Thursday, April 23, 2015

Loving Lily

by Kellie Soper

I miss Lily. Every second of every minute of every day. When I think about the fact I have not held my baby daughter in over five months, I almost want to laugh. I mean, it's beyond absurd when you really think about it. When you think about how much a five month old needs their mother and when you think about how much a five month old needs to be held...And I have not held her in over five months. Absurd.

I miss her. Every single day. Some days are much harder than others. Some days there is nothing that can ease my weary soul that longs to be with my daughter. On these days, I think back to her funeral and strangely, how much peace I felt that day.

Total peace. I am sure that sounds so weird. And if you would have told me the months leading up to her birth that I would feel peace at her funeral I would have thought you were crazy.

But I did. Maybe it was the pain meds. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, but I didn't really cry at her funeral. I cried when she left my arms at the hospital. Just before her funeral I was sobbing over her as they closed the casket. After her funeral I wept as they placed her in the ground. 

But during her funeral, I felt a tremendous peace. I look back on that moment and I smile because to me, her funeral marked one of the most important accomplishments of my entire life. It was the hardest trial I have ever faced, but carrying Lily to term is the one thing in my life I know I did right. I can look back to that day and smile because I know with 100% certainty she is in Heaven. As much as my arms ache without her, I am beyond grateful I get the chance to miss her. Loving her has changed my life and made be a better wife, mom, sister, friend. She has made me a better everything.

This was read at Lily's funeral. The first part was adapted from something a dear friend shared with me a few weeks after our diagnosisThe second written by me about what it really means to love Lily. My words are still inadequate, there are no real words to describe this love for my sweet Lily. She has stolen my heart forever and I will spend the rest of my life missing her, loving her, and hoping to meet her in my dreams.

To Love a Person - Adapted from Kathleen Dean Moore

What does it mean to love a person? 

To love - a person - means at least this:
One. To want to be near her, physically.

Number two. To want to know everything about her - 
her story, her moods, what she looks like by moonlight.

Number three. To rejoice in the fact of her.

Number four. To fear her loss, and grieve for her inquiries.

Five. To protect her - fiercely, mindlessly, futilely, and maybe tragically, 
but to be helpless to do otherwise.

Six. To be transformed in her presence - 
lifted, lighter on your feet, transparent, 
open to everything beautiful and new.

Number seven. To want to be joined with her, 
taken in by her, lost in her.

Number eight. To want the best for her.

Number nine. Desperately.

Loving isn’t just a state of being, it’s a way of acting in the world. 
Love isn’t a sort of bliss, it’s a kind of work, sometimes hard, spirit-testing work. 
To love a person is to accept the responsibility to act lovingly toward her, 
to make her needs my own needs. 
Responsibility grows from love. It’s the natural shape of caring.

Number ten. 
To love a person is to accept moral responsibility for her well-being.

What does it mean to love Lily?

It means everything on this list and so much more.

It means knowing that labor will hurt and you go through with it anyway 
even though you don't get to keep your reward.

It means knowing that your heart will be broken for the rest of your life, 
but holding her for even five minutes makes up for it.

It means watching her lift her big brother off your belly 
with her amazingly strong kicks.
It means you will be filled with awe, wonder and sorrow 
as you watch your belly dance before you go to sleep every night.

It means you might not get any sleep at night 
because Lily wants to dance all night long and that's totally okay with you.

It means you never knew you could love 
someone so much before you even meet them.

It means your heart will be so full when you see her 
with her brother's chipmunk cheeks.

It means if you had would do it all over again 
because those brief minutes held more love 
than a whole lifetime does for some.

It means you didn't know it was possible 
for your heart to grow in so much love for your husband 
through honoring your daughter.

It means memorizing every single sweet and perfect detail 
so you can meet her in your dreams.

It means you will fight and defend her right to life 
until your very last breath.

It means that you mourn for your son 
who doesn't have his best friend to grow up with, 
but also rejoice in knowing the special connection 
he will have with her in Heaven.

And most importantly, 
it means you will never be the same person again, 
for we are the mother and father of a saint, 
and we walk with one foot on earth and one foot in Heaven, 
until we meet our beautiful girl again.

~ ~ ~

Kellie Soper lives in Arizona and is wife to her amazing husband, Jason. Together they have two beautiful children, one on earth and one sweet, perfect soul in Heaven. Ted is a wild, silly, and rambunctious toddler. Their sweet Lily Frances was born sleeping on November 12, 2014. They learned at their 18 week ultrasound that Lily had a fatal neural tubal defect the doctors said was "incompatible with life." Kellie and Jason both knew Lily was not a "decision", but their precious daughter and they believe her life was of value, no matter what. She carried Lily with love for 42 weeks and 2 days. They miss her every single day, but are grateful for the honor and privilege of being her parents. You can read more about their family on Kellie's blog, Life and Love.


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