Anna is a baby who's caring bridge page I started following over a year ago.
In January she lost her fight with Leah's syndrome and went to the arms of Jesus. Anna's parents have kept her caring bridge page updated still and I read it everytime it is update. The latest update is so beautiful I asked Kyle if I could post it here:
Some babies are born 'hurry up and wait.' Not with Anna two years ago today. We hurried up and still barely got there in time. Within about half an hour of getting to the hospital, we were seeing Anna smile for the first time, and she was passing her first of what proved to be many medical tests in her short life with flying colors. We could never have imagined what was to come.
Not all of our trips to hospitals with Anna would be so happy. By March, three of us would be basically living in a hospital, far from home, thinking Anna would never leave it, and almost certain we would never see her flash that beautiful smile again no matter what.
We did, though. She got out of the hospital later that month. And soon thereafter we saw her smile again.
I thought of that the other day, how unbelievably huge a milestone that little half smile was. Such a small thing, but one which meant everything.
It would be easy to spend this day mourning the things that could be, a little toddler running around the house and talking and arguing with her sister and eating birthday cake and opening presents with family and friends. Inevitably, those thoughts are going to come to mind.
But I have to say that one of the main graces that sustained us through all the hardship and still sustains us in our grief is gratitude, gratitude to God for what we have been given. From the earliest moments, I believe by a special grace of God, we have known that the remedy for this and every other pain of life is gratitude. It has become a habit, to the point that many people are probably sick of hearing us say the word.
But I have to say it again. I am grateful for the gift of knowing Anna. I'm grateful for the gift of every second of her life, even those last ones seared in my mind. I'm grateful for the opportunity to suffer with and for her, to stand vigil by that hospital bed in the night by the glow of monitors and hold her hand. I'm grateful for every tear, and the ocean of them yet contained in me. I'm grateful for her blue eyes, her courage, her good nature, her crooked grin, her feeding tube, her little feet, every med, every changed diaper. Every bit of it. I'm grateful for every doctor and nurse, every prayer-filled family member and friend, every kind word, every visitor.
I'm grateful for that first smile after Mayo.
And I am grateful that Anna is in heaven, waiting for me and praying for me. Even if I miss her terribly.
All our love through Christ,
Kyle (for Sandy and Elisabeth)
Watch a video clip of Anna
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
- Psalm 30:1-5