Tuesday, December 17, 2013
An Unexpected and Treasured Gift
I received a gift in the unlikeliest of places yesterday.
It was a gift of words I never expected to hear, but have secretly hoped for these three and a half years since Gabrielle came home to us as a tiny nine-week old infant.
Gabrielle's birth-Grandma, who had become a dear friend to us, passed away tragically and unexpectedly last week. We've sat grieved and shocked at her death. And yesterday, the time had come to take our little girl to her Grandma's memorial service.
We prepped her three year old heart for the tears and sadness she would witness, and for the barrage of people that would want to see her. She would see members of her birth family, some of which she knows, some she hasn't seen since she was a baby, and some she's never met. There would be a great mix of emotions, and we didn't want her to feel lost among it all. We wanted her to know for sure that Daddy and Mama would hold her close, and not let her go.
And then there was the reason we came. To publicly say goodbye to this very special woman. The one who was instrumental in Gabrielle's entrance into our family. The one who fought for her granddaughter to come home to us. This beautiful soul of a Grandma.
The details of Gabi's adoption have never been made public outside our dearest of friends, but today I feel compelled to share a gift that was given these years after her adoption.
You see, Grandma was always one to say how much she appreciated us and loved us. All of us. She was thankful Gabrielle could still be in her life. That she was close. That we granted them a place in her life and in our home.
Her words were always positive. Caring. Complementary. Thankful. In turn, we appreciated her deeply.
Then on a cold day in December, she was gone.
But the beautiful part is that she didn't depart without leaving behind a bit of herself. In a moment that came and went in mere seconds, Gabi's birth mom, for the first time, let a string of words pour from her mouth that were an echo of her mother's.
Caring. Complementary. Thankful.
She had been taking notes as her mother spoke of us.
All I could do was mouth the best thank you I could muster because a large lump had formed in my throat and was blocking my ability to be normal and composed. I searched the crowd for Jeremy. Because he missed it. I couldn't believe he missed it.
I may or may not have hugged Gabi's birth mom more times than was expected yesterday. But in a sense, I was hugging her for being the gift. For not only choosing life for her baby, but for letting us see this piece of our friend, who is now in the presence of our Lord. God truly does work all things together for good; for us His people. We were stunned by how this truth had played out that day.
The words we speak will echo. They will be a pleasant reverberation that soothes or a painful clang that hurts. There is a gift in not only hearing soothing words, but in remembering to pass them along.
Each Tuesday in December I'm linking up with Emily and the gang over at Chatting at the Sky, as we share our Tuesdays Unwrapped.