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Refuge in our signs from Heaven

I  recently remembered a story I never have shared before. I was reminded why I chose the name Gifts of Everlee. And what that name has meant for me. For there have been many gifts and signs we have received. Little blessings letting us know as we carry Everlee in our hearts through this world she is still beside us. Letting us know our Father has not forgotten us and still embraces us through this storm.

He will cover you with his feathers and under His wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4

About this time a year ago, Jeremy and I decided to retreat to a beachside condo in Florida for some much needed rest and recovery. Those first few months after we lost Everlee were hard to say the least. Especially the brigade of multiple holidays that followed. I don’t know how we made it through but by some grace we did. We found ourselves in a state of mental exhaustion. Very much in need of some space to breathe, reconnect as a couple and refocus on the year ahead of us. I think by this time in our grief the shock and numbness was all worn off and the painful reality was setting in more and more.

I think Jeremy was struggling with the fact he felt like he hadn’t received any signs from Heaven from Everlee. I think the lack of connection towards her bothered him. As his right it should. Moms are given this great gift of carrying and growing our babies. Dads don’t get to experience that automatic connection like mothers do. I have witnessed the birth of these connections before with my other children. I’m not sure it fully registers with men until they are in their arms. I remember this very moment very vividly with Jeremy and Alice the day she was born. I could see it the second Jeremy held her, his whole world opened up new in that very moment. There was no denying that he was head over heels in love with that little girl. I literally felt like a saw a part of his heart being given over to her through a gentle embrace. Telling her through his eyes as he stared at Alice that he’ll love her forever and always. The past three years being able to witness that connection grow with Jeremy and Alice, father and daughter, has been one of my life’s greatest blessings.

My heart breaks that Jeremy wasn’t able share all the time with Everlee that he has been given with Alice. Jeremy has exceeded any picture I had of him as to how he would father his children. I got a glimpse of it what to expect through seeing him with his older daughter Jayda. But I have only been around since she was 12 and Jeremy wasn’t given the opportunity to be with her 100 percent of the time.

Jeremy is the type of dad that is present with Alice as soon as he walks through the doors after work. He prides himself in his ability to put her to bed the best, and he never takes time to himself till her eyes are shut and you know she’s drifting off to dreamland. He is always right down on the floor playing with her. Those two have had many treasure hunts together and adventures in far away troll lands and unicorn fields. I never worry about home when I’m gone because Alice is probably having more fun with Dad anyway. I have seen him rush to her side for multiple scratches and bumps. He takes the lead if there’s too much blood for moms squeamish stomach. He definitely is that girls Hero in life.

Jeremy, Alice and Evey. I know those three would make quite a threesome if Everlee was here. My heart breaks that I have had just one moment in my lifetime to see those three together. A total of two pictures. And a lifetime of wondering what roll Evey would play in their adventures.img_2139

I can’t speak for Jeremy but I could see the anguish he was plagued with those days we got with Everlee. I could see his heart exploding with love for her just the same as with Alice but conflicted and breaking inside with hurt too. For the very moment he was waiting for, that moment he would get to hold his new daughter in his arms and finally be able to declare his love was here but tainted nonetheless because it was a goodbye at the same time.

Some times I look at our little signs and gifts from heaven as a reminder, a reminder  that our goodbye we said to Everlee isn’t permanent. Our lifetime here is simply one we get until the gates of heaven open to lead us to an eternal one with all our loved ones that left this earth sooner than us. A eternal life to hold Everlee in our arms as we dance in God’s grace and love.

Everlee found Jeremy in Florida that trip. She left a sign just for him. Maybe it was her way of playing a treasure hunt with daddy.

We had just picked up our morning coffee and found a nice white beach to relax on. Maybe fifteen minutes while sitting there later Jeremy found a fragment of a shell. Right underneath his foot. Like it wanted to be found. This fragment was perfectly shaped in the shape of an angel wing. I felt it right away, I said Evey is here with us and smiled. It only would feel right if she was, we had escaped to this spot to give our weary hearts a break and find some peace and joy. This felt like some joy that we were desperately searching for. I wrote Everlee’s name in a heart with the shell. Our angel on the beach with us that day.

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I wrote Evey because Jeremy often calls her Evey versus Everlee and I know the sign was more for him than me. He needed it.

On our last day on that trip on a different beach Jeremy picked up a perfect match to our one angel wing. The other side. Another fragment meant to perfectly fit color and all. Two broken fragments to form a perfect vision of angel wings. I have those two side by side hanging in a picture downstairs now. Some may see two broken shells but to me it was Everlee reminding us she’s still here wherever we go, and a little miracle from God to remind us how He guides you and heals your heart piece by piece. Taking something that appears to be broken to form something beautiful.

I saw Jeremy’s heart open and heal a bit on those shores in Florida. It was one of the first times I witnessed him opening up to a complete stranger about Everlee, the daughter he lost. I was so proud in that moment knowing he had found a way to share the unseen bond he has with his daughter. Everlee’s story is just as much his to share as it is for me. And he had found that courage to be vulnerable with a stranger.

