Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thinking Out Loud

When my mom was about 15 months old her parents went on a business trip.
My mom and her three older siblings were left in the care of their aunt and uncle.
Before they left, my mom's mom who was just 39 years old, had a heart to heart conversation with her sister-in-law.
"Vickie, if anything happens to me I want you to raise Valerie."
Vickie couldn't have children of her own.

A few days later my grandparents were in a car accident, and my grandma was killed instantly.
My mom, Valerie, never again returned to her home.  She remained in the care of her aunt and uncle.
In fact, it's my mom's uncle, my 'grandpa' Lynn, who Emily gets her middle name from.
My mom grew up in the same town...just down the street...from her dad and her other siblings.
They all remained close, and growing up I had two sets of grandparents on my mom's side of the family.

As an adult I've been amazed to see how that one decision, made by my grandma, and honored by my grandpa, has had such an impact on so many lives.
Later in her life my mom's aunt suffered from both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.  My 'grandpa' took care of her until the day that she died. 
Had my mom not been a part of their family, my grandpa would have shouldered his burden alone for the most part.
But because of an unselfish decision made many years before, my mom was there to help carry the burden...she was there on a daily basis to give my grandpa the support he needed, and to give my grandma the love she so deserved.

Many years after my grandma passed away, my grandpa was also faced with health issues, including dementia, that left him needing help.
Had my mom not been a part of his life, he would have essentially been alone.
But again, because of choices made many years earlier, Grandpa had family who loved him, and who took care of him until he passed away.

And those are just the big pieces of a very complex that was put together with love.

I asked my mom's biological dad once how he had been able to let his baby girl go.
He got tears in his eyes and admitted that it was one of the hardest things he had ever done.
"But," he said, "it was what my wife wanted, and I truly believe it was what God wanted."

I've thought a lot about my grandparents recently...both sets of them.
They each made big, hard sacrifices, and their lives were ultimately blessed because of those sacrifices.
My mom's life, and as a result, my life, has been even more blessed because of those sacrifices.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this pregnancy trauma I knew I had to make a hard choice.
And it was this:  was I willing to let my baby girl go?
I'm not saying that I think I'm going to have I'm actually filled with hope and optimism.
But I knew it was something I had to come to terms with...and somehow in my heart I knew that it was something that God needed me to come to terms with.
And in several of the countless prayers that I've prayed, I've done just that...I've given my baby girl back to God.
It wasn't without tears, but I did it.

I think He knows that I was...that I am spite of my begging and pleading for anything but that outcome.
In my moments of fear and doubt and even anger, there is always the quiet whisper in the back of my mind that reminds me of my faith.
The quiet whisper that reminds me that even though I often fight against it, there is nothing that I want more than to trust in and to follow God's will for my life.
It's a quiet whisper that I hope becomes louder as we grow closer to the next chapter in Emily's life.

Someday I'm going to tell my grandparents thank you.
Their examples, now more than ever, have sustained me and given me hope that regardless of the outcome, life is worth living, and that there are always bright days ahead.


wjmom said...

The beauty about the letting go--in both of these stories--is that you never REALLY have to let go, at least not in an eternal perspective.

Like many, I love you. My prayers are with you daily. I am not biological, earthly family, but I want to keep you forever, OK?

Cheeseboy said...

Wow, this is really touching. I can feel the impact your grandparents have had on your life. This should be published somewhere, it was that powerful.

Bossy Betty said...

This is just beautiful!

Judy said...

Wow...your grandparents are incredible people. I cannot imagine that kind of sacrifice. What a great legacy of love to pass down to you, and Emily will be truly blessed.

Elizabeth said...

You're faith is so inspiring. Whether you know it or not, you are handling a really hard situation with grace and are a wonderful example to others. Thanks for sharing your life with us; even the hard parts.

xo -E

Dazee Dreamer said...

What an awesome, awesome man for letting go of his daughter.

You make me cry. I love your faith, and wish I had more of it.

TheBlogWriter8 said...

I have needed this write-up, today. I have very, very badly. Thank you and God bless you!

Sam said...

Those stories are both amazing and touching. And such an incredible example of God. I think he has wonderful things planned for Emily. And her parents. =]

Keeping you all in my prayers. xo

Eliza said...

What a great story. I had never heard that about your Mom before. It was beautiful.
I remember coming to the point where I needed to be willing to let Lucy go. The hardest thing I've ever done. I know you're going to see some amazing things happen in your life. Our Heavenly Father always seems to give great blessings along with great trials. I love you cuz. We'd love to see you before that baby comes. Our family is praying for you all.

Amanda said...

Now I've tears in my eyes, thank you. :)

Susan Ayers said...

Absolutely beautiful and touching... but do not wait to tell those that matter... Including Emily...

Heather said...

Wow. That is quite the thought.
I hope you don't have to either. I am glad though that you have faith to help you through anything that happens! (Even the great stuff.)

Shan said...

Just beautiful, Noelle. I had other thoughts along the way, but by the end, that's all I can say.

le Chef said...

Funny how things work out. Because my mom kept my grandparents (on every side - long story) out of our lives, we're better for it to some degree. It's kept my siblings and I close, and in the last few years we've REALLY needed that. Boy howdy.

It is hard giving your baby over. I understand. I really do. My daughter was put in that position years ago and I had to come to the same terms. In a strange way it was a relief to finally make that decision - not to say it would be easy dealing with it. With the problem she had it quite literally IS a miracle she's still here, and in the condition she is. It's not really "comment" material, so I'll leave it at this; it's entirely possible to feel prayers and be a witness to the results.
Don't give up hope. Ever. No matter what. Your in a family that can offer their support. That didn't happen by accident. That your able to see that - that's important too.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Just popping in to catch up. This made me cry! You are a beautiful girl, Noelle ... inside and out! :) Continuing to pray with and for you!