Sunday, August 28, 2011

WOW! Follow up on previous blog...

Well, having said all that about believing without proof, I went to my Facebook page to read comments on Emily's pictures I posted & my own wonderful husband posted the commercial which reminded me of at least one hello from Heaven I got from Emily. She loved commercials. JC Penny's was, at that time, airing an ad using the "All Inside" campaign. Most ad campaigns run under a year before they come up with something new, but this one ran for a couple years at least. I liked it because not only would she sing so loud & proud along with the song, but it reminded me that what matters is what's inside of us, not outside of us. I always feared what I'd feel when that day would arrive for JC Penny's & I'd no longer hear Emily's voice singing the All Inside song. That day came. It was a day of abnormally deep depression for me & I was not doing well. The new ad they created was using a song from who else but my FAVORITE lead guitarist & writer, Pete Townsend of The Who. What song was used you ask? "Let My Love Open The Door"! Seriously???? It was at that moment that I decided to follow her advice & let her love open the door to faith for me once again. I guess I should mention that the very next day the ad campaign was back to All Inside & I never found that Pete Townsend song used in a JC Penny's ad again, though I'm sure it exists somewhere. So yes, I believe. Deal with it you naysayers. May you never have reason to do the same.

Believing when there is no proof

I am tired. Grief does that to you. Today is my little froggie's 10th birthday. She was only here on Earth for 18 months. Emily was a soul with her own plan. She finished & went home suddenly, in my arms, after a long day at work for me. To this day I hate it when people yell out in joy "It's Friday!" All I hear is myself saying that very same thing as I left work...then the rest is history, to me anyway.
This was shot just two weeks before she passed. It's not my shot, but a friend's work.

In my previous posts this month I spent the time sharing the joys of life & the mysteries of death from an easy perspective....PROOF. I had the proof that those things were happening during Cheyenne's life & after. But with Emily it was very different. Because she was so young, not having established her own verbal abilities yet, we really never got to know her or recognize her presence like we did with her older sister. When she passed we had to rely on FAITH. Believing without seeing. It was not so easy. I mean I believed, but I had a harder time seeing things in the first place. Does that make sense?

Steve Alley, our pediatrician & friend, believed in us. We met the weekend Cheyenne was in the hospital & passed. He was so moved by her spirit, wisdom, & whatever else she hit him with that he says she changed the way he approaches his work. He became our pediatrician for Emily, & now for David. If I told him things were not right, or I was not comfortable he always trusted my intuition, even if he did not have the scientific proof to back it up. As a doctor that had to be hard, but he believed in us as parents. That is one thing so great about the awesome people in his practice, Fannin Pediatrics of Houston. Yes, I'm plugging my friends business. WHY? Because I BELIEVE. But then I have proof on this one.

It's easy when the evidence is in front of you, as it was with Cheyenne, but to know she is still around me, hearing me talk to her, knowing how much I miss her when I'm not seeing any proof, well... that's where the challenge lies. When Cheyenne died I used to criticize & judge those other grieving parents for not KNOWING they are not separated from their kids spiritually, but after Emily passed I understood the challenge. They did not have the "Cheyenne" in their lives to provide the proof. Their faith that they would be together again had to come from other sources, for some those other sources did not exist. They are lost in their pain to this day & may not survive. But I pray that they do. That they find something to hold on to, to believe in.

Then there are those (forgive me) JERKS in life who have to naysay & chop down whatever tiny bit of evidence we can dig up to maintain our strength & sanity. They have to accuse us of imagining that which they think does not exist, say we are just desperately grabbing on to things, that we are lost and are not making sense. I was once called by a woman "emotionally unstable" and not equipped to be in the classroom as her child's teacher. I was the one sitting calmly as she spouted these things & she was the one screaming, cussing, & yelling. WHO is emotionally unstable? They have no idea what we are going through, will continue to go through, & how it will change us forever. They are ignorant to our pain. I disregard them & continue in my faith, believing without proof at times, writing to help others who need that strength, & hoping that one or two of those "jerks" will wizen up & find a little compassion in their hearts.

