There was nothing especially exciting about this day, except I could not get the smile off my face. I talked about Shyla without wanting to run from the room and cry. The lump in my throat was not there when something was brought up in conversation about my leave or my dear daughter…there was only joy. Some one asked about her and I was not afraid of breaking down. I talked and I did not avoid eye contact. I laughed and did not feel guilty. I praised God and did not cry.
On Monday, Shyla’s headstone was delivered. I took a break from work and went to the cemetery to see how it looked. The ground was still broken and sad. The rock looked great. A beautiful pink gerbera daisy graced the front beneath her name and the image of baby’s footprints are on the back with the quote I mentioned before. There is also a little footstone with a dragonfly on it. That day I sat in the dirt and cried. Honestly, I wanted to lay there beside her and not get up. With the crumbled ground over her tiny plot I wondered if the earth could just open and swallow me up. I felt that would be less painful than sitting there at that moment reading my baby’s name on a headstone.
Fast forward to today…my mother and grandmother wanted to see the headstone. So after work, I met them and my husband and son at the cemetery. It was such a beautiful day today. Warm and sunny. I had a completely different attitude about the stone today. I saw such beauty in her name. I love to see it written and to say it aloud. Her pink daisy was beautiful and the footprints on the back look so much like hers, I just had to smile. My little boy looked over the rock and gave it his approval. He saw it yesterday, but he had to tell me again today he thought it was pretty.
Like I said, I think I have had a breakthrough. I’m not saying that the clouds are gone, but the sun is definitely shining through!