Wednesday, April 01, 2009

I Think I Saw A Miracle

My Uncle Buck wrote this piece and sent it to me. Like his last one I shared, it is very good. He's always had a special way with words.

I Think I Saw A Miracle

Like so many other people I am struggling to make sense of the events of the last several months. I wish I knew why these things happen and why it always hurts so badly. I went back thru everything I have written and searched my mind for an answer. I didn’t find an answer but I did come across something I wrote over 30 years ago when I faced the loss of someone I loved. I wrote:

You've a place in my heart that no one will ever fill. You can never be replaced. Your picture is etched indelibly in my mind and I'll always feel the warmth of your hand in mine. Time and circumstance may separate us, yet you remain, for all I need do is close my eyes and memories of you enlighten my day.

When I penned those words I thought I knew what love was all about. I thought my experience was unique, that no one else could possibly understand the terrible agony I felt. I was convinced the loneliness that haunted me could never visit another. It was too powerful, it was all encompassing, it was a special anguish, reserved for me alone.

That all changed several months ago when I heard the prognosis for Carleigh. I have no words to describe the oppressive darkness Holly and Anthony must have faced that day. I learned then I had no idea what pain was. Can there be anything worse than losing a child?

But in the same manner that opening a curtain lets in the brilliant light of the sun, the darkness that gripped them was lifted by a single decision. Holly and Anthony chose to carry their child to term with the hope of spending a few precious minutes with her. It was that simple. They chose life. And because of that choice I had the chance to look at things differently. And I think I saw a miracle.

No, it wasn’t the miracle we all prayed for. It wasn’t the miracle that Carleigh’s grandparents and family would have given anything for. It was not the miracle we all feel Holly and Anthony deserved. Today we are all resigned to the fact that a precious child is not among us, proof that the will of the Lord will be done. So no, the miracle we all wanted didn’t happen. But I saw something life changing. And I still think I saw a miracle.

Over the last several months I watched in wonder as technology allowed all of us to share in the special journey Holly and Anthony undertook. I think it has to do with my age that I didn’t recognize the human element in the internet. I am all too familiar with scam emails, spam, viruses, worms and websites that remind you man is not a pure and pristine being. The internet represented a necessary evil at work and a technological dance with the devil at home. And I must admit to wondering where it is all heading when I found myself in the seating area in a hospital in Wilmington, waiting on a text message from my daughter in law in Columbus to tell us how Holly was doing in a room less than 100 feet from me.

But the blog Holly created changed my opinion about the internet. Her blog opened my eyes to the good that can come about when caring people unite, whether in churches and arenas or in the transmission of a bunch of ones and zeros that miraculously transform into the thoughts and emotions of people from all over. The thousands of visits and the hundreds of recorded comments on her blog are proof of something much larger than I ever imagined. People separated by time and geography shared their beliefs, their desire for Holly and Anthony to experience the profound happiness of greeting their baby into the world, and the sorrow they felt when life reminded us we cannot control everything. People I will never see offered encouragement to Holly and Anthony on a daily basis. Upon hearing the news that Carleigh was not granted that first breath of life they prayed and cried in the privacy of their own homes, and then shared their emotions and spiritual beliefs in the public arena of the internet. Talk about spreading the faith. Maybe I don’t know what a miracle is but I find it miraculous to see such an outpouring of emotion from a group of people who otherwise would never congregate. A group of people united because they felt a need to support a family facing the worst life has to offer. And they did it by using the internet. Instead of a dance with the devil they let the Lord guide them and created an incredible wellspring of support, love and shared a common belief in a Supreme Being. I think I saw a miracle.

But that was not the only marvelous work I witnessed. Over the course of the last few months I have seen once again the awesome power of love. Based solely on their love for their unborn child and for each other, Holly and Anthony made some difficult choices and hand in hand faced the consequences of those choices. That’s powerful stuff. Yet their love is but one component of a breath taking, community wide outpouring of support for a child taken far too soon. A wide range of people seeking to show their love and compassion sent tokens in an attempt to express their feelings. And what a stunning array it was. There were handmade blankets and outfits. Those gifts were as beautiful as the love felt by those who made them. I didn’t see all the hours devoted to making them but I have a pretty good idea what went into each of these special symbols of love. I watched my wife spend night after night cutting, sanding and shaping a cross out of a piece of wood from a barn that has been in Holly’s family for 60 or 70 years. She, like so many other people, felt a need to find a way to express their feelings in the form of something tangible. Pouring out their hearts was not enough. Sharing words of encouragement was not enough. Praying was not enough. There was a need to share creative talents and the bounty of skilled hands that could not sit idle.

Some people provided gift certificates and someone even came up with a belly casting thing. I have yet to figure that one out. The hospital set high new standards in hospitality and overwhelmed a tired and grateful family gathered to support Holly and Anthony. Goodness knows how many other gifts or acts of kindness I failed to mention. Holly even received technical help creating her website-and she wasn’t placed on hold for 2 hours only to end up talking with someone who has a limited command of the English language. That is a miracle in itself!

I saw deeply personal gestures, in some cases nothing more than a tearful nod of the head or a sympathetic shrug of the shoulders between people struggling to understand why this happened. I saw a Mothers love in Holly’s determination to hold her daughter, in the tearful embrace between 2 mothers in law and the young father who had just told them Carleigh had passed on during birth. I saw a Mother’s love in a hug and a gentle hand placed on the shoulder of a grieving son. Just a couple of months ago I wrote Holly a note telling her I would never understand the love of a Mother. I was wrong. Today I understand that most special of all bonds and I am filled with miraculous wonder at its strength.

