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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, February 16, 2015

Lilly's Chocolate Heart & "What do you save when a loved one passes?"

There is comfort in simple traditions.  Every Valentine's day for the past 3 years, my children and I have read Kevin Henkes book Lilly's Chocolate HeartIn the story, a little rat girl named Lilly has a chocolate heart wrapped in red foil, which she received on Valentine's Day.  She searches for the perfect place to store the heart in.  She finally concludes that in her tummy is the best place!

When  our Lilly was in the hospital for a virus, the speech therapist that worked with us told me that her son's favorite book was Lilly's Chocolate Heart.  She read it to him every night at bedtime.  And every time, she thought about our Lilly.  (This dear woman prayed for our Lilly too!)  So I bought this little book, out of curiosity, and Tabby and Hunter and I all loved the story.  Now Solomon does too.

After we read it, we all get to eat ... a chocolate heart!  Sweetest ending to a story - ever!  ;)  Solomon and I made the chocolate hearts the day before, using some of Tabby's melting chocolates and heart mold.  When we had finished and I was cleaning up, Solomon decided to sample a heart, without permission.  The evidence formed a nice little "soul patch":

I like to read the blogposts on Organize 365.  Recently there was one that I have found myself thinking about off and on.  It is entitled "What do you save when a loved one passes?"  The author shared about things she has from her grandparents and father.  Then she wrote:

"You have a different relationship with everyone you know. The passing of a family member or friend is very difficult. Often, I see people fall into one of two camps. Either they want to keep every single possession that their loved one ever touched, or they default to saying,  'No, that’s okay, I don’t need anything.' And often the true answer is somewhere in the middle."

If you tend to say, “No, that’s okay, I don’t need anything,” I encourage you to think of one thing that you would like from someone who has passed away. It can be as simple as a button box. Or as complicated as a handmade manger. And, likely, what you choose will not make sense to those around you… and that’s okay. It’s all about you.

If you tend to want to keep everything, go ahead. 50% of the people I go in and professionally organize have lost a loved one in the last five years. The grieving process is long and individualized. The last thing you want to do is give up something you’re not ready to give up yet.

 Of course I thought about Lilly.  When she died I was one of those people that wanted to keep EVERYTHING our little girl had touched or that I associated with her.  It was months before I could even remove the sheets from her little bed!  (And really, I only did it because Solomon was going to be born soon and need them.)  Lilly's sheets and blankets, and the last outfit she ever wore, are still all folded up neatly and in a basket on the bottom shelf of my nightstand. 

The author of the blogpost continued:

"Five years seems to be the magic amount of time that needs to pass before full closure seems to settle in."   (read the whole post here)

Five years.  I found that so interesting.  Solomon was born 9 months to the day that Lilly died and then we moved 3 weeks after that.  It was hard to pack up Lilly's things for the move. Then when we got here I basically put up Lilly "shrines" all over the house.  I even took her favorite ceiling light form our old house and it is hanging in a corner of our bedroom here.  In the almost 2.5 years since then, I have been able to put some things away and feel OK with it.  And I have no problem with the kids using things like her g-tube syringes for science experiments or even just play.

I have a friend that lost a little girl at about 6 months.  (She had many complications from Down Syndrome.)  It happened over 15 years ago and she said her little girl's things all fit in one box now.  I remembering thinking "Wow ..." when she told me.  I've got so many bins of Lilly's clothing and things in the attic.

Where will I be at that 5 year mark?  I don't know.  All I know is that grieving is an unpredictable process.

Speaking of grieving, it seems our goat Christa is grieving. Yes, goats really can grieve.  I am pretty sure she had a miscarriage last week.  I found some blood on her and she was acting different.  She was actually being quite affectionate and clingy whenever Tabby or I went into the goat pen.  Now Christa is not ever mean to us - but this really was un-Christa-like behavior.

I've found myself spending a little extra time with her every day, just petting her and letting her lean against me.  I really feel sad for her.  My own miscarriage, from last October, came to mind of course, and I told her "I understand how you feel." 

The only way to be sure if Christa had a miscarriage is a blood test, which we aren't paying to do.  My friend K., that used to own Christa and still has one of her daughters, said that perhaps Christa only lost one of her babies.  (She had twins last time and that is pretty common with goats.)  So we will see this spring.

Honestly this isn't even something I had thought about.  Christa is a experienced mama goat and excellent milker.  I just assumed everything would go smoothly during this breeding process and then with the spring time births.

When am I going to learn that life rarely ever goes smoothly??!!


  1. Oh my goodness Lisa, what a beautiful post!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I thank YOU for all your helpful posts. :)