Then came Jack. I knew of his existence five years before his birth. He came to me in a dream. I was told after his birth to not have other children. It was too dangerous. So I spoiled him. Never put him down. The first time he ever spent time without me was when his little sister was born.
The little sister he and Noelle weren't supposed to have. The baby that could possibly kill me. Despite doctor's warnings and precautions....Lilli came along twelve months and six days after Jack.
I didn't realize I was pregnant with her until I was four months along. I spent the next five months living in constant fear. This baby could kill me and then what would become of Noelle and Jack?
Despite numerous ultrasounds, I didn't know Lilli was a girl until the day she was born. My labor started May 19th at 9am. I refused to accept that, you see Noelle was graduating Kindergarten the following day. This was not an event I could miss. So I went through my day, hiding the contractions, hoping I could will her to stay inside me for at least 24 more hours.
Well babies are going to come when they want to come. No amount of willpower will stop them. I finally conceded and arrived at the hospital at midnight. Pulling into the parking lot, "Backseat of a Greyhound Bus", by Sara Evans came on the radio. Even though I was in active labor, I sat in my car to listen to that song. And I knew then...this baby was a girl, and like the song, she would be my saving grace. She would walk me through storms that I had no idea even existed.
I realized after Noelle died that God gave me Lilli for a reason. He knew surely when she was first laid in my arms that in 18 short years he would be calling her home. He knew I needed a daughter. So he gave me Lilli-the baby that wasn't supposed to be born. The baby that could have killed me, but didn't...my Saving Grace.
I know that I have put that child through hell these past two years. I know she has doubted her place in my heart watching me mourn her sister. She has watched me drown my sorrow in alcohol, kneeled beside me when I drop to my knees in tears, checked on me, fed me, made sure I was OK on the days I couldn't get out of bed.
Today she asked me if I had seen a FaceBook post from Noelle's friend. The post was about spending Noelle's last two days with her. Lilli said to me, "Mom, I think she knew." Somehow, she knew she was soon to be leaving this earth and she was spending her last moments shoring up memories. Her final gift to P.
"I just wish I could have had one last day with her", I said to Lilli. "I know, me too", she answered.
In my selfish grief, I don't always see Lilli's pain. That's one of the terrible tings about grief-all you see-all you feel is what is going on inside you.
Thank you Lilli. Thank you for always putting my grief above yours. That is not your job and it shouldn't be the dynamics of our relationship. I'm sorry I am not always the mother I should be, but thank you for being my Saving Grace. I promise you one day I will be better than what I am today. I love you with all my heart. You are fulfilling your destiny every day...I can't wait to see the wonderful, powerful woman you grow up to be.