Today I’m just roaming around the house trying to process the fact that Abigail is no longer on this earth. I’m sobered, sad, yet hopeful. The truth is that my heart is away, residing with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, my nieces and nephews, my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Abby’s life embodied courage; the kind of courage that comes from pain. I remember her birth. Merribeth and I were pregnant together, both excited to meet our baby girls. Abigail and Bethany were 2 1/2 months apart. But from the beginning Abby struggled. It wasn’t until later that year that we learned she had serious health issues. She started having seizures.
I have had the privilege to see her family give and give. She went through so much and so they did as well. The were consistent to try new diets, doctors and prescriptions, new ideas as to what might make her life better and more rich. What they did the best though, was love.
She loved her baths. She loved her food. She loved her music so much. And she had the cutest clothes you’ve ever seen. She would bend her head down to the music toy, hit the button and listen with her ear pressed to hear the sound. And though she could never say with words what made her happy, she definitely communicated it. Her hands would clap and she would laugh. During seizures, her parents and family soothed and held her. They cried when she cried. And so many sleepless nights they spent awake on her behalf.
Merribeth taught me many lessons. One day I was bemoaning the fact that the kids were getting so grown and changing so much. She gave me a perspective of a mom who wished growth and change for her daughter; that each growth step is one to be thankful for. It was a poignant moment that I have never forgotten. I am cognizant of the beauty of change. Now Abby has changed. It happened.
I had a vision this morning while praying specifically for my sweet sister-in-law. It was so clear. I don’t know if this is the way it will be, but this is what I saw-
We were all in heaven. Abby was Abby, but without pain. She could talk and express herself completely. And we all turned to the big screen in front of us and watched hand in hand as her life played before us. Every interaction was there. When her mom said “Abigail, I love you”, Abigail would cock her head sideways (like she does) and instead of just listening, she talked back saying, “I love you too, mom”. It was what she would have said if she could have. When her dad said “Abigaaaaaaaiiiilll….NO!” and would laugh, Abby would not just smile but tease right back, with words coming from her heart and out her mouth. Every. single. interaction. We watched every single one, re-lived with Abby whole and well. She said every single word that she ever wanted to speak. And there was all the time in the world to live the life again. It was as if earth was the dream, and heaven the reality. And the last scene was the seizure that stopped her heart; the moment she left earth. She squeezed our hands a little tighter.
She turned to us as we stood there in heaven, tears in her eyes and said “Thank you for loving me and giving me what I needed. God knew you would be the ones who could love like this.” She thanked grandma for all of the walks in the stroller, all the times her siblings included her, every meal her momma made, every moment with a daddy who loved his baby girl, every…
We were the ones speechless now, overcome as we marveled that life on earth seemed so final in our minds. We were so joyous that in this new place we could know this kind of pleasure; that we could be with Abigail. She had been spending time with her cousin Christina, Grandpa and Grandma Wells, Grandma and Grandpa Thompson, while waiting for us. It was like we joined a prestigious club; they bonded on common ground; waiting on all of us to arrive.
That was my vision–beautiful and comforting on this day that I/we mourn. We miss her. We are happy FOR her. We will never forget her. The lessons she taught us in her weakness are much more powerful than any of our strengths.