To read Lenah's story from the beginning, just go to the side bar under blog archive and start reading from May 2013.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lenah's Headstone




This weekend marked two months since Lenah passed away. I ordered her headstone today.  I am  missing her so much.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Month Update

Wednesday marked one month since Lenah's passing. Goodness, how I miss her.


The first week she was gone seemed like a month or more. Time seems to be running at “normal” speed now.


Last Friday was an emotional day for me. I had been to visit Lenah's grave (with my dear friend Sallie) only once since her burial. We pass by every time we leave the farm to go to town, but I had not actually walked out into the cemetery. Friday afternoon I decided to walk out to visit her grave. On the way there I was pre-reading a book that I plan read aloud to my children, and a new character named Lena was introduced. (I was on the second or third book in the series.) The character goes on to become the children's aunt. There aren't so many Lenas in children's books. Then, I stopped to check the mailbox before I crossed the road to the cemetery. Inside, there was a letter from the children of the family that were also present at Lenah's burial. I sat on one of the sawed sections of a large tree that my father had cut when he cleared the land and later placed around Lenah's grave and I opened the letter.


This was inside:





I knew that all of this was not just some coincidence. I know that Lenah looks forward to seeing us again.




We are still staying at my parents farmhouse for the time being. Our being here has been so timely for so many reasons. James has been having to teach night classes as two of his instructors each had personal situations to attend to . James has not has to teach night classes for about seven years. It has worked out very well for us to be here in the country. James will also be able to pay off large amount of our personal debt which is a blessing as well. Sometimes I am just so surprised by the providence of God. I probably shouldn't be, but I am. I had been praying about whether we were to stay here or go back to Houston. I am now quite sure that at least for the time being, we are supposed to be here. If we had gone back to Houston we would have missed this:



 Those of you that live further north are probably yawning right now, but for my Texas Gulfcoast kiddos this was a cause for great excitement.  They loved playing in the snow.  Everybody got some kind of mild congestion/cough thing afterwards but that was probably really from our trip to town last week.  We also now have a fully stocked freezer full of snowballs waiting for the stifling heat of July or August.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The League of Bereaved Mothers





 One week ago today, I joined a special sisterhood.  A certain sorority in which I never sought membership – The League of Bereaved Mothers. Membership is exclusive and the dues are very costly. We hold our induction ceremonies in a variety of locations: hospital rooms, on busy roadways, poolside, in farm fields, really anywhere a mother might find her child. Or anywhere a mother might NOT want to find her child. I know there are those of you that have been members much longer than I have. Please feel free to share any pearls of wisdom you have found along the way. Those of you that are not members, I pray you never find yourself inducted.


We don't have lapel pins or t-shirts with Greek letters. Instead, you might identify us by the lines of grief around our eyes or that tear you see in the corner of our eye as we watch you with your child that reminds us of the one we lost.


We might like to share information about our club with you, but we fear that look in your eye. The look people get when the crazy lady who lost a child starts to talk about that child. About that journey. About that loss.


We're really not trying to recruit you.


I promise.


And if one of our members starts to tell you about her membership, probably the best thing you can respond to them with is “I'm so sorry”.


You see, we hate this club. We'd all like to revoke our membership. We'd all like to mail our member's card back and demand a refund. But that's just not possible. Membership is for a lifetime, irrevocable, and non-refundable.


For those that are willing, membership can have benefits. You can learn to love others better, especially any other children you have. You can enjoy the life you currently have better than you did before. For our members, other possible traumas in life seem to pale by comparison and that can be very freeing.

 
 My own induction a week ago seems more like it was a month ago- or two.  I have not felt as I imagined I would.  I thought I would be groaning and wailing.  I thought I would cry until I had no tears left.  I have cried, but not an unending, hopeless wailing.  I grieved so much from the time of Lenah's initial diagnosis and with each subsequent negative diagnosis that I think I may have used up a lot of my grief (if that's possible) even before she was actually gone. It is more probable that the Lord has just been very gracious to me and has supernaturally comforted me in a way that has made this time much more bearable.





 The most difficult thing for me this past week has been to have to answer Sarah's questioning every day.