But you know when I think about it maybe I didn’t see a miracle after all. Maybe I saw dozens of little miracles. Or maybe there weren’t really any miracles. Maybe what I witnessed was life in all its glory, showing us the potential and wonder of making the right choices. Maybe what I have been watching for the last several months is simply described as all the best that life has to offer. At a time when our world is unsettled and uncertainty is a constant companion, I witnessed the very best in life. Maybe waking up each day is the only miracle we are ever granted. What happens after that depends on the choices we make.

This thing called life intrigues me. I am always trying to figure it out. In fact, several years ago I set about to write a piece about life. At that time I thought life was really a gloomy struggle, something we endured. I thought maybe the only way we could see the hidden beauty of life was to wait until we could view it from heaven. I must have worked on that piece for 6 or 8 months. But the words were never right. I found out why after talking with a friend who was suffering from terminal cancer. This guy was inspiring. He told me he would take any medication, subject himself to any experimental procedures, that he would accept becoming in his words “a human pin cushion” if it would just give him one more day. He told me he would accept anything they threw at him because he loved everything about the life he had. He wanted to live because living was such an incredible experience for him. He convinced me I had it all wrong. Life is infinitely filled with miraculous moments. We just don’t take the time to see them. He told me he did not fear tomorrow because no matter what happened he had faith. I finished Roses, Lights and Laughter within hours after talking with him. I think it is appropriate to share with you.

ROSES, LIGHTS, AND LAUGHTER

OUR BEING IS NOT A BATTLE, FILLED WITH BITTER STRIFE.

ITS ROSES, LIGHTS, AND LAUGHTER, A WONDROUS THING CALLED LIFE.

SO SAVOR EVERY CHALLENGE. IN EACH THE BLOSSOMS FIND.

FOR THE DETAILS ARE BUT PETALS OF A FLOWER IN YOUR MIND.

GREET THE MORNING SUNSHINE WITH THE STUNNING LIGHT IT BRINGS,

TO REVEAL UNSEEN BEAUTY IN DARK, NIGHT-HIDDEN THINGS.

ENJOY THE SWEETEST MUSIC, THE LAUGHTER THAT WE SHARE,

AND REVEL IN THE MEMORY OF TIMES WITH THOSE WHO CARE.

LIFE TRULY IS A WONDROUS GIFT, A VASE SENT FROM ABOVE.

WHERE WE CAN BURY BITTER ROOTS OR SOW THE SEEDS OF LOVE.

Holly, Anthony, thank you for sowing cyber seeds of love. You found a way to put the dirt on the internet to good use. Thank you for showing me once again what a joy life can be when we stop taking it for granted.

I am so very sorry for the loss of your daughter. I wish this would have turned out differently. But my sadness is tempered in a very small way by the honor and privilege I feel from being a part of this most remarkable journey. Carleigh is not the only one who is in a better place today. Thank you for sharing, thank you for caring, thank you for reminding all of us what a wonderful gift life is.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful. There truly are miracles even if they are not the ones we prayed for, nicely said. Just as you were Carleigh;s miracle. You gave her the opportunity to feel a mother's love as she was growing inside you. People have told me that a child chooses their mother. I truly believe Carleigh chose you because she knew you were an amazing mother and you would put your faith in God and trust Him. You and your family are in my prayers.

meaghan said...

I love what he said - Carleigh isn't the only one in a better place because of the unselfish journey you and Anthony chose to take with her - and all of us. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

That is so beautiful! I'm in tears. Like I said before Holly you have such an amazing family! Absolutely beautiful!

Ashley

Brooks said...

Perfect.

The McDaniel's said...

This couldn't have been written any better. The words he wrote are so true and he is a loving man! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Kim said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I know, though, with caring family around you that you will find the strength to go forward and with the memories of your precious baby, you will keep her in your heart forever.

What your uncle wrote was beautiful. What a blessing to have him in your life.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely breathtaking. I am a writer, and I couldn't have said it better than that. I've said it before, but Jesus has been revealed to us because of Carleigh and this beautiful family chosen to be a part of the journey.

My blessings to you and an uncle we would all be blessed to call our own.

Toni said...

WOW! There are so many times I can not find teh right words to say. Your Uncle has a gift. I wish I could pour my thoughts out like that.

You will always be in my prayers. As I cry once more for you and your family I can't stop thinking of how strong you are.

Love Toni (tayanddyl)

Sarah (Lovemy918-CM) said...

Simply Beautiful!

Nicole said...

Perfect.

The Martin Family said...

Truely Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, wish I could write like that. You are blessed with a wonderful and supportive family Holly.

Susan (Wilcox)Wren

MommyIvy said...

I agree with your uncle. We are all in a better place because of you.

Miche said...

Very well written! My husband and I are currently walking in your shoes quite literally which is how I found your blog through another blog. Thanks for sharing this and your story. It helps us know we aren't alone.

www.formegangrace.blogspot.com

Divamommaof4 said...

Your Uncle sure does have a way with words and words that are so true. You have change many peoples lives by keeping the blogs and allowing us to be a part of your life through it all and for that you are a very strong woman. I cried reading this post as I have with many of your post. I just wanted to let you know that you and your family are still in my prayers.

Laura said...

That is a lovely piece of work- your uncle has an incredible way with words.
I, like many others, cried while reading this & several other posts here. I am so happy that you shared the miracle of Carleigh with us. She has touched my heart, and I will never forget her.
Love, Laura (emslala)

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