Today we grieved and celebrated together.

We gathered under the gray sky, on a green hill as life went on all around us.  Nearby, a car mechanic ran his drill.  Sirens wailed somewhere in the distance.  Cars rushed by on errands perhaps or to pick up kids from schools.

The sounds and smells and sights of life surrounded us.

Yet we stood in the stillness.  Grieving a life no longer here.  Yet celebrating what was given and hoping for that which will come.

Together, we sang hymns of praise to the Author of life.

Together, we laughed at how she loved Willie Nelson.

Together, we marveled that for 95% of her life, she was held.  And that 5% she wasn't held, she made sure her desire to be held was known.

A grandmother showed me her bruises from holding a precious head.  Bruises she doesn't want to heal - because they are reminders of her granddaughter.  Her granddaughter whom had weight in this world - 15 days and blessed weight - weight enough to bruise.

Together, we watched as balloons floated into the clouds until we could not see them anymore.  Balloons - 15 to be exact - one for each day of her life.

The depths of heartache and pain for a mother who has buried her only child in a white casket topped with pink roses and pink bracelets knows no end.

And yet.

They have carried her with grace and quiet courage.  Since early in the pregnancy learning their daughter might not survive and if she did, she would have severe special needs, and later learning she likely wouldn't survive, and finally at her birth learning she definitely wouldn't survive... they have carried her with praise.  They have walked in faithfulness and trust.  They have exemplified grace.  They have exemplified true parental sacrifice and love.  There is purpose and value in Emma's brief life.  She was created with intent, carried with love, and completely adored.  15 days.  She lived 15 days.  And she was desperately loved.  Her life has great value and far reaching impact.

I am honored to have known her.

Today we stood on sacred ground.  We grieved and celebrated.

(Would you pray for our friends who are hurting?  Would you lift them up as they continue to faithfully move forward without their precious girl? I believe our God of comfort will hold them in the coming years. )

And please know that I try to keep my blog really just about our story.  But in God's graciousness, He has often intertwined our story with that of others- providing us opportunities to walk alongside others through pregnancies and the early days of having a child with differences.  (2 Cor. 1)  It our great honor to share our story and our experiences, lessons learned and tears and laughter at the heartaches and joys on this roller coaster.  So I share this story because it has been tightly interwoven with ours as we were honored to come alongside our new friends and also because they have publicly shared their precious daughter's story.)

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