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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lilly's dress display and a tragedy in Iraq

My mother-in-law has a rack on the wall of her bedroom where she has hung some of her children's baby clothes. I always thought it looked really sweet. I decided I wanted to do that with Lilly's nicest dresses. My mother-in-law gave me a rack back in January and shortly after that my husband hung it on the wall for me. That rack remained empty until this past Saturday. I'm not sure why but I just wasn't ready to get the dresses out of my son's closet and hang them up. But I did so Saturday and was very glad. They're all so sweet and beautiful and each one makes me think of Lilly in a different stage of her short life.

Over the dresses I hung a plaque that someone painted for her. It has Lilly's initials: LEH. And around it are painted lily flowers. It looks perfect over the dresses.

I know there are some people that deal with a death by packing away everything that belonged to that person. I'm the opposite. I did pack some things up. But I also am working other things into the decor around the house. A touch of Lilly in almost every room. We like and need that.

In yesterday's post I mentioned the tragedy of the little 7 week old baby that unexpectedly died Then yesterday evening we learned more sad news.

For years my family has been praying for Jeremiah Small, a 33 year old American man who has been teaching at the Classical School of the Medes in Sulymania, Iraq. Last evening we found out that Jeremiah had been shot and killed by a student.

In March of 2006, by working with Servant Group International, my husband spent two weeks at this school in northern Iraq offering suggestions and helping with training. (He works as the middle school administrator and athletic director at a classical Christian school here in N.C.) He got to know Jeremiah at that time. My husband's luggage had been lost on the trip (not uncommon in going to Iraq!) and he had to borrow clothes from Jeremiah. The joke was that though Jeremiah's last name was "Small" - he was not. He was quite a tall man. My husband is short and had to roll up the pants legs on the pants he borrowed. He really enjoyed getting to know Jeremiah and admired his dedication to teaching at the Classical School of the Medes and his strong Christian faith.

A few years after that, I met Jeremiah at an Association of Classical Christian Schools conference I was at with my husband in Texas. We all had a rather lengthy conversation with him and I too was struck by Jeremiah's strong faith and his goals for his life. He was the kind of man that any parent would be so proud to call their son.

Last Thursday, while Jeremiah was in the front of his class praying, a student stood up and shot him. The student then shot himself.

More sadness. More tragedy. I know the sun shines just as bright as it did before Lilly died, but it doesn't seem to. Life does not seem to have the same joy in it anymore. And being aware of so many other deaths and tragedies makes it duller. I want to be joyful for my family. I want my kids to have a happy mamma. And I think I'm doing a pretty good job of that as I do love them and enjoy them. But life on earth just seems a whole lot less interesting now. As we like to say in our house, "Come quickly Lord Jesus."

[Jesus speaking] "My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." - John 14:2-3

Here are a couple links to news stories about Jeremiah. Here is an article published in World. This article was written by a student and published in The Kurdistan Tribune. Jeremiah's parents were interviewed in this article.

I commented to my husband that I would be afraid to be an American teacher at that school in Iraq now. But he believes that the schools (in Northern Iraq) are much safer than the typical public school in this country. What a world we live in. It honestly makes me feel better knowing that Lilly is safe in heaven and none of this evil will ever touch her.


  1. I love the dresses hanging up! I did this with my oldest daughter's dresses and I just bought some decorative hooks to hang up some of Julia's dresses, too. And my tree is coming along nicely. Will send a photo soon. Much love to you all.


  2. I feel sad looking at the dresses sometimes. They're empty. There is no Lilly to put them on. =(

    But they ARE cute! =)

    1. Hey! If you ever want to come dress up a T-18 baby come up to MI and visit us! We would LOVE to have you. The only thing with Faith is she HATES having her hair done. I hope we can meet sometime!

      Grace Smith
      (Faith's Big Sis)

    2. Do you have an e-mail? If so can you have your mom e-mail to my parents? Then we can start e-mailing each other. :)

  3. I remember that Bubba had to wear someone else's clothes because his luggage was lost. So sad to lose a friend. :(