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Come and find solace as you get to know us who share in this journey of grief. We have been praying for you and extend our deepest and sincere sympathy. We “hope” you experience comfort and peace in this safe haven of love and support.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Near to My Heart

Gabe came home with an assignment from school yesterday.  The specific instructions for my fourth-grade boy were to bring an object to school that was "near and dear to your heart," which would then serve as the basis for a descriptive writing project.  He gathered his things for school this morning, double checking his assignment notebook for our signature and remembered this task.  Without hesitation, he reminded me, "I have to bring something near to my heart for school today.  Can I bring Chloe's teddy bear?"

At the tender age of 4 and some months, Gabe became a big brother to baby girl who was gone too soon.  He didn't really understand, but he did.  I remember her visitation, which happened to be on Mother's Day in 2006, and Gabe was so grown up.  Too grown up.  I will never forget watching and hearing he and my nephew, just a few months older than Gabe as they gazed upon her open casket.  They took a moment to still themselves from the racing and running about to look at her, really look at her.  Very seriously, my nephew whispered to Gabe, "Shhh...she's sleeping."  Gabe bluntly responded with a loud and matter of fact voice, "No she's not.  She's dead!"  Harsh, but true.  And I was one proud mommy.  He got it.  He knew that the special part of her was gone, but that her body, precious to us, remained.

What happened in 2006 changed him.  It changed all of us.  Our family is forever impacted by Chloe's brief life and death...in more ways than I can possibly begin to share in this post.  The years that have come since continue to grow and shape us.  When Gabe was 8, our family endured more loss.  That July, baby Jesse went to be with Jesus during my first trimester of pregnancy.  Just a few months later, Riyah Mae joined her siblings in heaven after I went in for an ultrasound at 14 weeks only to find that her heart had stopped beating.  I remember that day well, as Gabe entered home from school to find me lying in bed.  He was concerned about why I was home when I should have been at work.  When we shared the news, he curled up in a ball, swallowed by my arms and we just cried.

In all this, I have learned to draw near.  Nearer to family, to friends.  Nearer to what matters.  Nearer to my Jesus, eternity.  I think Gabe has learned the same.  It pains me to think that a child must experience such pain.  That he would see his mommy and daddy broken, over and over again, and that he too is broken; innocence lost.  Yet I see how it has drawn him near.  Nearer to us.  Nearer to Him.  Just a couple of months ago, Gabe drew near in a way that I had prayed for and knew that only God could make possible.  He gave His heart to Jesus!  I've seen him continue to draw near to the Savior in the days and weeks since.  I know Chloe has been a part of his drawing near, as he learned about her precious life, untimely death, and heavenly dwelling.  The fact that he chose her teddy bear as something "near and dear to his heart" to unashamedly write about at school makes me smile a bittersweet smile as I praise God for how He's used her life to draw each of us near to His Son.

"But as for me, it is good to be near God.  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge..." 
Psalm 73:28


Jill Beran said...

Great post Teske! Brings tears...but that's good, God does work in ways so much bigger than we know. He will continue to use all your children in mighty ways!! I'm always amazed and touched when our kids talk about our baby in heaven! Blessings to you, Jill

Dawn Marie said...

{HUG} Thanks so much for sharing this precious story. Praise God from whom all blessings flow...


Bianka said...

Thank you for sharing!