Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Montana Part III - That Moment

Last month my friend Jenna Skype'd to say she was getting her ovaries removed in (yet another) preventative measure to hopefully avoid a cancer relapse. I was in a rare position to afford the $300 plane ticket to Kalispell, Montana and decided to fly out to give her hand. This is the last of three posts about that trip. The first post is here and the second post is here.

A couple of days before leaving for Montana I received an email from Jenna saying that her cousin's daughter, Lillian, had gone to sleep on Halloween eve and did not wake up. Lillian was a healthy, 13-day-old baby.

Jenna (a graphic designer) volunteered to design the program for the funeral service and was able to complete it a night before she went to the hospital. Prepping for surgery should not include this sort of activity, but no one plans for death, and certainly nothing as unthinkable as this.

The funeral was on Sunday so, three days after her surgery, Jenna was sitting in the front of the sanctuary with her husband, while I stayed in the back of the room, sitting quietly with her boys.
"Let us not grieve that Lillian is gone, but celebrate that she was here. Look around this room, see how many lives she has touched in her short time with us."
Indeed, the room was full of people. Of course, I knew very few of them, and many (like me) had never even met Lillian. But we were all in tears by the end of the slide show that was meant to celebrate her life.

Later, at the reception, I heard Jenna say to her cousin, "I know what it's like to have everything be one way one moment and then totally different the next. Please let me know if you'd like to talk." Of course, the "moment" Jenna referred to was the one where the doctor told her "you have cancer." Those words spoken in that moment changed everything for her.

I'm grateful in my life to have not had such a moment (knock wood). Of course this is not to say that change hasn't happened. It has - but my "moments" have been longer - allowing space to adjust and become, eventually, comfortable. This, I've learned, is a luxury.

My friend Erin Vang has just completed an amazing project called Kaddish in Two Part Harmony and she has dedicated this beautiful Kaddish to Baby Lillian. (A Kaddish is a prayer of mourning). Erin's french horn is particularly lovely.

Translation of the Mourners Kaddish:
May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire household of Israel, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen.
May his great name be blessed, forever and ever.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all Israel; and say, Amen.


Lillian's older sister (12) wrote this poem in honor of Lillian.
Lillian Isabel, Oct 18 - Oct 21, 2011


Lillybel, Lillybel
My oh so sweet baby
Our beautiful Lillybel

Come to us in our darkest
We showered you in love
For 13 days I held you
Our sweet Lillybel

The more we cry
The more we love
It was and is all
for you.

Lillybel, Lillybel
My oh so sweet Lillybel
Our beautiful baby girl

Even if you cried
at night
Even if you need us
We are here for you
And you are up high for

I’ll pick a star up
in the sky
Just for you
And think of you all day.

Lillybel, Lillybel
My oh so sweet Lillybel
Our beautiful baby girl

You knew no cruelty
You only knew love
We shielded you from
Just to save ourselves

Now we are hugging, kissing,
waiting… waiting for
you to show yourself to
us again

Lillybel, Lillybel
My oh so sweet baby girl
Our Beautiful Lillybel

Our one and only
In loving memory of Lillian Isabel Nelson
I dedicate this poem to you

Your always loving Big Sister

1 comment:

  1. that is horrifying, cori. what a sad sad period to endure for all of them.


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