Friday, April 4, 2008

The Storm


Sorry, I think I may be the reason for the rain today. It just suits my mood so well. Today is the first anniversary of Lillian's death and I feel... bruised. That's the best way I can describe it. I awoke with a deep ache but when a poem about a little girl's first day of school was read on the radio, sharp pains radiated out from my heart like fire. Unknowingly, they had poked my bruise. It's been just the first of many pokes today.

I wasn't sure how to commemorate such an important day. We have rituals for most of a person's key dates but not for this one. It's interesting that last year my grief was purely selfish. I couldn't even lift my head to see how many other people were also in pain. But this year, I'm consumed with sadness for all those mourning Lillian and for all those fighting cancer. And I feel like I want to honor my sweet angel in ways that help others too. So I've done a few different things:



  • I created a memory book filled with pictures and culminating in the blog of her battle. I hope this helps our family remember all the moments of Lillian's life.


  • I created an iMix of the songs that ministered to me in my grief. I hope this helps other people in pain.


  • I had new wristbands made with "Lillian's Legacy" on them. I hope this reminds people to give generously to cancer causes.


  • I finished the first draft of a book for critically ill kids about understanding death called "The Chaplain and the Cat." I hope this helps sick kids in their battle.

It still doesn't seem like enough. I want everyone to know my little girl. I wish I had a giant megaphone and could tell everyone about her bravery and her laugh and her spirit. I wish I could cure cancer so that no other child or parent had to endure this pain. I just want to do something. Something huge to forever secure Lillian's name in the history books. So that long after I'm gone, her name and her short little life would still be remembered. If I step back from this desperation, I can see that her name is in the most important book. God wrote her name in the book of life. Lillian is one of His treasured children. Regardless of earthly fame, her life was special and meaningful.


Tomorrow we are going to a memorial service at Doernbecher for all the children who died there in the last year. On Sunday, through a generous donation by some dear friends, a tree will be planted at our church in Lillian's memory. It will be a weekend filled with special moments honoring our girl. And it is so comforting to know that even though as time passes, I feel further from her, I'm actually getting closer to seeing her again in heaven. This time for eternity. Praise God.

15 comments:

Anonymous April 4, 2008 at 10:26 AM  

Lori, I know today is a hard day. I also know that Lillian is blowing kisses to you today (and everday) just like she is blowing kisses in the picture you posted. You have done so much in the last year to stomp out cancer and help kids in their battles, and I can think of no better tribute to Lillian. Michelle

Beth April 4, 2008 at 11:38 AM  

You have done and continue to do nice work to support the children with cancer!! I am sure Lillian is very proud of you and all you are doing! It is great to hear there are nice activities this weekend to honor Lillian and her memory.

Anonymous April 4, 2008 at 11:42 AM  

Lori and Jeff, Lillian was a miracle from the day she was concieved. She battled with me through my tremendous back injury and changed my life forever with her birth. She made me stronger, wiser, happier, and more considerate to others. She showed me that it is not the mistakes that we make in life that shape us but the way you deal with the consiquences. Now don't get me wrong Lillian was never a mistake, she was a blessing. I am thankful every day that I was able to share that blessing with you. I too don't really know what to do or how to feel today, mostly I just feel sad. I should have spent more time with her I should have stayed at the hospital longer. I am so happy though that she got to spend her short 2 1\2 years with the two most amazing, wonderful, caring, and loving parents anyone could ever ask for. You are both so strong, you 2 truely are my heroes. Thank you for being you and being family, I miss you both and I miss Lilli! On a ending note I want to say that when I woke up this morning I heard noices, not screams like the normal sound of a baby waking up. Peeking through Brysons door I watched him talk to his wall for about 2 min. He seemed so happy and calm. This is not the first time I have witnessed this and wondered what he was doing, but this morning I think mabye he was talking to Lillian and she was telling him that everything was ok, and that she would watch over him for the rest of his life. Love Maura

The Tucson Gang April 4, 2008 at 12:41 PM  

Lori- you know Lillian is never far from our thoughts, especially on this day. I too, have wondered how to honor her today. I am so incredibly proud of you and all the amazing things you have done to honor her and to not only promote cancer awareness, but to the battle to cure cancer. You are amazing and I know Lillian is watching and saying...go mommy go! You are amazing...and we are all fortunate to have known your special, amazing little girl. Hope you find some peace today - knowing that she is at peace.

Jennifer April 4, 2008 at 1:36 PM  

Lori,
Your faith and trust in God have been so humbling to me. I know that I am closer to Him, in part, because of your journey.

I know that Lillian is so proud of her mommy and her life and memory have been honored so greatly by you.

