Friday, August 22, 2008

The Fourth (fifth, sixth, seventh...)

White Love Birds (from Yumiyumi Etsy shop)

I'm not wearing mascara today. It's an unusual thing for me, even on days with no plans I like to stroke the thick, dark paste through my blond lashes; makes me feel less dead. But not today. The likelihood of black, runny streaks is too great. Can't stop the tears long enough to make it worth the hassle of application. The tears are for NieNie, her beloved Mr. Nielson and their four small children. If you haven't heard about their tragic plane crash, you can read about it on her sister's blog, which is being updated regularly (but I'm warning you now, keep a kleenex nearby.) Last night I was sobbing (that makes four post-partom cries, thus the post title,) to Nate about how "she's such a beautiful person and she dedicated her soul to wifehood and motherhood. Her example inspired so many people; God just can't take someone like her out of this world, it needs her goodness and light..." And Nate said, "well, if He does (take her) maybe we'll all just have to add a little more goodness and beauty to the world with our own lives."

I liked that thought. (And does it go without saying that I hope from my the top of my mushroom hair to the ends of my unpainted toenails that Stephanie and Christian pull through this and that their love and their lives will continue to inspire people the world over? I hope so.) But regardless of what happens to them, I am inspired to live better, brighter, more beautifully, maybe. I've been touched to see all the different ways people in the blogosphere are honoring the Nielson's -- my friend, Anne, graced her mantle with vases of gladiolas from Pike Street Market in Nie's honor (loved that.) Sweet Georgia hiked the Y in her honor. (Wish I could do that.) Donate to NieNie buttons are popping up on the sidebars of many of the blogs I frequent. I've added my prayers, some really fervent supplications, to the thousands of others who are petitioning for blessings on their behalf. But yesterday I kept coming up against the feeling that I want to do more. My first inclinations were to make something beautiful, in Stephanie's honor -- something collaged or painted perhaps, because Steph seemed to be a gatherer of beauty and her life, (as I observed it distantly through her blog,) was so lovely. But when I really stopped to think about it, I realized that if Steph could rise up off that hospital bed, shed those bandages and resume her regular life, she probably wouldn't run to the craft store (and I didn't really want to either.) If she were made well tomorrow, I'll bet she'd gather up those four beautiful children of hers, in that lovely home she and Mr. Nielson have made together, and she'd hold them close for a long, long time. So that's what I did. Last night we ate a vegetarian dinner (also in Nie's honor, though it wasn't nearly so pretty as hers :), and then I gathered up my babies, one swaddled up in my left arm, the other sitting as close by my right side as I could possibly nestle him, and we sang songs on the couch. Lots of songs. We sang the silly one about Noah building an arky, arky with el-e-phants and kangaroosies-roosies three times. We sang 'til my mouth was dry and Henry's eyelids were so droopy I thought it cruelty to keep him up any longer. I tucked him in to bed with a prayer and a kiss and then instead of popping my baby in the swing so I could wash the dinner dishes, I rocked her all the way into deep, still sleep. And when I was sure she was in undisturbable slumber, I rocked her some more. I cried the whole time. For Stephanie. And for me. The swelling gratitude just pushed the tears over the edge of my eyes. Still does.

I believe in miracles. I hope the Nielson's road to wellness will be paved with miracles and that the goodness they have inspired in this world will be returned to them many fold.

*Couldn't get my favorite picture of Christian and Stephanie to post here (grrrr!) but HERE'S A LINK if you want to see it (the second one down, of just the two of them.)

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