First, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has decided to help make these memory boxes! I hope it can be an ongoing project of love for years on end! I am so humbled by how quickly so many of you have jumped at the chance to help out! Some of you have said you don't really have anything to donate, don't have a crafty bone in your body, or are far enough away that you don't know how to help. So, I've made an amazon wish list so that everyone who wants to can help out!! I have it set up so that my address is entered in for shipping. Some of the items are not from amazon, but other sites - if I can find something similar on amazon, I'll post it on there also. But the other sites had better prices. Not sure how the other sites part actually works. Anyway, it's there and THANK YOU for wanting to help in this endeavor!!
Now, for today:
If you're unfamiliar with my religion, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or LDS/Mormon. Every month on the first Sunday, we fast (go without food and water for one day or two meals while praying for guidance, for help for ourselves or someone else, or some other reason, but we fast while praying with a purpose), and then we go to church and hold a Fast & Testimony meeting rather than the regular meeting of talks given to uplift, guide, and support each other. Today was a Fast & Testimony meeting Sunday.
Several people had gone up and shared their testimony already, and then it got really quiet. That rarely happens in our ward as we are filled with some of the most amazingly spiritual and loving and faithful people I've ever met. But it was quiet. And I began fighting back tears. It was quiet because I needed to go share my testimony. Except I'm a great big chicken, and I was fighting tears before even standing up, so how in the world was I going to speak? So I didn't. I'm a little ashamed that I didn't, but I promised myself I would share it here instead.
I wanted to share that, although I'm still suffering through losing two babies so far this year and my emotions are a mess, my faith is not. My faith is still strong. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that my Savior, Jesus Christ, loves me. They know ME. They know MY trials, MY sufferings, MY joy, MY desires, MY heart, ME. And they care and love ME. This love is expressed to me through the wonderful outpouring of love and support I've received from so many people, including some that I haven't seen in a long time or haven't even talked to in a long time or that I didn't think ever even noticed me! But people have noticed, and they care. And I appreciate it so very much.
Even when life presents us with trials as harsh as burying your child, remember that it's not because we deserved it, because we are hated, because we did anything wrong. Instead, remember that our Heavenly Father and Savior are both there to help us as we endure it. Losing a child isn't something anyone ever "gets through" or "gets over" because it stays with us forever. Every single day, I think of my Taylor and my Seth, and I miss them. Don't ever be afraid of bringing them up because I'd rather talk about them than think no one else remembers them or cares about them. Bringing them up *might* make me cry, or hold back tears as best I can, or I may smile - either way, the tears and the smiles are out of love for them and appreciation that you cared to speak their names.
Although I already believed that every life had meaning, I've learned that belief comes from the mind while a compelling faith comes from the heart and soul. Now, my heart and soul have a pure faith in the truth that every life has meaning, no matter how brief that life may be. I'm learning this more and more every day as people are moved to volunteer to help with these memory boxes. One lady donated enough pre-made scrapbook pages for 8 scrapbooks (4 double pages each). Another lady donated a box FULL of scrapbooking supplies (had to be a good solid $100 worth) along with baskets and wooden boxes with frames on the top. Another donated fabric, which I promptly took to yet another lady who is sewing gowns, diapers, and blankets/pouches. Another is helping me search for donations. Another is donating her time and talents to crocheting, knitting, and sewing burial outfits, hats, blankets, etc. Taylor and Seth are both being honored as everyone helps me make these memory boxes for other grieving parents and their lost babies. Their lives have meaning, despite how brief they were, because I was introduced to a need that I am now able to help fill along with the help of so many others. Their short lives inspired love and kindness from others in SO VERY MANY forms.
So, I testify to you that our Heavenly Father and our Savior both know and love each of us individually. I testify to you that They show this love through the kindnesses of others, as well through The Comforter, the Holy Ghost. I testify to you that every life, no matter how brief, has purpose. And I encourage everyone to pray more, get to know these loving heavenly beings, and allow yourself to open your heart and mind to being instructed and directed to show kindness to those around you.
Again, I am so humbled by the outpour of love shown by those around me, and by the compassion shown by all those who are wanting to help with these memory boxes. They are going to bring a bit of love and comfort to families going through one of the hardest moments of their lives - the death of their child(ren). Thank you for getting involved, no matter if it's with my project or any other. Thank you.