 "Where's Weenah".

"Do you remember ? Lenah's body was very sick and it stopped working.  Do you remember? She stopped breathing and she died and her body turned cold. Do you remember?  We put her body in that box and put it in the ground."

"Oh yeah, Weenah's dead. "

Sometimes she cries and sometimes she doesn't.  Sometimes she forgets again in the same day and asks if we are going to see Lenah at the "hoffital".  Sometimes I wish I could forget as she does.

Restore

New Year's morning I was praying and asking the Lord what my word for the year was and I heard and felt "restore". I thought at first that I might have just been hoping that would be my word for the the year. But then just a few minutes later, this post showed up from my friend Lori on facebook. I knew immediately that it was confirmation from the Lord. I am sharing it here, because I think there may be others that the Lord is whispering this to as well.

Last year's word was "Love". The Lord showed his love to us so clearly over the tragedy and trial of the last year with Lenah. I also believe He helped me to love my family better. I certainly am more in love with my husband after this past year.

This is the post I read:


I hear Him whisper...

"I will restore you. Do not be afraid to follow Me into the unknown, for I am the one who leads you on and restores your life. I have placed within you My glorious treasure, and I care for you. This year will be a year of restoration in your life. You will end this year restored in My love, strengthened in My grace, and surrounded with songs of joy. And your joy will be shared by angels, for they are with you My child, they walk beside you guarding your life and preparing the way.

"I will restore you. Never limit Me. I will restore your family and those you love, they will see Me in your life and know that I am the One who gives back to you what has been lost. Don't doubt My grace that is enough for you and for your family.

"I say to you, I will restore you and provide for you in ways that will reveal My heart of love. My mercy brings gifts and surprises and supplies all that you need. There will always be provision for your needs, and in My mercy I will reveal where you can find Me, for this will be the season of abundant supply for every need you have.

"I will restore your mind and your heart as you come before Me. Crooked things will be made straight within you. For everything I do for you I do inside your heart, healing your spirit and soothing your soul. Come and find My heart and I will restore your heart. Greater passions will rise within you to feast upon My Word and drink of My Spirit. The hunger I give you will bring you deeper into My grace and My love for you.

"I will restore you and your dreams. Those desires within you for completion and to touch the lives of others, I will fulfill. Promises made are promises kept. As I speak deep within you and in the whispers of the night I will watch over every Word I speak to you and it will be fulfilled. This day begins a new season of dreams fulfilled. You will laugh with joy when your son of promise, "Isaac" is born. You will see that My ways are perfect and timing exquisite. I will keep My Word and watch over and nurture those dreams that I have placed within you until their fulfillment arrives.

"I will restore you, trust Me as I take your forward, for I am your Father."

Then He led me to these verses for you, my friend:

"But let them all be glad,
Those who turn aside to hide themselves in You.
May they keep shouting for joy forever!
Overshadow them in Your presence
As they sing and rejoice,
Then every lover of Your Name
Will burst forth with endless joy.
Lord, how wonderfully You bless the righteous.
Your favor wraps around each one and
Covers them
Under Your canopy of kindness and joy.

Psalm 5:11-12 TPT

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunset

 As we shared with you all previously, Lenah passed into glory this morning.  It may seem very sudden, but she was interred into our newly created  family cemetery this evening at sunset.  James and I, our older children, my parents, and our friends, the House family were present at her burial.

 Any of you that know us in real life know that we do many things differently than is considered normal or customary.  We researched even before Lenah's birth the laws concerning burial in the state of Texas.  We learned that we could create our own family cemetery on my parents farmland.  We also learned that we could transport and bury her ourselves but that it would have to be done within 24 hours of death or she would have to be refrigerated or embalmed if we desired to delay burial.  It seemed that the most difficult obstacle would have been if she had died at the hospital and would have had to be transported postmortem.  Thankfully, that was avoided.  Today was both awful and wonderful. It was such a blessing to have a funeral without all of the customary requirements.  We just spent the day preparing her gravesite and getting ready as a family for her funeral.  James hand dug the grave. It was a labor of love.  Robin (our hospice nurse) and I removed her picc line. She was finally free and untethered.  For the first time, I was able to look at her head to toe.  She had no birthmarks or storkbites.  I had never really ever been able to look her over thoroughly as she could not comfortably be turned on her tummy while living because her abdomen was swollen and it made it difficult for her to breathe.  I redressed her and gave all the children a final chance to hold her.


