Last week I noticed an article on a friend's wall on facebook. The article was about a little girl named Lilly that was murdered here in the town I live in. She was murdered by her mother's boyfriend. I thought to myself, "How horribly sad...I hate hearing things like this." A few minutes later I received an email from my home school yahoo group from a lady I know (we'll call her Mary), talking about this same incident. I finally put two and two together and realized that I knew who this little girl was! Last soccer season I befriended Lilly's grandmother (we'll call her Sherry)who like me, is a home school mom. She'd bring Lilly with her to the field when her mother had to work. My son played with this little girl on several occasions while my daughter and Sherry's son would play soccer. She was beautiful and precious.
I had not seen or spoken to Sherry in several months, but immediately I called Mary, who sent out the email, and we decided we would get a meal together for this family. I called Sherry and found out she was out of town when this happened. She caught an immediate flight home to face this tragedy and a busted water pump at her house. So, not only did they need food...they needed water as well. I met Mary at Sherry's house with food. I talked with Sherry for a little while. She told me that abuse was suspected a few weeks ago and she told her daughter. Her daughter kicked the boyfriend out, only to allow him to come back after deciding she wanted to prove her mother wrong about the allegations. Well, the mother was called at work to be told her daughter was found unconscious in the bath tub and the paramedics were working on her. The boyfriend showed no emotion as all of this was happening...he didn't even ride the ambulance to the hospital. Lilly was pronounced dead at the hospital and the boyfriend was arrested for murder. Apparently there was enough evidence to suggest he committed this treacherous crime.
The next evening, I went to the funeral home. I've been to funeral homes before...usually to pay condolences to grandparents or elderly parents of friends. The youngest I've paid respects to was a 20 year old who overdosed. I thought that was hard...and it was. But, seeing a two year old baby in a miniature casket surrounded by her favorite toys...not breathing...not playing with her toys or running around, was by far the most painful experience ever. I kept thinking to myself, "This is so unatural...breathe...just breathe." Even though I knew she wouldn't breathe, I couldn't help but think this b/c that's the way it should of been. She should have been breathing. Instead, she was covered in makeup to cover bruises on her face, clothed in a dress that was much to neat for a supposed-to-be rambunctious two-year old and she was still....completely still...forever.
I told Sherry that I would send an email out to my home school group of 50+ families in order to get enough food and water to feed her family and relatives that would be staying with her for the funeral. You would think that it would be an easy task to get people to chip in a little for a family in need of so much, nevertheless, no one responded to my email. My friend who had posted the article on her facebook volunteered to help and I asked a dear friend of mine to help. Sherry called me the next morning asking me to babysit her son while they all attended the funeral. Her ten year old son didn't want his last memory of his niece to be her funeral. This worked out perfectly since I was bringing food anyway. I already knew I wouldn't be able to attend the funeral b/c of no babysitter, so I went. When tragedy strikes or people have babies...I feed people. It's my thing. I love to feed people. My job in my home school group is the meal coordinator...the position was actually made for me since I was already trying to feed people anyway. :) Even though I get frustrated at people for not wanting to help, most of the time people are still taken care of by at least a couple of people and this does my heart good. It really didn't do anything for my heart this time, however. Nothing but time will heal and justice.
Normally when I hear stories like this on the news, I'm saddened but it usually doesn't take long for me to bounce back b/c I'm not usually close to the situations. Lilly has made me think long and hard. I've been thinking about my children even more so. I've been thinking about how impatient and irrational I can be sometimes. I don't always spend my time wisely for my children. So many days here recently I've been lost in a sea of frustration with my 2 yr. old son, for his 2 yr. old ways. I haven't appreciated being a mother as much as I thought I already did. Over the past several days, I've been making a mental list of things that I'm thankful for...even some things I wasn't thankful for beforehand, have become so precious to me now.
I'm thankful for my children's health. I'm thankful to hear my son beating on his window in the morning trying to get the neighbor's dog's attention. I'm thankful for my son's temper tantrums. I'm thankful that my daughter talks my head off all the time. I'm thankful for my children's laughs. I'm thankful for my daughter's help around the house and with her brother. I'm thankful when my two year old burps in my face and thinks it's so funny. I'm thankful for the huge messes at the end of the day. I'm thankful for the fingerprints all over the glass door. I'm thankful for the poopy diapers. I'm thankful for the forgiveness that my daughter bestows upon me everyday when I mess up. I'm thankful that my daughter gets upset with me if I'm not home to tuck her in every night. I'm thankful for the raspberries that my son blows on my cheeks instead of kisses. I'm thankful for my children changing me everyday...making me a more patient person. I'm thankful for all the driving around I do to get my daughter to extracurricular activities. I'm thankful for my children being alive and well and giving me the reward of being able to love them every single day. I'm thankful to be reminded that children are the most precious creatures in the world and to never take them for granted.
*Thank you Dear Lilly for the lessons you taught in the little bit of time you spent on this earth even though not everyone knew you well. May God forever comfort you in His big rocking chair singing sweet lullabies in your ear. Rest in peace sweet little one...forever and ever.*