In 2010, I stopped in at a little country store. I have no idea what made me pull in that day, with the weather cool and dreary. Having passed that store a dozen times or more on the way to visit my parents, I still can't pinpoint what made me stop. I've thought about that, too....why that day?
I wasn't looking for anything in particular until I saw this beautiful mahogany box. Hand crafted, rich in color and smooth, it was meant to hold cigars. But I knew it was perfect for something else.
It was perfect to hold the memories....
I picked it up and knew I had to buy it. Smoothing my hands over and over the top and edges, I carried it to the front. A lady, who looked to be of grandmotherly age, held out her hands to take the box and ring me up. As I watched her wrap it so carefully in butcher paper, I must have looked pained because she asked me..."Are you ok?"
In that split second I had to decide - Do I tell her?
I opened my mouth, to say what I don't know. Probably to give the requisite "I'm fine" and go. But instead, truth spilled out of my mouth.
I told her about our daughter, how she had died inside of me. I told her how beautiful that little girl was, and how scared I was that the son I now carried would share her fate. I shared with her how beautiful I thought that box was, and that it was to hold all the memories I had of little Kasey.
She put her hands on my cheeks, pulled me to her and said, "God loves you."
It was exactly what I needed to hear that day. I left with a box, a special place to put Kasey's onesie, and the prayer that her father said over her grave. But I also left with reassurance.
God loves me.
And months later, when our son did die...when his pictures joined Kasey's inside that box - I went back.
I went back and I asked her - Are you sure God loves me?
She said He did. And I left, not only with reassurance, but with her name and address.
And she wrote me. She wrote me of how her son died, and how she kept on living. She told me over and over how much God loved me, no matter how I felt right then. She was my angel. And I found her, I'm sure, by the Grace of God.
I still pull that box down sometimes, and look at all I have left of my babies.
Jessie, Kasey, Nathanael, Kayla, and Isaac. Their ultrasounds, little hats...a poem. I have little to hold here.
But I still hear her voice, her message simple but powerful.
"God loves you."