Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Sunday, November 4, 2012

8 Months Later and The Ornament...

I can hardly believe that it has been a month since I last wrote on this blog.  Life has been very busy, to say the least, and blogging has fallen to the bottom of the priority list I guess! :)

This fall has me teaching 10 private voice students at home, teaching a music appreciation class online for a college, working on Solveig's boxes, studying and preparing an opera role - "The Mother" in Amahl And The Night Visitors, and oh yes...that's right...I'm a mom and a wife and those roles are very much a part of my days as well.  Lots of pots are bubbling and I'm trying to stir them all.  In some ways it is really good to be this busy, because it keeps my brain occupied.  And in some ways it feels overwhelming at times.  Nonetheless, I do feel that God has called me to all of these tasks and roles right now and I'm glad to have them on my plate.

When October 29th rolled around, I had planned to write about Solveig.  But I think it was then or shortly before or after that the massive hurricane/storm happened on the east coast and I just didn't feel like it was right to be writing about my life when many people were losing theirs and struggling to have electricity, food and a clean bed to sleep in.  That struggle continues for them and my heart goes out to them.  I'm praying for God to help all of those in need right now who have been affected by the storm.

So now, a few days later after the 8 month marker, here I am.  It has been 8 months since Solveig came and went, and I can hardly believe that so much time has already passed.  It really doesn't seem possible.  Our sweet girl is still very present in my mind, every day, throughout the day.  Different things make me think of her.  Some of those memories are good and some are really hard.  It is almost like there are tapes of her last days and moments that continue to replay in my mind, and my brain automatically presses the rewind button and the replay button...even though I don't necessarily want to be thinking about it all the time.  It's just there.  Maybe it would be more harmful for me to pretend that the thoughts weren't there - to turn them off, so to speak, and to later have to face the thoughts.  There's just no way that those memories can go unnoticed and hidden for too long before they will naturally come bursting forth like a volcano erupting.

I cry at the most random times.  There can be many days in a row where I don't cry and where I think I'm doing okay, and then something will trigger a memory and I will find myself in a puddle once again.  That's okay though.  I try to just let the tears wash over me, because I know that crying it out is a   much healthier way to deal with my grief than to try to shove it inside.  Besides, I just don't operate that way.  I have to get it all out there, if you know what I mean.

I spent the weekend at a voice teacher conference/student competition a little ways north of here.  It was sort of nice to get away from home and to spend time with my colleagues and friends in the field.  We all descended onto a beautiful college campus where this event has been held for many years now.  Each year at the school, there happens to be a fun little craft fair that always lands on the same weekend as our conference.  Two years ago was the first year that I went to the conference as a teacher and not as a student.  (I used to compete at this competition when I was in college and before I went to grad. school.)  Anyway, when I went two years ago and discovered the craft fair, I was directed by a friend of mine to go and see the beautiful hand painted glass ornaments that some sweet, older ladies create.  Immediately I knew I had found something very unique, and in my opinion, these ornaments are the best part of the craft show.  I met one of the ladies two years ago and asked her if she would please personalize two ornaments for my Bug and Buzz with their names and the years.  One is a dragonfly and I cannot remember right now what the other ornament is.  But the kids love them, and we have put them on our tree the last few years.

This year, I've been wanting to find a special ornament for my Solveig.  I remembered about the ornament ladies at the craft show and sought them out yesterday.  It was there that I met sweet Ingrid and shared with her my story...

"Hi, I bought two of your ornaments a few years ago for my children and they love them."

Ingrid replied, "oh wonderful!  They must be careful with the ornaments so that they don't break them."

"Yes indeed, " I said, "I try to make sure that they are very careful and that they just look at the ornaments and that they don't touch them."

And then, I tried to muster up the strength to ask her what I had been preparing to ask her for a few days..."do you ever paint angels?"

"Yes, I have painted angels before.  What kind of angel were you thinking about?" she said.

My face started to get red, and the tears started to pour out of my eyes.  I could barely speak, but I said, "we lost our baby girl 8 months ago to late term stillbirth...and I was hoping that you could paint me a little baby angel with dark brown hair...her name is Solveig Sofia...and she was born still on February 29, 2012."

Ingrid started to get tears in her eyes as well, and she replied, "yes, of course I can do that for you.  It might take me a little while, but just check back in a little bit."

I kept checking back with Ingrid to see the progress.  It was so incredible to watch this work of art happening before my very eyes.  Ingrid asked me at one point, "what color would you like her robe to be?"

"Pink...pale pink.." was all I could must out of my blubbering mouth.

Ingrid replied, "yes, that was exactly what I was thinking anyway, but I wanted to make sure to confirm it with you first."

A little while later, I came back and the ornament was complete.  She showed it to me to make sure that I would approve.  Of course I did.  It was the most amazing thing to me that someone would create this beautiful ornament to honor my daughter...and the likeness of the painting was so uncanny...there she was with her dark brown hair, not long yet, round face, brown eyes and pink rosy cheeks...just like me...and just like what I think she really would look like if she had life when she was born.  We never did get to see her eyes, so to see a representation of her with brown eyes was just awesome.  I'm sure that's what they would be, as her big brother and sister have brown eyes as well.

Ingrid then said, "This is a gift.  I want you to have this."

Stunned and taken aback, I said, "but Ingrid, I was going to pay you."

"No, no.  I want to give this to you," she replied.

I immediately reached out and gave her a hug and we shared tears.  Sweet Ingrid blessed me in such a deep way with that little glass ornament.  Solveig's name and birthdate also were painted on the ornament.  It is a most precious and unique keepsake that I will always treasure.  Soon I will try to post a picture of it.

God is good.  He shows up in special ways at times when I least expect it...and the ornament from Ingrid and her kindness and understanding to me are some of those special ways.  That goodness is some of what keeps me going each day.

Thank you Lord, for showing yourself to me and blessing me in my fragility.