Did you ever have a “miracle moment” — the kind of happening that gives you a knock on the head, a slam against the wall, or a punch to the gut that let’s you know this is for you? Twenty five years ago, a few days past Mother’s Day was my run-in with a rainbow!
I won’t go into a lot of the gory details, but on Mother’s Day twenty five years ago I was pregnant. Only this was “not a regular kind of pregnant” because the baby that was inside of me wasn’t alive. I found out ten days before that he had died and it was the doctor’s strong suggestion (okay, the doctor would have it no other way) that I wait to go into regular labor to deliver this stillborn baby boy.
Not a fun Mother’s Day!
For weeks following the birth/death of baby Samuel (who wasn’t named until many years later — another story for another time) the only thing I did was cry. I only had about thirty minutes together with Samuel in my arms. He was a beautiful little boy, and looked much like my son Tim. He had blonde peach fuzz for hair, and his eyelashes were strawberry colored. His fingers and toes were all there and so perfectly formed. He was such a handsome little fella, but I never got to tell him that — not while he was alive. And, so my heart broke — over and over and over again it broke. My heart didn’t just break. It shattered.
And then about three months later came the most bizarre day I’ve ever experienced when I ran the car off the old country road while crying my eyes out. There had been a terrible rain storm and I was sobbing as hard as the rain when suddenly, almost as though there was a switch that turned off the downpour, I found myself in a field smack dab up against a rainbow!
I have only seen a few rainbows in my entire life, and this one was not a regular rainbow. I can tell you that this was a talking rainbow. This rainbow spoke volumes to me that day!
Let me assure you I’m not crazy, nor do I make it a habit to run into rainbows with the car or have conversations with rainbows, but I’m telling you this was one of those moments — one of those times when you know you’re getting bonked over the head for a reason.
I believe God sent me this rainbow to tell me that there was hope beyond Samuel’s death.
Not long after my run-in with the rainbow, my heart began to feel different. I saw life in a much clearer way than I had before. So many things that I had overlooked in the past seemed to stand out and shout, “I’m beautiful. Look at me! This day is for you! Learn to enjoy it!” I honestly think that smashing into that rainbow changed my eyesight. I definitely know it changed my “heart sight.” We do see with our hearts, you know!
And, that’s when the idea of beginning a healing garden was born. Why not plant flowers and trees and living plants that would return year after year as a reminder of the miracle and beauty of life? And, so I began to do just that — plant something each year as a reminder of the miraculous blessing of life!
This giant snowball bush began as a teensy-tiny twig that I ordered through the mail from Michigan Bulb. This is the twenty-fifth year anniversary of that little twig, and the flowers from this bush have been used for wedding bouquets, baby bouquets, anniversary bouquets, and for decorating all throughout the rooms in my home. Such a hopeful reminder of how life can go on even when we’ve experienced the devastation of the death of a child. Look how many lives have been blessed because of this little twig planted in memory of Samuel!
In the fall, the flowers on this bush turn a lovely pink! A little trick is to feed your snowball bush with some Epsom Salts a couple times a season. Samuel, look what you continue to give back to so many!!!!
Planted among my healing gardens are hundreds of irises of all varieties and colors! On this particular morning, this iris seemed to be crying a tear of both joy and sadness with me as I remembered my little boy, along with the others who are missing from my family. Sadness doesn’t always mean despondency. I continue to marvel at the details of the bearded iris. Nature sure is full of beautiful miracles, isn’t it?
A few years ago, some of my family gathered at my son Tim’s home to celebrate a happy occasion. With me was my grandson Jon who was born just three months following the death of my Samuel. When I look at Jon I always think of my Samuel — in a wonderful kind of way! Sure, I wonder if those two would have played basketball together in school. Would they have gone to the prom together? Would they have gone on road trips together? I’m sure they would have been great together, but it didn’t turn out that way.
We are left with choices in life. Sometimes, life is hard. Many times things come into our lives that are beyond our control and we wish those things had never happened. But, we can’t change those things. What we can change is how we view the heartache that comes into our lives.
Look for your rainbow. Pray for your rainbow to appear out of nowhere! Ask God to direct your path right into a rainbow so that you get that bonk over the head that lets you know that there is hope! Life does go on, and there are beautiful, wonderful blessings that surround us each day!
Jon is standing front and center in this picture and he will always have a front and center place in my heart! Samuel, I have a feeling you’re smiling right now. I know your mama sure is!
Twenty five years later — missed, loved, and still a part of my heart and life! Bloom, flowers, bloom! Samuel has a lot of hopeful giving to do yet!
PS If you’ve been shattered by child loss and need some extra encouragement, please visit here and here. And, be sure to get a copy of the book, Silent Grief. And, keep praying for that rainbow!