sense of dread
Every year as the month of November arrives, my niece Jenny Spethman and her husband, Steve meet it with a sense of dread, because it is the month when their daughter, Laila Elizabeth was born and eighteen days later passed away. The grieving process has been a long and empty armed one. It’s not that they don’t have other children, because they do, and in fact, they have another daughter as well, but each child is a unique gift from Heaven, and when one is not with you, whether they passed away or moved away, your arms are simply empty where that child is concerned. No new child can replace the child who is gone, and no one can say how long the grieving process will be, or even should be, for any one person, or their loss.
Still, I think that time changes, not the sadness of a loss, but rather how we are able to compartmentalize our feelings. This year as I listened to how Jenny handles this month, I found myself in awe of her…courage. She told us that one thing that helps her to prepare for the month of November, is to watch shows about near-death experiences. It helps her to be able to glimpse Heaven from the perspective of one who has had a glimpse of it themselves. To hear of the love and peace they felt while experiencing Heaven, and to hear of loved ones they saw there, gives Jenny a feeling of hope in the knowledge that their daughter is not in their past, but rather in their future. And that future is bright and beautiful, even if it seems very far away right now. Laila is in a beautiful place, and she is happily waiting for her family to join her.
After Jenny told us about the shows she watches, and how they had helped her so much, she was talking to her boys about how the month of November is a sad one for her, but today…November 4th, which is Laila Elizabeth’s 6th birthday, should not be a sad day, because it is the day that they received the gift from Heaven that is Laila Elizabeth. It is the day she was born, and that will always be a special day, because it is her day…her birthday. Any other day in the month can be a sad one, but this day, Laila’s birthday is a day that her family received a great blessing that will always belong to them. It is the day she was presented to them, and she was beautiful. Their love for their little girl…their first little girl, after three beautiful boys…knew no bounds. She couldn’t have been more perfectly beautiful. Now, six years after her passing, even though the rest of the month will lead to the sadness of the 22nd, they find themselves able to rejoice in the gift from Heaven that Laila was, and the gift in Heaven…waiting for their arrival, she will be in their future. Happy birthday in Heaven Laila Elizabeth. We love and miss you very much, and we will see you soon.