I've got some shots of Emily here to share with you. Take a look, feel her energy (she was a happy little froggie for sure!) and BELIEVE.

The bottom line: So what if you think it's not true, if it helps us heal & continue being contributing members of society why do you have to steal our lifeboat?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lemons from Heaven?

This is a short post as an addition to the one just posted about the dove... Continuing the topic of the mysteries of death I felt compelled to tell the story of Cheyenne's visit during the first Christmas after she passed.

My parents had a dwarf lemon tree they took with them everywhere they lived for over 50 years. It lived in a pot so it was easily transported. As the years rolled by, my parents began a tradition of letting one of their children pick the lemon off the tree each Christmas. The tree only produced a few lemons each year, I never saw any more than 3, & we would pick them and make hot lemonade on Christmas Eve as we decorated the tree together. The tree may have been small, but the lemons were HUGE! As long as I can remember we kids took turns picking the lemon each year.

We all grew up, left home, started our own families, & then it was for our children to continue the tradition. Each year, the grandchildren of my parents would take their turn. When Cheyenne was 3 it was her turn. We all celebrated the exciting event, taking pictures of the picking like a bunch of paparazzi around a child star. In fact we made such a big deal about it that year (for her I guess) that we forgot to make the lemonade!

Three months later (I know, the number 3 again) Cheyenne passed. The next Christmas, 9 months after she passed, my brother, his wife, and two kids were home for the holidays so they got to do the picking. That first Christmas was hard (duh), but we all lifted our chins and faced it full on. We went outside to the lemon tree with our cameras, & as I was focusing the shot, getting ready to snap, I heard my husband behind me suddenly say "Oh my God!" "What?" "There are 9 lemons on the tree!"   ...Cheyenne is the 9th grandchild.

Did I tell you that I don't believe in coincidence? EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

Happy 16th birthday my little rainbow! I love you & miss you.

A Flock of Dove and a White Dress

Jacquelyn Small said we are not human beings learning to be spiritual; we are spiritual beings learning to be human.

Well I, for one, know that I am learning every day how to be both spiritual and human. As a spiritual being living a human life I spend too much time focusing on the human aspects of life (as well I should...I think) & I find myself forgetting about my spiritual self. Keep in mind that I am not talking about religion, but the spirit inside me. That energy, or life force, that was created and will live forever.

Then just as I am coasting along in this human existence something happens to shake it all up, to challenge me. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, we brought Cheyenne home after she was born and woke that first morning at home to a loud unfamiliar & somewhat annoying sound. When I opened the blinds I saw a HUGE flock of dove sitting in perfect soldier-like formation along the top of the entire fence line around the back yard. They had never been there before & it was truly a sight to see. As the next few years rolled by they became a permanent part of the family. Our dove.

When Cheyenne was 13 months old we had her baptized into our faith. Do we believe that it is a necessity to enter into heaven? No. We did it because we wanted to make a public commitment to her that we would raise her with the Holy Spirit. We would teach her to love, to be kind, to forgive, & most of all to know that she will never be alone because she was created by God.

(My MIL with her mom, Cheyenne, & me)

I made her baptism dress from scraps of dupioni silk left over from my wedding dress that my mom had made me. While I was working on the dress I had a vision that rattled me to my very core. I instantly stopped working & called my twin. Through my tears I described the vision I had of Cheyenne laying in a casket & wearing that white dress I was making. My sister talked me down off that cliff so well that I forgot all about it & went on in my human life with great joy...exactly what I should have been doing.

But that all changed two years later. Cheyenne passed suddenly from congestive heart failure at 3.5 years old. We drove home from the hospital without her & I remember so clearly that my color vision had gone. I was only seeing in black & white. The next morning, when I woke, the house was so quiet. No sounds of Cheyenne playing, or food cooking, ...or dove. I ran to the back window & opened the blinds. They were gone. Just like my little girl, the beautiful dove were all gone.

