“Hardships often prepare ordinary people…..for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
Amelia started bonding with Audrey from the minute she found out I was expecting. She was not even two years old yet…. so the concept of a baby growing in Mommys tummy was an exciting thought to her. She would spend hours playing with the doppler on my belly, listening to her heartbeat, and watching her kick.
Although…. my little Amelia had no idea what the true extent of a baby growing in her moms belly actually meant, and before we knew it April had rolled around and Audrey was here. Only this time Amelia was surprised to see this little baby we had talked so much about in my arms, instead of in the confines of my midsection. The look on her face said it all as she turned around and ran right back out of that hospital room as quickly as she had ran in. I remember being heartbroken as I came face to face with the fact that maybe this introduction was not going to be the instantly in love, adorable ones that you see pictures of.
I didn’t have to worry for long though, after the initial shock that this new little person would be living with our family permanently wore off, Amelia became an amazing big sister. With Abigail at school and Daddy at work, she became my little helper. I don’t think there was a bath, diaper change, or feeding that she wasn’t right there to help me with. We even took a daily nap together.
As I watched Amelia play with her, lay with her, and love on her I couldn’t help but think about how excited I was that they would be so close in age. Dreams of best buds and bunk beds filled my head. I had it all planned out.
I had no idea how Amelia was going to react on the morning that Audrey went to Heaven. She was only two, and even though I knew she could tell something horrible was going on, my heart broke as I realized she had no clue the enormous impact that Audreys death was going to have on her life. That the moment she opened her eyes that morning her daily napping companion was gone, her best friend had left, and that there would no longer be a need for bunk beds or joint birthday parties.
Amelia noticed Audreys absence almost instantly. She became upset, irritated, and even withdrawn in some ways. There were times she was extremely hard to be around as my heart broke every time that I heard her little voice say ” Wheres Audrey Mama?” I felt so helpless of the fact that my children had just experienced the death of two of their siblings in a row at such a young age.
From talking about Audreys death and that she was now in Heaven and happy, Amelia eventually started to be comforted by that answer. Assuming that with her age and as life continued to go on, memories of Audrey would begin to fade….. I have been surprised as not a day goes by that she doesn’t at least mention her in some way. Whether she names her baby doll Audrey or tells me that she is in Heaven before we go to bed at night. There have been so many times I catch her just smiling and staring at Audreys picture and can just sense that God’s not only got Audrey, but Amelia and Abi in his hands and that they are going to be okay.
As life continues to go on Amelia may not remember as much as the rest of us will. I am comforted in the fact that as the traumatic sounds and events of that life changing moment fades from her memory….the love for her sister will not. That she may have felt some of the stress, some of the anger, and some of the desperation that her Mommy and Daddy have not been able to hide from her view but that with faith in God we are making it. That she may not remember every intricate detail of Audrey and hers short time together but she will remember that she loved, and that she is loved.
Through Audreys death, Amelia was able to learn that her parents are not superheros. She was able to see that although we can kiss every scraped knee, or offer a hug for a broken heart that we do not have the ability to fix it…to heal it. Through Audreys death she was able to witness our family go through something that we could not deal with on our own. She was able to see two broken parents come together by the grace of God. She was able to have her family restored to a better place than they were at before. She was offered a chance to have a happier and healthier life with a real superhero at the center of it all. Audrey introduced her….introduced all of us…… to a God that could heal our broken hearts. I thank her for that.