  I'd like to publicly thank our kind and caring neighbors Mr. Jimmy Decker and Mr. Charlie Janner for building her lovely casket.  It was beautiful.

The Child Life specialists at Texas Children's Hospital gave us these lovely two-piece keepsake necklaces for the children.  They put the small heart in the casket with Lenah and kept the outside heart for themselves.



 They also went out to Nana's antique rose bush and picked roses to place in her casket with her. I placed a blanket that had been mine when I was a baby to line the bottom and a cuddly neck pillow (given by my dear friend Allison for me to use when I spent nights at the hospital) as a cushion for her.  We also placed some of the stuffed animals given to her during her hospital stay.
Please scroll on by if you prefer to not see her postmortem, but I think she is too beautiful to not share.






I hated closing that casket. For me, I think this was the hardest moment of the day.

Sofia found these roses on Nana's rosebush.  One cluster has five roses in full bloom representing Edward, Sofia, James, Joseph, and Sarah.  The other cluster has two in full bloom and one tiny bud  representing James, me, and Lenah. We also planted two rose cuttings next to the temporary marker my father made for Lenah


The sun had set by the time we finished praying and closing the grave.  I will take some more pictures of the site tomorrow.  The cemetery looks quite rustic currently.  We plan to do some fencing and landscaping in the coming days.

We had no idea that the surveyor who surveyed the land to be dedicated as a family cemetery is actually a nearby neighbor.  He happened by today as the grave was being opened.  He stopped and visited with James and Papa.  He generously offered to come back to do the measuring to plot the gravesite for our records.  What a blessing.

After the funeral, we all went to town for dinner.  After dinner, we stopped at the store to get some artificial flowers to decorate the grave tomorrow.  When I was standing at the checkout, I thought I recognized one of the men behind me in line. I did.  It was a dear brother in Christ that we had not seen in years.  Talk about a divine appointment.  I have no idea what the coming days hold for us, but I am amazed at all of the "strange" occurrences we have experienced over the last year.  I just hope I can remember them all long enough to share them here.  We have most assuredly known the leading and the comfort of the Lord throughout this last year. It has been a long, hard year.  In many ways, I am glad for it to be over.  I am most certainly not glad to have lost Lenah.  I had really hoped that she could be made well - by either earthly or Divine means- but it was not to be. I am most certain that she is not lost to us forever. We will see her again. We will see her as she truly is- not veiled by the brokenness of this world.  I look forward to that day.

 I also sense a "change in the winds" for our lives.  I am expectantly looking forward to the coming days.

Once again- and I mean it ever so sincerely- thank you for praying for us.  The prayers of the saints have been perceptible to us throughout this journey.  Thank you and we love you. 

Sweet Lenah

At 10:57 this morning,  Lenah Olivia Wray passed peacefully from her earthly father's arms to her Heavenly Father's arms. She was 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days old. 

We will miss her like crazy.

Please pray for us.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

We thought last night was Lenah's last.  She had a long episode of taking 7 or 8 breaths and then not breathing at all for 7 or 8 seconds.  At one point she didn't breathe for about 20 seconds.  She was also limp and completely unresponsive even to having her feet tickled. She improved drastically after we asked you all to pray for us.  Her her rate was very fast during this episode and is still higher than her normal heart rate.  She is very weak and her pulse is weaker in her extremities than before. Her breathing is also more shallow and coarse.
  I have mixed emotions after this very scary episode.  I am thankful that we have more time with her, but it is also hard to bear the waiting.  I am content to have her with us as long as possible as long as she is not suffering.  I guess even if she has to suffer in some way or another I will be content to be by her side or hold her as long as she is here.
  It seems as though there has been a lot of loss all around us this year.  I will be glad to close the doors on 2013. I hope and pray that next year holds less loss and grief.
  Thank you all for praying.  Thank you for loving us.