Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

"Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take!"

One of the first prayers I remember learning as a child! Since Claire's death I have thought about this prayer numerous times. As a child I remember trying to understand what that prayer really meant. I would get the "sleep-keep" and "wake-take" confused and would talk myself through the correction. At some point, I got it!! If I died before I awoke in the morning I wanted God to take my soul to heaven!

Exactly one year ago today, Jeff and I laid our precious Claire to rest forever!

We had a beautiful graveside service and then we left her lying in a small white casket. Saying goodbye to her earthly body for the very last time.

Claire's body was lowered into the ground.

We will never again touch her precious hands or play with her sparkling hair. We will never again hold her close as she sleeps or wonder which direction she ran off in. We will never again wash the dirt from her feet or paint her fingernails. We will never again hear that infectious giggle or watch her flip effortlessly across the yard.

I think I can say that as of today, we have officially made it through the first year without Claire in our presence. But now we must begin the forevers without Claire in our presence. Forever, there will be an empty chair at our table. Forever, there will one less bookbag to fill. Forever, there will one empty Christmas stocking. Forever, there will be one less Easter dress to make or buy. Forever, there will be one less Birthday party to plan. Forever, there will be one of our daughters continually in the presence of Jesus! Forever, there will be the promise of an eternal life beyond what our earthly minds can comprehend! Forever, there will be meaning for our family to continue to Praise God in the storms of life.

Children hold a special place of honor in heaven. "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." Matthew 18:10

"Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take!"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy "9th" Birthday to my Precious Claire!!

"Hey mommy, this is Claire! I just wanted to say how much fun I had today! Bye" Wednesday, July 9th 2008 (3:52pm) My last recording of Clarie's voice after she and Jeff went horseback riding to celebrate her 8th birthday!

How do you "celebrate" your deceased child's birthday? I googled it, not much there. I don't really have a good answer, but I thought I would share how we chose to celebrate Clarie's 9th Birthday. Although, I'm sure her celebration with Jesus was so remarkable that ours certainly looked pathetic!

For several days leading up to Claire's birthday my heart has ached in such a way that I thought my soul would rip out of me. My heart continues to yearn for her touch just one more time to hear her sweet voice say one more time "Mommy, you are the best mommy in the whole world!" "Mommy this was the best birthday ever!!"

Last year, Claire had a fabulous birthday! She had a sleepover with her best friends. We had a house full of giggly little girls (and puppies), what a memory I will cherish forever!!

This year, Claire had a celebration to beat all celebrations, because she got to celebrate with Jesus!!

It was really difficult to face yesterday; however, once the day came we were once again showered with God's grace! Abbie and Caroline spent Tuesday night with friends in Asheville, so Jeff, Sarah and I picked them up about lunchtime and decided to have Chick-fil-a nuggets and french fries in Claire's honor! We ran a few errands in A'ville (Claire would have protested) and then came back to Spruce Pine. We picked up fried chicken for dinner(again in Claire's honor), grabbed some balloons and cupcakes and went to the cemetary! We all wrote messages on the balloons and placed some beautiful flowers on Claire's grave! We held hands in a circle around the flowers, prayed and then released our balloons! Wouldn't you know that Sarah wanted two balloons and one of hers left her hands early headed in the complete opposite direction from the rest of ours! Our balloons eventually followed Clarie's, but it took them a while. Does that sound familiar or what? The times we have been somewhere and Claire was way ahead in another direction and we were left asking "Where's Claire?"

Later in the evening we each wrote down special memories of Claire. We wanted to watch some video of Claire but were unable to (long story) due to technical difficulties!

I don't know if we "celebrated" the right way or not, but I do know it felt right to us! Thanks to everyone who has reached out to us and poured out blessings and mercies on us this week. Please continue to pray for us as next week is the 1 year anniversary of Claire's home-going!

May God bless each of you today!!

Enjoy some pictures from some of Claire's Birthdays!