Sunday, October 23

:: Make like a Heron & Fly above the Clouds ::

A week and a half ago my grandmother "Glorio" went to UAB for scheduled back surgery and afterward they could not get her blood pressure or oxygen levels stabilized. She spent the day in recovery and the night in ICU where critical care had to be called several times. When I spoke to Grandaddy E the next morning he said that they almost lost her overnight. I wasn't prepared to walk into the ICU that day and see this normally spunky, full-of-life woman who has loved me all my life in the state she was in. She had a breathing tube and monitors and cords everywhere. She couldn't talk, and she was so miserable and in so much pain she wrote on a tablet that she wanted to go and rock Olivia in heaven. I just laid my head on her chest and cried. Cried because on one hand I could not stand the thought of loosing her. On the other, because I would love for Olivia to be rocked in her arms. Arms that I know and trust and love and that I know will love her the way I would have until I can get there myself. That first day was the worst. So many ups and downs-so many questions about her condition. I really cannot believe that as I type this Glorio is back at home recovering. There were times I didn't think she would leave the hospital. In 7 days in the hospital she improved enough to walk briefly with a walker and eat and drink on her own. Her bp issues were due to a very rare interaction with the bp medications she takes at home. She has a long road of recovery in front of her-her body went through so much. But each day I visited the hospital I saw more and more of her return the more and more energy and strength she gained. I know that will continue. She is one tough cookie that gave us one big scare! Please keep her in your prayers. And get well soon, Glory!!
Saturday we had our last soccer game of the season. I'm still not positive whether the kids liked the soccer or the promised playground time afterward best. Parrish wasn't all that interested at the beginning but by the end of the season we saw lots of improvement in interest AND skill in all of the kids on their team.
Of course it helped that Kaden was on the team.
And further helped that "Mr." Gentry and Cannon were the coaches. They spent a lot of time picking kids off the ground, brushing them off, drying their eyes, tying their cleats or lining them up. If not for the whistles they blew I think some kids would still be kicking a soccer ball down Valleydale Road.

I think Parrish liked kicking the ball back in bounds the best. He wasn't all that interested in getting mixed up in the "fray" of the pack to try to get to the ball during the game. Turns out he doesn't like to get knocked down or pushed around (and who does??)
We played aganist his buddy Cade whose Daddy David is a coach of the other team. This picture was taken after David was rubbing in their opposing goal. I can honestly say I don't know who won the game but I can promise you that if you ask David he will tell you the specific final score, all the while giving me a hard time. :)
The team picture minus Luke, Kennedy, and Britton. Go Thunder!!
After the game we headed to the river cabin to meet up with Karl, Nancy, Trotter and Collier. It had been WAY too long since we had seen each other. Busy summers and the pain of going places we always traveled together without our Olivia seemed to keep us apart more than we would have liked over the last several months. We were so glad to have a new place to make many new memories together. They are such precious friends and have endured this tragedy with us every step of the way.
As much as I love this picture, when I look at it I can't help but think that there is someone missing. Olivia would have laughed so hard at these silly boys having fun all weekend. I can imagine her running alongside Collier squealing and trying to be like the big kids.
Parrish and Trotter had the most fun I've seen two boys have outside ever (don't worry-I took this picture and then took their s'more roasting forks turned swords away so no eyes would be lost!) But you've just gotta love their stances. Shortly after I took this picture they both informed us that they want to take karate class. Until then, they were making up their own moves.
Wrestling was another favorite this weekend. They would swing each other around and fall to the ground, all while laughing hysterically and telling us to come and sit in the front row to watch the wrestling match they were proudly putting on. I really thought there was no way that would go on long without someone hurting someone else, but to my surprise, they were the most polite wrestlers I've ever seen. Trotter would throw Parrish to the ground and then say, "Are you ok? Can I help you up?" They played so well and so long. I think they ran the long drive to the cabin back and forth at least 50 times while we were there. Needless to say they slept like rocks and were asking to go to bed early last night.
Last October we took a trip to Highlands together and Collier and Olivia sat and played side-by-side in the cabin. Nancy and I had (I'm sure, unrealistic) dreams of setting them up on a date one day and maybe even planning their wedding. It's such a bitter reminder of all the things we will miss with Olivia - that this is not the way it was supposed to be. Collier won't even remember Olivia, and yet he was supposed to grow up with her.

With the one year anniversary of Olivia going to heaven fast approaching it seems that each day gets harder for me. Her absence is felt more keenly each day, and the permanence of missing her sits like a heavy rock in the pit of my stomach. Looking at these pictures is torture - why can't I just reach inside them and pick her up? I just want to hold her, see her walk, hear her laugh, brush her hair, smell her skin. I just want her to be mine. I don't want to share her with the one who made her. Selfishly, I want her here with me. In my soul I have great HOPE that we will be together again, but that doesn't diminish the hurt we feel now.

I keep this verse printed on a notecard on my dashboard and read it throughout the day:

He will...provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61:3

I cling to this promise. I long to see the light at the end of our long tunnel. A reason for joy. I'll be honest-our patience often times runs thin. But I know in my heart that these are truths and I just try to hang on.

While we were at the River we went on a boat ride and first noticed a beautiful Blue Heron that we seemed to scare into flight with our noise. Then a little further down river we would see him again. Eventually he was waiting on us back at the cabin perched on a branch at the water's edge. As the sun went down he would appear again, the same this morning and at lunch as we were cooking out. The heron made so many appearances, it prompted me to take this picture.

For fun I thought I would include the picture in this post, and that got me wondering about it's symbolic meaning. So I did some research online and read this:

During medieval times, herons were thought to fly above the clouds to avoid getting rained on. This supposed habit led them to become symbols of the righteous who avoided the storms of this world by placing their hopes and treasures in heaven.

I think God was trying to tell us something. I am thankful for a God who would send us a message in this way, and who would cause me to be still enough and curious enough to realize it.

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