Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Mourning -- Hannah's Fourth Birthday in Heaven


Today my oldest daughter would be 21 years old.  My first thought is, "How is that even possible?  It seems like she was just born a week ago!"  And my second thought is, "How is it possible that she is not here with us on this day?"

If all were as it "should be", Hannah would be in the middle of her junior year of college.  She would have a fine Christian boyfriend, maybe even "the one", who would have come home from college with her this past weekend.  And we all would have loaded up and gone to Briggsville, where we would have met all of her grandparents, and her aunts, uncles, and cousins for a birthday celebration.  We would have ridden 4-wheelers, had a big dinner with all the family, and eaten her favorite dessert, Mississippi Mud Cake.  We would have hugged and kissed her good-bye last night, and she would have headed back to OBU to finish up the semester.  We would've been sad to see her go, but we would know she'd be coming home soon for Thanksgiving and Christmas...

Well, the three of us did go to Briggsville yesterday, and it was an absolutely beautiful drive, with the trees just beginning to display their fall splendor.



We stopped at a little grocery store in Hot Springs Village to pick up some roses, as has become our tradition.  At first, we were a little disappointed that they didn't have our usual red roses, but then some pretty little pinkish-orange roses caught our eye.  Those were the ones!


Bethany removed the petals and put them in our little basket...


And when we arrived at the cemetery, she sprinkled them all over her sister's grave.


We sat on the ground beside her grave for awhile, reflecting on our girl, and even played a couple of songs on my iPod....one of Hannah's favorites, and Chris Tomlin's version of Amazing Grace....a much-needed reminder that her chains are gone, and she's been set free.

We took a couple more pictures...



And then it was time for a four-wheeler ride.


Couldn't help but chuckle when we ran across this guy.  Yes, he's stuck in the same spot where our "While We're Waiting" Dad got stuck last Saturday.


Finally made it to our destination ... the Rock Hole...


Brad had to impress us with his bravery...


Actually, he just wanted to get this picture up the river...


Bethany couldn't be outdone by her Daddy...


Love this girl so much!


Not exactly the way we would have chosen to celebrate Hannah's 21st birthday, but a good day, nonetheless.  Today, which is her actual birthday, we are planning to eat at her favorite Mexican restaurant, and then come home for some homemade Mississippi Mud Cake.  Then we'll watch the presidential debate, which believe it or not, she would have just loved.  She was quite the political junkie, that girl.

Is it still painful, after the fourth time, to celebrate Hannah's birthday without her?  Oh, yes.  Although it's easier to cope with now, the grief still threatens to overwhelm at times.  I wish I could explain how every fiber of our family's life is different now ... how every detail, every moment, every breath is fundamentally different from what it once was.  I think it's something only another mom or dad who's lost a child can understand.  Or any child who's lost a sibling.

In our limited human minds, things are not as they "should be."  Both of our girls should be here with us, and we should be watching them both grow into adulthood.  My relationship with Hannah should be transforming from mother/daughter to best friends.  Bethany should be sharing secrets with her older sister, and benefiting from her experience and guidance.  Her dad should be making plans to walk her down a rose-petal strewn aisle, instead of kneeling down at her rose-petal strewn grave.

But in God's eyes, all is exactly as it "should be."  Before Hannah was born, He knew exactly how many days she would live.  She didn't live one day more or one day less than she should have.  His purpose for her life was completed in the number of days He gave her.  And while we would have chosen for her to live many, many more days, that was not in His perfect plan.

And one day, Jesus will return, and all will finally be as it "should be."  There will be no more grief, no more pain, no more cancer, no more suffering, no more sin, no more tears.  And what a day that will be!  Even so, Lord Jesus, come!

"My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."  Psalm 139:15-16

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."  Revelation 21:4

7 comments:

karen wisaeman said...

Very Touching....

A Mother's Love said...

Thinking of y'all today, especially sweet Hannah.
Love to you!!! Kelley

Gigi said...

You are wonderful with words, Jill. Today's post is incredibly moving. Happy Birthday to sweet Hannah. Time does ease the grieving and God brings unexplained peace and joy, I sure do look forward to that glorious day when we will all see Jesus and our loved ones who have gone before us!! God bless you, Brad, and precious Bethany today!!

Shawnah Shingleton said...

Praying for all of you today. So moving to read your words. You continue to show God's glory and be an inspiration to so many. Hannah was such a special little girl even in the short time I knew her. Thank you for sharing your heart and for sharing Hannah's birthday with us. Love to you all!

Kecia said...

She's so beautiful! I'm praying for you every week-

Jill Sullivan said...

Thank you to all of you for your sweet comments, and especially for your prayers. I am so thankful for each one of you.

Jill Sullivan said...
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