We found a new connection together by the sunsets we shared every evening there on the beach. Watching the sun slip down over the ocean changing the sky to brilliant shades of orange, red, pink and finally purple. Each sunset opening our eyes and allowing us to find beauty in this world again. Knowing that with each sunset a promise of a new day coming. Feeling how that message applied to our own journeys and broken hearts. Restoring our faith that rest is coming. And feeling Everlee close as we imagined Heaven is painted with those same brilliant hues we were gazing at. A glimpse into her home.

Everlee is just as lucky as Alice to have daddy like Jeremy. My girls are blessed. For I see Jeremy’s love wash over Alice everyday as he protects her and cares for her as she grows. And I see Jeremy’s love span from earth to heaven as he finds ways to send his love to Everlee too, by sharing her with that stranger, or finding her shells she left for him. By building her the most beautiful garden for her and her angel friends to enjoy.

Have Faith for signs will turn up anywhere and guide you to where you need to go.

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First blog post

Everybody has to startsomewhere.

This is it, my fresh start. I found myself in a spot where I felt I must restart yet again. But maybe that is completely normal for this type of journey. So I should stop worrying. There is no failing if I don’t give up right. And I refuse to give up. So here it is fresh start number …. I lost count at this point.

If you have experienced a great loss in your life, the roller coaster that turns into your life after is nothing new  to you. Ups and Downs. Rushes of Highs and Dips of lows. Points where you are brimming full of Joy and times were reality hits you hard and fear takes over leaving you breathless and at the mercy of whatever your feeling right now and right then. You don’t know the path, you just jumped in knowing it might be great or horrible, maybe both. You did this hoping the end stop would leave you with a smile and a I would do that all over in a instant.

And I would.

Do everything over still, that I have done since the moment I came home without Everlee in my arms, up until now. This journey is not one that is considered right or wrong. It simply is one that becomes your story.  I’m finding judgment comes with fully allowing people to see into your heart and soul. But let them judge. For they do not have to live with my reality or walk in my shoes. If they did walk a mile in my shoes they would see the strength I carry inside to be able to continue along this path. A path that doesn’t include my daughter, a perfect little being who I created and formed inside of me and who became a part of my heart and soul. Someone I’ll forever be bonded to.

I think back to the story of Adam and Eve and how Eve was punished for sinning the first sin. I believe the agony of childbirth was the punishment for that. I have such a different view now though since giving birth to Everlee (my third daughter). I don’t see it as any type of punishment. I thank God everyday, for being chosen to carry that special little girl inside me for 8 months. For giving me her mom that opportunity to know her from the inside out. I felt her kick, hiccup, sleep, and be active. We had a schedule. She knew my heart beat, my voice, my touch. She felt my Love. How is that a punishment. I think It was the greatest gift to get to share that with her. Its all I got.

Just like I thought Everlee would come home with us, I’m learning that even your journey through grief after loss is not something that you can plan or know the outcome. Jeremy and I thought we would be welcoming a little rainbow child into our lives by now. But again that was a path I never saw coming. Infertility. Months of stress that eventually landed me back at square one. But here I am I got back up because my story isn’t over, its just simply another turn in the road. And I cant say everything is delayed because I do not know the plans that He has for me. All I know is I’m ready to say Yes to this journey again. Say Yes to letting God use me.

This picture was taken on St. John, on a friends recent vacation. St John is Jeremy’s and I’s happy place. I cant tell you how much love there is in our heart for that island amongst the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. I say that because we fell in love with the island on just one visit. We both simply felt like it was calling us home. We both came home with shirts with a picture of the island saying HOME on it. Our little Everlee also came from that vacation. A surprise souvenir really. Our Island Baby. You can see now how that island gained a huge part of our hearts.

When I was sent this picture a couple weeks ago it flooded my mind with so many things. A reminder of how Everlee is still a part of this world, forever carried by others. Her name is written right where it is suppose to be. On her island. Her beach. She was here, through me I got to share this beach with her. And now she has the best view in heaven looking down to see her name written on that same beach. To know her name was read and shared on the hearts of others by all those who walked by that day.

It reminded me too of a very Happy moment in our lives. I realized how long ago it was, two years since we were there. Its been two years ago that I can say we were in a truly happy state of mind. To be Truly Happy. I miss that. Looking back at photos of that vacation, those smiles and eyes didn’t hide a sad truth behind it, like our smiles do now.  Everything was right in the world. Its been too long.  And I can’t say I don’t want that part of me back. Because I do. I really do miss being truly happy.

This Picture, this simple reminder kind of dug me out. Out of a low I was having a hard time coming out of. My spirit and my fight always remained but I think there are times I feel unwilling to take control in a sense. When things seem to spiral more out of control it just makes me want to crawl in a safe little hole. A hole where I’m in control of my own surroundings. I realized I hopped off the ride. It was time to hop back on and accept the roller coaster nature of my life now. I might not know every turn or hill or joyful moment ahead. But I can see the ending platform now. I was reminded of that. I know I will have reached that when I can see that smile again, a smile that doesn’t have sadness lurking behind it. But a smile that carries  Everlee shining memory within it. A smile that proudly tells of every turn, hill, descend and path this journey has lead me on. A journey that I conquered just by being on and being ok with the up and down nature of it. A story, a journey that will be just mine. For I am the only one that got to share that special time with Everlee, where both our hearts were beating in unity.

So this is a fresh start …… A start that has Everlee in it and will end with her there too. There is no failing when you get back up again.

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