Jun 21, 2011

Love in Loss

There is nothing in the world more beautiful than a baby.

Maybe I'm biased. But I know I'm not alone. Every parent knows the light that a baby brings to the world.  And I've noticed people who've lived the longest or just live their life to the fullest are often the ones who see the beauty of babies with the most clarity. They see them for the gift and the miracle that they are.

And the two times that I've been blessed with new babes in my life have been filled with more joy than I ever knew was possible. And more love than I ever knew I was capable of giving or receiving.

Although sometimes brief in the rush of the day, watching a small person truly "see" the world in all of its wonder and joy is a precious gift. It helps to put life back in perspective and focus on the things that truly matter. 

I am slowly realizing that my sweet baby is no longer as deserving of the title. She is precariously close to becoming a full blown toddler. A sticky sweet smiley ball of love running around and lighting up every corner of our home is my little Gia-bear. And her joy is still as contagious as ever and my love for my once upon a time babies has snowballed into full blown self-sacrificing-would-rather-go-without-food-or-water-or-bathroom-breaks-for-the-sake-of-my-sweet-child-kind of love. And the thought, the mere thought of something happening to them makes me weak.

And then two weeks ago happened. It started out with a phone call from my dad that my oldest cousin's sweet two year old Ella was missing. She had been with her daddy and big sister Lily swimming at the lake by their house and playing on the beach and then it was time to go. Floaties off, getting shoes on, packing up, talking to Lily, then in moment Ella was gone. It was crowded there at the beach that evening. No one saw her. Her Daddy ran to the water, then to the woods, no sign of her.  Every parent's worst nightmare burdened my sweet cousin and her husband and devoted father of their girls. And divers came and hundreds scoured the woods and prayed and cried. And after 19 hours, Ella was found in the lake by her home. Three feet of water at the beach sharply dropped to a 20 foot depth and dear sweet Ella was there.

Her life was short, but so beautiful. The stories I heard at her Visitation and Celebration of Life have touched me irreversibly. She lived a life of love and joy. She knew what was most important in life and lived it gloriously. The love Ella gave is a gift that everyone who has been touched by her short life will be blessed with for the rest of their life. And her life will keep giving to her family and friends. Everyday is a gift and a blessing and love is all that matters, but it's so easy to forget. Ella was so loved and loved her family so much. Her life blessed my family and so many others and taught us gratitude in a way that only the loss can. I wish she didn't have to go, but I will never forget the love I learned from Ella. "Our hearts aren't broken. They are broken open to be filled with the love and grace of God." I know Ella is being held in the arms of her Papa in heaven. 

Please pray for Ella's family. And remember what truly matters.

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