Love you,
Jenn

Anonymous April 4, 2008 at 3:27 PM  

Lori and jeff,
You are much in my thoughts and prayers today.When my clock went off at 5:30 this morning my first thought was not go go to church at 6:30,but then I remembered what day it was so I jumped out of bed and off I went. I prayed for you and Jeff and I thanked GoD for Lillian. She was and is an inspiration to all of us.
We love all three of you.
Deborah

Matt Mikalatos April 4, 2008 at 4:21 PM  

Lori--

Thanks for the note. I'm glad that the message this weekend gave any sort of encouragement. It's a screwed up world, and I'm so sorry for the pain and suffering you and your family have experienced and continue to experience in the midst of it. I'll be praying for you...

--Matt

Anonymous April 4, 2008 at 5:13 PM  

Dear Lori, I am so touched by your words. I just want you to know that I think that YOU are Lillian's living legacy. I know that it is supposed to be the opposite...our children are supposed to be our legacy...but there is something special about our children who fight cancer and yet LIVE so beautifully. McKenna is MY teacher. I am HER legacy. She creates a better me. I wish that I could have known Lillian but I can see her goodness in all of the people who loved her.God bless you my friend. Laura

Anonymous April 4, 2008 at 5:43 PM  

Lori and Jeff--We are thinking of you today and remembering Lillian. We'll never forget her and all the special "sunshine moments" she brought to us. Love, Mom and Dad

Becci April 4, 2008 at 6:29 PM  

Lori, you know I wish, with all of my heart, that I would have been able to know Lillian. But, I find comfort in knowing that I will meet her one day, in Heaven. And I gotta say, I'm looking forward to it! I'm praying for you guys and with you guys... I hope you will find comfort in remembering the good times with your sweet girl. Love you.

celestemc April 4, 2008 at 7:20 PM  

What a beautiful baby girl. I don't have many words, but know that you are loved. Thinking of you often today.

bluelotus April 4, 2008 at 9:19 PM  

"And in the end it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
I have been thinking of you today. I can empathize so deeply, but I will never completely understand. Maybe we're not supposed to. I am sending my love your way. Love, Alison (again, I hope to see you tomorrow! I'll be the exasperated one chasing a very cute four year old.)

emily April 4, 2008 at 9:34 PM  

Lori, as I was reading your entry my heart was aching for you. I have been praying for you and had been thinking that it's been about a year...and then was on a caringbridge site and realized it was a year from today. I can't imagine the pain that you have in your heart. I never got the blessing of meeting sweet Lillian, but I wish with my whole heart that I was able to. I know that she was a great blessing to many, and will be remembered. Even by those who hadn't met her, like me, will remember her and her brave battle. I wish and wish that I could just take cancer away forever. I hate it that I know so many kids that have this disease. I love the kids and am so, so thankful for them, but my heart aches for what they daily have to go through. I know you must be aching as well, as you miss your girl and remember her especially today and this weekend, know that I am thinking of you a whole lot and lifting you up in prayer. I have yet to meet you, but I love you and hope that I can meet you soon. Remember that no matter what, Jesus is there with you. I know you know Isaiah 41:10, I LOVE that verse and it always comforts me and brings me peace no matter what I am going through.
I feel this message is all jumbled up, but I guess the main point is that, I am praying for you and know that you are never alone. Jesus is there.
Love,
Emily
Ps. Here are lyrics to a song "Homesick" by MercyMe - this song brings me comfort as I remember all those I want so much to see again. Every day I get excited for the day we can all be together in Heaven, with Jesus. Finally, a place where no cancer exists. I can't wait!!


You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't You give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand Your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if You showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't You give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't You give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't You give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't You give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now

krissykeelan April 4, 2008 at 11:17 PM  

Jeff and Lori, you are in my thoughts and prayers today as you had to face the grief that this day brought you last year. We were there at the hospital just starting McKayla's cancer journey as Lillian's was ending. If things didn't go so amazing after McKayla's surgery we probably would have met your beautiful daughter in the ICU because that is where they planned on having her the 3rd and 4th. We were blessed to have met you both through Robyn.
I can't wait to see the new bracelets when they arrive!

LCM April 5, 2008 at 9:12 AM  

We actually talked about your baby girl last night. That's how you can keep her alive, through all of us who knew you guys and her. Fiona was mourning the loss of her blankie last night and we talked about how I had heard you guys had lost yours at Doernbecher's as well. Then we talked about how special your family was and how Lillian would always be Ian's big sister. It's quite the coincidence that we had such a big discussion about you guys last night and remembered Lillian.

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