Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Vision of Heaven

In the midst of our deep hurt, April and I have found ourselves longing for heaven more and more, envisioning a time of reunion with Elyse, and just being in a place where there will be no more hurting, and perfection will be completed. The following is an excerpt of an email a close friend sent this week that painted a picture I had yet to see, but seems so appropriate:

I wanted to share with you an image I saw in my head during the service that I pray will bring you comfort and hope for your own journeys from here. Cliff, you mentioned of your prayers for Elyse at the time of her birth, and the mental leap to the time of her marriage. It was vivid, I'm sure, how you pictured that moment of future completion as you watched her walk down an aisle to meet and join her bridegroom. As you spoke, MY mind flashed an image of a joy I fully believe she will experience—only with tables turned—as she one day gets to watch and lead each of you down an aisle of beaming family and friends in heaven (that cloud of witnesses from Hebrews) to a Bridegroom of perfect love, perfect peace, perfect fullness. In the image of her final perfection, I believe Elyse will have the joy of handing you both over to Someone she's known for some time to be yours for eternity. It may not be just as you pictured, but it is a picture I believe will one day happen.

Elyse's Memorial Slideshow

This is the slide show from Elyse's memorial service. We miss our little girl so much, but is such a great way to remember her. Thanks so much Nathan Pearsey for making this possible.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My little girl

This is how I was able to honor the memory of my daughter at her memorial service yesterday.

My precious Little Lady,

I’ll never forget the day your mom told me you were going to be. I was sitting in my office when an email came in with a picture of the positive pregnancy test. I cried immediately. You were already precious in my heart. For the next nine months, I’d wonder and imagine. We didn’t know whether you would be a boy or a girl. On the day you arrived I was so excited. There you were… my precious little girl. .” You had a name now… Elyse. I’d begin to call you my “Little Lady.” The moment I saw you, my heart began to melt. Standing in the hospital holding you, my mind immediately fast-forwarded 20 some years later where I’d be walking you down the aisle. I was now a Dad to a daughter. Thoughts of tea parties, dolls, crying shoulders, probably a little bit of drama, and holding a shotgun at the door when a teenage boy came to try to take you out. I’d protect you and care for you and be everything you needed from a dad. Knowing the influence that a daddy has on his daughter, I committed on that day that you’d always know that your daddy loved you. And you’d always know just how beautiful you are.

For the two nights we spent in the hospital, you showed me quickly you were different than your brother. You loved being held, and definitely didn’t like being left in the bassinette by yourself. So you’d sleep soundly right up against me. My love for you just grew more and more. It didn’t matter that I was spoiling you. I just loved holding my little girl.

As you started to grow and develop, I got to see your personality explode. You seemed to have a stronger will than your brother. You always seemed to know what you wanted. One of your trademark moves became how you kicked your feet. I’d hear a loud banging coming from your room, only to come in and discover you were simply kicking your feet up and down on the mattress. That patter would repeat itself on the changing table and anywhere else you had a chance to move those feet freely. I was lucky to ever be able to get those socks on you with how much you squirmed around.

When your brother was only about 6 weeks old, he started sleeping all night long every night. I suppose that I had high expectations for you, but those sure wouldn’t last long. Instead, you would figure out a way to wake up probably 6 out of 7 nights in a week. With your mommy being quite the heavy sleeper, and me being the opposite, I’m the one that got to hang out with you. Usually that meant a bottle would settle you down. So we’d hang out for about 20 or 30 minutes on the couch as I’d hold you, pray for you, and sometimes even sleep. Pretty soon you’d be right back to sleep. But sometimes you’d stay fussy. So we’d go downstairs and hang out. You were ready to party. I’d just lie on the floor and try to sleep with one eye open. You would pick out as many toys as possible to play with and usually the loud ones at that. As I look back, I now see that God gave you and me those precious moments in the middle of the nights together, moments the two of us never would have had if you had been a great sleeper. I’m so thankful to God for those ordained times. These are the memories of you I will treasure the rest of my life.

You’ve gone now to be with Jesus. You’re perfect and complete. But in my heart you will always be my little girl. People will ask me how many kids I have. The answer will always include you.

Yet this truth remains… From the day you came into this world, I prayed that God would have His way with your life. I’ve prayed that He would use you to glorify Him. I gave you to Him that day. And He now has you completely, and I know that He’s using you this day and for days to come. Enjoy God’s presence. I can’t wait to be there with you, to hold you again, and to know that His work is final and complete. Your Daddy loves you Lysie Lou.