I sat in the church pew watching as vows were said and rings exchanged...while my mind and heart spun dizzily in gazillions of directions.
My mind spun forward in time and I saw my own Samuel up there...exchanging rings with his future bride. My mind spun backwards too as I remembered the vows Mike and I exchanged and had no idea how hard the worse of `for better or for worse`would be. But my heart and mind also spun sideways into the alternate universe where I could imagine Eva as a beautiful bride too. My heart galloped away with me, and, as today's bride and her mother teared up, and the bride and groom promised to be faithful in the best times and in the worst times I thought about how when we start down this path of marriage we really have no idea how good the best times will be nor how bad the worst times will be. It is true faith to promise yourself for the best and for the worst. My own tears joined theirs in crying again for my little girl that will never get married and never have children. Never have a `for better or for worse`. Never have a best friend toast her at her wedding. Eva lives only in our hearts here on earth. It's so hard to twist my mind around my knowledge that in Heaven she is more alive than the bride was today.
Outside there was one of the cutest girls I've seen in a long time running around in her wedding attire. I asked her mom how old she was. Almost 21 months. Oh so she's an October baby? Yes, on the 11th. 4 days older than our Eva. It's so hard to imagine my little princess that big. Running around in a sundress. It's pointless to draw comparisons, I know, but sometimes it's hard to ignore them as they run around you in a sundress.
After a few minutes I asked the mom if I could
It's amazing how there is this strange sub-culture of bereaved parents walking around with invisible holes in their hearts. Invisible children clinging to their skirts and their hearts. Invisible children in family portraits. Invisible children playing in the grass and running around in sundresses. Invisible children to everyone else but taking up so much space in our hearts.
I love you and miss you here sweet Eva but I anticipate the day I see you again.
And on a different note...
In between the wedding and the reception we came home and I cleaned up the books that were spread around the living room by my own ardent readers. I picked up Dear Mili which is a fairy tale by Grimm that was found over 100 years after his death and published with artwork by Maurice Sendak. I remembered buying it at the library book sale several years ago and wondering why this hardcover picture book in perfect condition was in the sale. Until I read it. Of course no one would want to read that story of death to their young children...but today I picked it up and read it again, with new eyes.
The young girl and her mother live together in a cottage. There is a war and the mother sends the girl away into the forest for three days and then she should return to her mother. The child lives for three joyful days with an old man in the forest and after that time returns to her mother only to find that her mother is a very old woman. The young girl`s life had been but a joyful moment while her mother aged 30 years on earth and endured the hardships of war. As the old mother embraces her daughter she exclaims that this has been her wish to see her daughter again in the same way as she was when she last laid eyes on her...and here she has come back and is even wearing the same dress. They lay down together and go to sleep. In the morning they are both dead.
This story has certainly changed for me. I once shunned that book as being too morbid but now I cherish it. I think of how time is different in Heaven than it is here, and how for God a thousand years is like a day and a day is like a thousand years...maybe when I die my little princess will come to me looking the same as she did when I last held her in my arms. What a glorious day that will be.