Last night I had the sweetest moment with Ellie. I was telling her a story as she lay in her bed. After the story, I hugged and kissed her goodnight. As I was getting up to leave she said, “Mom, can I pretend Daddy is here with me?” My heart just broke. I told her that he was here with her and he was always in her heart. “I miss him,” she told me. “I wish he could come back.” For the first time, I cried in front of Ellie. I just put my head on her bed and let go. Tears started streaming down my face. She wrapped her little arms around me and just hugged me as she wiped the tears falling down my cheek. She looked into my watery eyes and asked me, “Why won’t God let Daddy come back?”
Through sobs I told her it didn’t work that way. She replied, “ I know Mommy, if Daddy comes back he may be sick again.” I said, “That’s right, baby, and we don’t want him to be sick do we? It’s better that he’s in Heaven and not sick.” She agreed. Then she grabbed her Bear Bear (stuffed animal) and wrapped his arms around my body to give me a great big hug. I smiled through the tears. She then pointed to a picture of Andrew and asked me, “Mom, is that what my Daddy looked like?” Still crying I nodded my head and said, “Yes, baby, that is what your Daddy looked like.”
She watched me as I sobbed and then started making funny faces at me so that I would laugh and stop crying. It worked. I was able to laugh at her sweet attempts to soothe my broken heart. Before I left her room, I told her that it was ok to cry and that sometimes you just need to cry. She then asked me, “Mommy, are you going to finish my book tomorrow?” I said, “Baby, I’m going to work hard to finish the book your Daddy made you (The Ellie Project, coming out May 2015) and then you can share it with the world.” She said, “Thanks, Mommy.” I then gave her a big hug and kiss and said, “I love you, baby. Sweet dreams.”
This moment was so raw, vulnerable, and beautiful. To watch my little girl comfort and love on me when I was hurting for her and for us was priceless. She has the most empathetic heart and it made me so proud to see her caring heart in that moment. I realized that although she’s experienced so much pain at such a young age, God has preserved her tender heart through it all.
I’m so grateful for sweet moments like these with Ellie, because they ground me and they remind me of what is truly important in life: The fact that everything else around me could not be working out, yet I have this beautiful little life that inspires me, keeps me going, and fills my heart with so much love. These moments are timeless and fill me with strength to keep moving forward. Onwards and Upwards.