Monday, March 21, 2011
I Am Supposed to Be Doing This
On Friday, I had the honor of holding the tiniest hands I have ever held. Unfortunately, I held these precious hands as I was making "Lasting Impressions" of a sweet baby girl born far too soon at 23 weeks. I also got to meet her parents and offer the hugs of a stranger who understands too well the difficult task of preparing arrangements funeral arrangements for their baby girl.
For those of you who don't know or who might have forgotten, I started a ministry in October of using part of Karinne's memorial money to provide a gift for bereaved families that I have called - "Lasting Impressions." This gift involves making 3D plaster castings and impressions in clay of their precious baby's hands and feet. Sadly, since October, I have had the honor of holding the hands of 5 sweet babies gone too soon. 1 Boy and 4 Girls. It doesn't seem appropriate for me to share photos of their impressions. But so you will know what I mean - here are photos once again of some of Karinne's impressions:
I have writen the following in the letter I give to each family:
"Our tiny babies gone to heaven too soon leave a lasting impression upon our hearts. It is my sincere prayer that these “lasting impressions” of your child’s hands and feet will be a treasured memento of the impact they have made in their all too brief life. I pray also that they will bring you some measure of comfort on the difficult journey you now find yourself traveling.
"Please accept these gifts in honor of our beloved daughter Karinne. She was diagnosed with a fatal anomaly called acrania in December, 2009 and was born and went to heaven on May 10th, 2010. As part of Karinne’s legacy, and in an attempt for her life to continue to make a lasting impression, I have started this ministry of creating these special mementos for other families experiencing the sudden loss of a baby."I consider it an honor to have been able to make these gifts for your family and to have held the precious hands and feet of your beautiful baby. I continue to pray for your hearts as you mourn the loss of your precious child."
I have connected with these families through Brooke - the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer who took photos of Karinne. She has called me when she has taken photos for a bereaved family - and so far it has worked out each time for me to make impressions. When she called me on Thursday, I wasn't sure if I really wanted to go. This baby was 23 weeks. Just 5 or 6 weeks older than the baby I am carrying. Could I really do this? Then - it seemed like nothing was falling into place to go. My husband was too busy with work to watch the kids. (We were out of school for spring break.) So I would have to find a sitter. And all of my friends who had gone with me previously to help were unavailable. Plus - it was a 2 1/2 hour drive one way and we were supposed to leave for the weekend. I was very close to saying - "I just can't make it work this time."
But I prayed - "God, if I'm supposed to do this - please help things to fall into place."
I had impressions that I needed to deliver that I had made almost 2 months ago and that would be on the way. So I texted the mother to see if she was available. She wrote back:
"Yes of course...I'm so excited to see them."
"Okay God - we can make this work. . . . " A friend was going to be able to watch the kids. And I decided I would be able to do it on my own this time with the size of the baby. So off I went. And it was the most touching experience I've had yet while doing this ministry.
Always before, I have made the impressions at the funeral home while the mother was still in the hospital. And then I have met the family later when I delivered the finished impressions. But this time, they were there at the funeral home making arrangements. And they wanted to meet me. I was nervous about how difficult it would be. But it was an amazing blessing - for them and for myself. Emotional - but beautiful too. Hugs....and tears....and sharing about Karinne....and more tears. So heartbreaking to lose their first child in such a way.
On my way back I received the following text message from this sweet baby girl's father. It touched my heart in so many ways:
"I wanted to tell you thank you for what you did for us in regards to our daughter. It was truly a blessing. Thank you. Your acts of kindness towards total strangers are what reminds me that there is still hope and love in this world. May God bless you for your acts of kindness."
Sigh - - And Tears
"Yes - I am Supposed to be doing this. Thank you God for this blessing."
Then I delivered the previously made impressions to a precious young momma who was so OVERJOYED to have them. It was so moving to share them with her, to talk with her about her beautiful daughter, and give her heartfelt hugs. My heart just broke for her and the sadness over the unexpected and perhaps preventable loss of her daughter.
Once again - complete and total reaffirmation that "Yes - I am Supposed to be doing this." In Karinne's honor. And for His Glory.
Please pray for these families!
Posted by Kara at 8:22 PM