The funeral home called to tell us we had to bring something to dress her in for the funeral. I had no idea what to take. It was at that moment that my sister jumped up & said "I do!" She ran upstairs to Cheyenne's closet & pulled out the white dress. It still fit Cheyenne since she had not grown a lot & I made it kinda big in the first place. So we took the beautiful silk dress to the funeral home & they dressed my first born for her burial.

As I sat in church several weeks later, thinking how the absence of the dove was a constant reminder of Cheyenne's absence (as if I needed reminding), the pastor made a sudden & random reference to the holy trinity & the role of the dove. He reminded me that the dove was the Holy Spirit on Earth sent down to witness us as we lived our human lives. It was at that moment that it all made sense to me. Those dove were there to witness her life. When she went home so did they. Their job was done. Her job was done.

...and mine must continue.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Mystery of Death

The one thing I have always felt around death is the mystery of it. In our last moments, are we alone? Do we see the spirits of those loves ones who have gone before us? Do we feel the pain & the fear that moment we realize we are leaving this world, or are we surrounded by an unexplainable peace & comfort?

I am a twin so I have never been alone, nor have I ever felt alone spiritually. For as long as I can remember I have felt the presence of my guides, though what felt like many has only ever shown as one, a female angel. For as long as I can remember I have also been curious about eternity, life on the other side, or whatever it is. So curious that as I child I was never afraid to die, but ready & excited for the journey should it begin.

As I said in my last post, I am writing about the lives and journeys back home that I have witnessed and been blessed to have been a part of; specifically, my two daughters who are celebrating their birthdays this month in heaven. Cheyenne is our oldest. She turns 16 this month. When I was pregnant with her I could not believe I was having a girl. I had always believed I would have two boys. Sometime around 4 or 5 months I was still sick & having heavy nose bleeds. I know my medical care was poor, it was an HMO. I wanted to change policies but had strong reasons not to as well. I was distraught & did not think I was going to make it through that pregnancy. Sitting on the floor in my livingroom, alone, I suddenly heard a woman's voice from behind me... of course I turned & looked, it was that real! She said "Yes, Beth, it is a girl. Everything will be alright as long as you make the right decisions." That was it, I knew without a doubt that we had to change insurance policies while the window remained open.

We switched to a PPO and got better care, a better hospital, I was not getting the nose bleeds or the illness anymore. When Cheyenne was born they noticed a couple anomalies & kept her for a few more days. The night of her 5th day she suddenly went into a state called tacycardia (no, I don't know how to spell it). The nurses had to slowly massage her heart rate back down to a safe level. Had she been at home, which would have been the case with the HMO, she would have passed with hardly any visible clue as to why & it would have ben written off as SIDS.

Since we were able to get a health plan of our choosing we were able to get more time with Cheyenne. We took her home two weeks after her birth & we woke to a backyard full of dove. The dove were loud and abundant.

.....but that is another story.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where God Lives...

      All of my followers here on my blog know I am a twice bereaved parent. What very few of you all know is that I carried my oldest daughter across & personally handed her to the angels who completed the journey with her. So you can trust me when I tell you this: if you want to know where God lives put yourself somewhere in a place of peace; get lost in some music, or the soft sound of the wind in the trees, or anything that lifts you up. Close your eyes & feel the joy. THAT is where God lives, and THAT is where Heaven is.


     In two weeks Cheyenne, my older daughter turns 16. In three weeks Emily, my second daughter, turns 10. They are celebrating their lives in heaven but we will be celebrating here on earth. For the month of August, here on my blog & on Facebook,  I will share with you my thoughts, feelings, & experiences they taught me. I will tell you about my journey taking Cheyenne across, I will tell you about their visits from heaven, and I will try to explain where and how I get my strength.

    The recent loss of our Navy Seals, as well as the recent loss of two family members and a few others we know only through mutual friends/family have helped me to anchor myself again to that which matters most: LOVE. Open your eyes and you will begin to see it everywhere.

If you are so moved, please share this blog with others, You never know who might need the words of advice or the comfort. In the words of my dear friend & spiritual mentor, Julianna: "I love each and every one of you."