Today I watched my niece Mallory while my sister Tara worked. It was a rainy day and in the morning it was just the two girls and Hugh and I since the boys were all in school. I sat there watching my daughter and my nice. As I stood there watching them both and was so grateful they have one another to grow up with, part of me realized how very different they are but how very alike they are too.
Both girls are really polar opposites if you look at them. Deep down they have something connecting them though and for the first time it really hit me. Both girls have a big brother in heaven. They each will never know them personally. Each girl brought to the family a joy in the middle of the storms of our lives and don't even know how much they really mean. They are both rainbow babies.
Thinking of the two of them made my mind wander to George and my nephew Gavin. I know I have randomly mentioned Gavin but I have never really gone into detail or expressed how thankful I am to God for his very existence in my life. He is my sister Tara's first baby that returned to heaven 12 weeks after God blessed my sister's womb with him. We never got to meet him face to face. My sister has pictures from her ultrasound, and I remember my first glimpse at him on that black and white screen as I sat there in a chair pregnant with George rolling around in my belly. Little did we know at that point in time that both boys would return to heaven much sooner than any of us had planned.
My sister found out not long after that first meeting that my nephew had a rare condition where his heart and intestines were not enclosed into his little chest. Doctors had told her this information and I remember her world coming in around her and feeling so helpless as I watched the torture and torment wash over her in the next few weeks. There was nothing I could do to help her other than be there for her. I went over to her house one day when she had gotten the news of this disorder the baby she carried had. My heart went out to her since I knew how horrible it was to get news that there was something seriously wrong with your child and that it could ultimately kill them. Mine did not come in the form of a black and white picture but rather a letter in the mail. Even though I knew it, I remember crying on my couch all alone as I red the information that diagnosed Joshua. My dreams had all been destroyed in that very moment and I knew that was exactly what she was going through.
The next few days were a whirlwind of emotions. No one really knew what to do for her. People tended to say the wrong things without even knowing they were doing so. Everyone learned real quickly that there was no easy way to handle the situation and that often times saying nothing is better than trying to make it better, ok well not everyone. I remember calling CHOP to find out what the doctors there could do if anything and made an appt for my sister and her husband to meet with them to see what the future may hold for their son. Unfortunately, he never made it to that appt. His little heart stopped beating and Sept 29th 2009 he returned to heaven.
I remember standing there with my little boy in my arms aching and dying inside for my sister. Having had scares of loosing my own children always made me so scared and we even had a conversation Christmas day that year after we had gotten short with one another about that very thing. She tried to explain to me how she felt while I stood there trying to explain my feelings and told her how I worried every day of my life that one day I would wake up to find one of my children dead in their bed. I also told her how I always had felt that one of my children would die and I knew the day George was born that I felt it was him but I had hoped that I was wrong. Unfortunately, I was not wrong and just a few short weeks later we were standing in the hospital saying our final goodbyes to my son too.
Tara always told me how George helped her through her loss of Gavin and would tell him to make sure Gavin knew she loved him. Little did she know that the nephew I never got to meet has always had a special place in my heart and given me comfort through my loss. Somewhere deep inside, I know that George and Gavin are in heaven together. It always saddens me that George never got to really know his brothers or grow up with them. After some thought, I realized that the two of them get to be together in heaven and although they are not blood brothers they are brothers none the less and will get to be close in their own way. I am so grateful that George has someone to be with up there and although that sounds kind of odd, I can't really explain it what it means to know he is not alone. I had always hoped our kids would grow up together and Mallory and Gabby will but Gavin and George have their own special bond too.
Often times when Tara and I sit here together we find ourselves crying. We talk about George and I thank God for the relationship that we have and how close we have become. Part of me thinks that Gavin was put here so that Tara would be able to understand my pain and that we would forge a special bond that not everyone understands. Had she not had Gavin and felt the pain of her loss I don't know if she would have really understood what I am going through since she knows how hard it was for her with all that she went through. Often times when no one else seemed to understand and I felt like I was loosing my mind and myself she was there to lend an ear or a shoulder to cry on when no one else understood my pain. All of this was possible all because of my nephew.
I think of Gavin all the time and how the two of our boys are waiting in heaven for us. When all is said and done, he was my nephew and my heart broke when he went to heaven but I still thank God for him every day. He changed my life and has also helped me to heal in a way I can't exactly explain. Our two little girls somehow are physical reminders of our son's and God's greater plans in our lives. Had both boys lived, neither girl would be here. Our lives would be very different and we would not be the people we are today. The relationship we have would be different. It is ironic how two little boys could change the lives of so many people and not even know it. I thank God every single day for both of them and find that they have shown how we each can make a difference just by our sheer existence and how God's plan is much greater than our own even when we cannot see any sense in it at the time. There are always breaks in any storm and ours happened to have a rainbow to show God's promise! Thank you Lord for your blessings in the storm!
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!