Friday, July 13, 2012

Leap Year, Forever Changed

This was intended to publish on Feb. 29, 2012.  While delayed, I felt it should still be shared.

Eight years ago today I witnessed a life-changing event that really no one should ever experience.  One of my best friends -- a childhood friend from as long as I can remember and bridesmaid (me in hers and her in mine) -- lost her three-day old baby to a heart defect that was not diagnosed until too late.  So, for two full days my friend and her husband celebrated the addition of their new, sweet, beautiful baby girl, Lily Dian.  And then the unspeakable happened.  She grew sick and passed away within hours while still at the hospital.  Agonizing, devastating, heart-wrenching are not even the words that describe such an experience.  How my friend and her husband kept it together mentally, stayed together in marriage and went on to have two wonderful, beautiful, sweet baby boys is not only a miracle but a testament to their strength as human beings.  I have said many times since then, no one should ever have to bury their child.  It is just one of those hugely unfair things in life that make you ponder God and his will.  I know my friend really did question her faith after that, who wouldn't.  And her parents (long-time friends of my parents, too) stayed strong in their dedication to God and church. 

Unfortunately, one of the most heart-wrenching moments was watching my friend and her husband kneel at the little while casket, bow their heads and mourn their loss.  And then for my friend to tell me that she shouldn't have had to dress her beautiful girl in the dress she bought for her baptism and bury her in it. 

How do you move on from this?  My friend has grown dramatically in eight years. There is a part of her heart that is gone.  She is a changed person, in fact, a little angry still, which I would be too.  But, she has grown in so many ways and I am so proud of her.  Everytime I talk to her, I think that she has found one more thing out about herself and she has given me some of the best advice about being a mom.  When I have a tough mom situation, I ask her and she always has amazing insight.  Most of you know I went on to have two daugthers and that was hard -- for her and me -- because all she really wanted was a little girl.  And now, they will get it.  They are applying to adopt a little girl from China and I am so happy for them. 

Nothing will ever replace Lily.  She lives in all of our hearts.  She has a room dedicated to her at Baptist Hospital called Lily's Room that we fundraised for so that others wouldn't suffer while in the NICU.  But as I sit here and cry, 8 years later, I never forget my friend's pain, her triumph and what it means to be a strong woman, mother, wife and friend.  I love her and this is dedicated to her. 

Today I am going to honor her even more by donating to Patrons of the Hearts an organization that helps children with heart defects.  You can donate too.

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