Saturday, February 26, 2011

Angel Unaware

I was first introduced to Dale Evans Rogers' book, "Angel Unaware", by my Aunt Azalee when I was a little girl. I was a voracious reader from the time I learned to read. Mrs. Rogers' book is about her baby girl, Robin Elizabeth, who was born in August of 1950 with Down Syndrome. Robin lived nearly exactly two years, succumbing to heart problems particular to her condition that couldn't be corrected in that day and age. Aunt Azalee, my Daddy's sister, had gained comfort from Mrs. Rogers' book and wanted to share it with me. My Aunt Azalee and her husband Uncle Stanford had two children, a boy who became a preacher and a Baptist home missionary, and a daughter, Carolyn Sue. Carolyn Sue was born a healthy baby but had a terrible illness a few months after and was left cerebral palsied and mentally handicapped. Her parents took her to many healing services in Texas and the surrounding area. The last one they attended, Aunt Azalee was told by the preacher that the child's mother's faith was not strong enough. Aunt Azalee told him that her faith WAS strong enough, but she was going to accept that Carolyn Sue would not be healed in this lifetime. My aunt and uncle threw themselves into giving Carolyn Sue the best care, even though doctors wanted them to institutionalize her. Carolyn Sue went to church every time the doors were open. My aunt explained to me that if her daughter had any mentality at all and could accept Jesus as her Savior, she wanted her to hear the Gospel as much as she could. They kept their daughter at home for years, even into their old age, and finally put her into a nearby nursing center when they could no longer care for her. Aunt Azalee and Uncle Stanford were the happiest people. They didn't consider Carolyn Sue a burden. If they wanted to go on a trip, they took her with them. Carolyn Sue was always included in any gathering of our family. I think they believed she was their angel unaware. My aunt and uncle always prayed for Carolyn Sue to pass away before they did, so they would know for sure she was being taken care of. Uncle Stanford passed away, but my aunt did live to see Carolyn Sue go to Heaven. Her funeral service was one of the most meaningful ones I have attended. My aunt knew she could go peacefully, knowing that her daughter was in Glory.
After my aunt died, I asked her son if I could have her copy of "Angel Unaware" but he had already had an estate sale and it was gone. Knowing how touched I was when I had read it, and what comfort my aunt had drawn from it, I wanted a copy for myself. It was highly unlikely that I could get one though, for that book was published in 1953 and was probably out of print. About two years ago, I was in Half Price Books in my favorite section, Nostalgia. I was just looking at the locked glass cabinet where they keep their "treasures" and what did I see but a perfect copy of "Angel Unaware"! Next to it was a copy of "Dearest Debbie", another Rogers book about their adopted Korean daughter who passed away on a church trip. I had that book when I was a teen and lost it in one of our moves. I got both books for a song, and the comfort that came in re-reading them has been priceless. Roy and Dale Evans Rogers were not only entertainers, but committed Christians, and their dedication to the Lord is shown in these books. Even though both stories are sad, the Rogers' approach to grieving the death of a child has been uplifting to me.
I have probably mentioned before that I don't consider Meredith an angel, though I may call her one as an endearing term. I saw this poem on another blog and wanted to share it with you. (I changed just a few words to make it suit me a bit better)

Angel Unaware

Oh, the longing we both had,
To be a mommy and a dad.
We put our hopes and dreams in you,
He hoped for pink and I did, too.
But for you, God had a different plan,
One we may never understand.
We were visited by an angel,
Though we didn't know it then.
You were the answer to our prayer,
Our angel unaware.

We hardly got to say hello,
Before we had to let you go.
God breathed your name and called you home.
So briefly here, so quickly gone.
But in the stillness of the night,
My empty arms still hold you tight.
We were visited by an angel,
Though we didn't know it then.
You were the answer to our prayer,
Our angel unaware.

In my mind I see you running
Chasing bees and butterflies.
Soft hair gently blowing,
Healthy cheeks, laughing eyes.
In the quietness of the morning,
When the mist hangs in the air,
I hold you close within my heart -
My angel unaware.

How can I miss someone so much
I barely had the chance to touch?
Yet, as you grew inside of me,
I learned how strong a love can be.
I knew you for your lifetime -
I'll love you for all of mine.
We were visited by an angel,
Though we didn't know it then.
You were the answer to our prayer,
Our angel unaware.
-Author Unknown

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for
thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gifts of Love

From Trena

From Trennia

From a grandmother of an angel

From Angie

From Beth

From Casey - to all Moms

From Jen & Lily Angeline

From "Landon's Gift"

From Caroline

I have been blessed beyond measure with friends who think of Meredith and send me pictures for her. It's amazing what a picture can do for you, especially if it is for your child in Heaven.
Thanks to all these wonderful mothers who have blessed me with their talents. The two Valentine's cards are free images from other bloggers. The first one, the little brown haired girl, reminded me of what Meredith might have looked like. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Days of Ice

Since we have had rain, sleet, and snow in the last 24 hours, we are a wee bit frozen in here in Texas. I thought this was a good time to show the beautiful snowman picture that Jen made for Meredith. Jen is the mother to Lily, who resides in Heaven, and Coopie, her wonderful rainbow baby. Thanks, Jen!
It was raining the October day I came home from the hospital after Meredith died. It was raining in September when I found out our baby might come early. We wanted a girl so very badly that I don't remember us even having a solid boy's name chosen. But we did have a girl's name - Meredith for my grandmother Mary and my mother Edith. Helen was hubby's mother's middle name. The gray skies and fall rain mirrored the way my heart felt. Later on, as the reality of her death really sunk in, and also the fact that not everyone wanted to help us grieve, icy claws grabbed my heart, just like the ice we had today. I felt cold and windblown. I think I have mentioned this before, but I had strange fears that she was cold underground in the cemetery. I even had thoughts that I wished we had buried her in hubby's grandmother's yard (where we lived at the time) so I could look out and see if her grave was safe. Totally irrational, I know. For years, whenever I thought of Meredith, tears would well in my eyes. The icy claws of grief stuck with me for over 22 years before they started to melt. Today I thank God for standing by me, for Christian counselors and doctors, for an understanding hubby and children, for my parents who later on did talk to me about Meredith, to my wonderful cousins, friends who have stayed with me on this journey and new friends I have met because of this journey. Baby Meredith, I have always known in my mind that you were safe with Jesus, safe and warm. You are in His Heavenly Light, in His presence. I don't ever have to worry about you being cared for and comfortable. I love you, baby.