Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Friday, April 23, 2010 8:17 PM, CDT
We lost our little girl, but in the process, I found God. I love Him so much...not despite Sicily's dying, but instead, because of her living. The life He gave her gave me life...a spiritual life.
It's funny, as parents, we are credited for giving this little girl life. As a mother, I physically carried her and nurtured her with my own body and accepted the pain of child birth, or a c-section as I had with all four of our kids, but it still took a toll on my body. While looking back, as hindsight is most often twenty-twenty, my rear view observations don't get any more clearer than perfect vision. I know why Sicily lived. I know why she died. I know why God chose me to be her mommy. Though this was never how I pictured my life to be, nor did I have this clarity of mind while living in the reality of our circumstances, it doesn't matter. What I had pictured or envisioned what I would be or do with my life and what God planned were two separate and completely different paths.
Sometimes we try our own way of living first. When we find ourselves lost and wondering aimlessly about, we then decide to give God's way a try. It's time to stop the defiance and ask God, “What is Your will?” “What do You want me to do?” “What direction are You wanting me to go?” Answers for some who allow themselves to ask these questions may come immediately while others find themselves wondering and questioning and waiting for endless amounts of time. Some of us He has to teach patience...a very hard lesson to teach and an even harder one to learn. Look at me. It's taken over forty years for me to understand that my life has a purpose beyond what I thought I was meant to be.
I am what I always wanted to be...a wife and a mother. I think I turned out to be a pretty decent daughter, sister and friend. I try to emulate the good I see in others and hope my actions stir others to emulate me, as well. I remember being told once that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That doesn't always apply to every situation in life, but when it comes to copying the good deeds of another, I would hope we could all consider ourselves a bunch of “copycats!”
Our priest shared a sweet story last Sunday that was very moving yet began with the simplest action of a teenage girl foregoing her school lunch money during lent. Instead of using the five dollars a day her father gave her to use on lunch she chose to take a peanut butter sandwich everyday and save the money for a church donation. Her father called upon Father Joe and delivered money in the amount of two hundred and thirty dollars. After explaining his daughters actions and turning over the funds, Father Joe had one question about the amount he now had in his possession. His calculations determined that he should only have one hundred and fifteen dollars, not the two hundred and thirty. The father of the teenage girl explained that he was so moved by his daughters accomplishment that he decided to match the money she had saved.
Father Joe shared this story and the next thing he knew, someone had slipped four hundred and sixty dollars under his office door. After that, someone gave nine hundred and twenty dollars. It didn't stop there. He soon had a check written for eighteen hundred and forty dollars, all because a young girl came up with a way to give something of herself...a routine daily expense was donated and ended up turning into almost a thirty-five hundred dollar donation to our church. I found this gesture and the domino impact to be so amazing. Once again, I have to call it beautiful...one of my favorite words in the English language!
On Wednesday the 21st, the first full month without Sicily, I spent my morning at Elias' elementary school as a monitor for state assessment testing. I was basically needed to hand out the tests to a fourth grade class and observe the students to make sure they did what they were supposed to do and none of what they weren't. The room needed to remain as quite as possible so I did not get to interact with the teacher or the students other than for just a short period when they took a break and after they were all completed. The class had about twenty students in it with only five boys.
After all the tests were collected I found myself surrounded by about four or five young girls who were eager to talk to the stranger in their classroom. They noticed the silver fingerprint necklace I wore around my neck and I briefly explained to them the importance of this necklace. The fingerprint is that of Sicily's and was made the day she passed away...before I knew she was going to. The print was made in a little piece of clay and then was sent off to be made into a silver charm. I am able to wear this beautiful piece of jewelry right next to my heart. Though I knew these young girls most likely could not grasp the magnitude of my loss, they were so very sweet and expressed their apologies in a very mature manner. I did not stick around the room long even though that sweet class of fourth graders and their teacher made me feel comfortable and welcome, I knew they had other school work to tend to and my presence there would detour their attention.
Before I headed towards the door, one of the girls handed me a piece of paper that she had drawn on and said, “Here, you can have this.” It was folded over and when I opened up the paper like a card, in it was written, “The 3 F's...Faith is Fate and Forever.” On either side of these powerful words she had drawn a couple of pictures. One was of a cross with a thorny crown hanging on the top and nails present on the sides and bottom. On the other side of the page were a pair of hands with holes visible in the palms. I left the classroom with a chill up my spine and goosebumps on my arms. God makes himself known to me in the most amazing ways. The only reason I ask “why” is, “Why am I so lucky to be the recipient of these beautiful gifts?” I am forever grateful for these endowments!
My day ended with another amazing event. Patrick, Isabella, Elias and I escorted Corinthian to the Masonic lodge where he received his “Student of Today” award. We are so proud of him. The selected students were recognized along with a teacher from each of their schools. When the name of the teacher for Broken Arrow Senior High was called, the name sounded so familiar to me. When I saw this tall attractive woman go up to accept the award, I sat there with this sort of de-ja-vou feeling of “I know this person.” She looked like someone I should know. Before we left the ceremony and after all the awards were given, I realized that I had indeed known this teacher...she was one of my high school English teachers from Enid High School back around 1986 (Broken Arrow and Enid are over 120 miles apart in the state of Oklahoma). I came home and dug out my high school yearbook to double check and it was her, Ms Joan Kelly. I woke up yesterday morning and felt compelled to contact her, knowing full well that she most likely would not remember me. I emailed her to let her know that the seeds of writing she planted some twenty odd years ago are still at work in my life and have been my therapy and salvation for the past two years. I told her I was proud to be called one of her students. Who wouldn't be? She is still being recognized by her students and peers for her gift. I am never short of amazement at how peoples lives can cross paths multiple times in life. Another God thing!
We are all excited about Sunday and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I don't have a count yet as to how many runners/walkers/spectators are proudly donning the Wilm's Warriors shirts, but I will report when those numbers come in. Our meeting spot for the day when running and walking is complete or for those spectating and cheering is at The Bicycle Shop on Broadway between ninth and tenth streets. It should not be too hard to locate...just look for the area glowing with bright yellow shirts. It's going to be so amazing! I am bringing Sicily's angel wings to take as many pictures as possible with family and friends holding them. I bought little butterfly charms and attached them to small safety pins for anybody who want to pin one on their bib so Sicily can help you “fly” along. We'll try to get them to as many people as we can who want them before the race.
Pray that the weather is nice and that every one traveling to and from the event remains safe. Say an extra prayer for Patrick, if you'll please, as he is walking the 5K with the kids and I and then is filling in on one of the relay teams for the final 10K. He wants to be able to run past the sea of Wilm's Warrior supporters and through the finish line. He hasn't trained very much for the additional mileage, so please pray he'll do okay! I am already planning on driving home and will have a bottle of Tylenol on hand! ; )
Everyone have a wonderful weekend and I'll be excited to give details
next week about ours!
Love to you all!
PS- “Sicily...we miss you! You are with us every second of every day! Stowie cries for you...as do we all, but we know you are where you are supposed to be. If you can't be beside us, we want you beside Jesus!!! We continue to love you all the way to heaven! Save a place for us, okay?”