I'd Just Lost My Child. A Stranger's 3 Little Words Kept Me Going.
I have no idea what made me pull in that day, with the weather cool and dreary. Having passed the little country store a dozen times or more on the way to visit my parents, I still can’t pinpoint what made me stop.
I wasn’t looking for anything in particular until I saw this beautiful mahogany box. Hand crafted, rich in color and smooth — it was meant to hold cigars. But I knew it was perfect for something else.
It was perfect to hold the memories…
I picked it up and knew I had to buy it. Smoothing my hands over and over the top and edges, I carried it to the front. A lady, who looked to be of grandmotherly age, held out her hands to take the box and ring me up. As I watched her wrap it so carefully in butcher paper, I must have looked pained because she asked me, “Are you OK?”
In a split second I had to decide — Do I tell her?
I opened my mouth — to say what, I don’t know. Probably to give the requisite “I’m fine,” and go. But instead, truth spilled out of my mouth.
I told her about our daughter, how she had died inside of me. I told her how beautiful that little girl was and how scared I was that the son I now carried would share her fate. I shared with her how beautiful I thought that box was and how it was to hold all the memories I had of little Kasey.
Her hands reached for me. Cupping my face gently, she pulled me to her and said, “God loves you.”
It was exactly what I needed to hear that day. I left with a box, a special place to put Kasey’s onesie and the prayer her father said over her grave. But I also left with reassurance.
God loves me.
And months later, when our son did die — when his pictures joined Kasey’s inside that box — I went back to the store.
I went back, and I asked her, “Are you sure God loves me?”
She said He did. And I left, not only with reassurance but with her name and address.
And she wrote me. She wrote me of how her son died and how she kept on living. She told me over and over how much God loved me, no matter how I felt right then. She sent gifts and cards and even her daughter to visit.
She was my angel. And I found her, I’m sure, by the grace of God.
I still pull the box down sometimes and look at all I have left of my babies. Their ultrasounds, little hats, a poem. I have little to hold here. But I still hear her voice, her message simple but powerful.
“God loves you.”
At a time when so many people were awkward and unsure, turning away from my grief instead of being with me in it, she reached out. She touched me when other hands hesitated and fell, and she gave me love. She loved a stranger, gave a stranger comfort, and I can never thank her enough.
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