So many ‘firsts.’

Ever since Jenna went to be with Jesus, I cannot help myself thinking about her at every ‘first’. Like the first time I washed my hair ‘afterwards. ‘ Initially I kept up a count of how many times I had washed my hair since that fateful Sunday. Until that became kind of silly and I dropped it.

But there has been a myriad of ‘firsts’ since that day. The first time I wore the Mudd shoes we picked out together and that I had worn throughout that visit in SA.  The first time being in Hanlie’s car, where we had sat on the open window bar and spied out the wild animals in Mabalingwe. The first visit back to Ouma’s house. My first glass of pink milk without Jenna.  The first time walking back into the Spar, Woolies, the airport, my house, my church, Michaels, Walmart, McDonalds.

I can’t help but remember being there and doing that with Jenna.

I can remember down to the underwear what I was wearing that last day. Putting those jeans in the washing machine wasn’t easy. Every time I put them on now they are a small reminder. 

There are items of clothing that I had worn and not washed since that last day, that I cannot bring myself to wash yet. I imagine her scent still clings to the pajamas I had worn the night before, so I have put them away.  My red fleecy jacket was worn at Zebula when Jenna was still in my arms, but I will have to wash it soon. Life does go on,  and I know that there will be many ‘first’ happy things too.

On my last day in South Africa I forced myself to go for a swim in the pool that took Jenna’s life.  It was a sad sad moment and I had to crawl out onto the side of the pool and cry for a while but I am glad I did it. It was kind of like a baptism.

The boys had had many fun moments with their cousins in that same pool, even after Jenna died.  I remember the day I decided to grab my camera again to start recording the boys’ precious times with their cousins there – that was a good ‘first’, that I imagine must have left Jenna smiling in approval.

We visited with friends and relatives at the patio next to the pool for the whole 10 days we stayed on in South Africa. On hubby’s first evening there he asked me how I could be around the pool at all, but I told him I had good memories there – of Jenna playing soccer in the garden with her cousins whilst dressed in her ballerina outfit, of wrapping her in a towel and cuddling her at the patio table once she had decided the pool was getting too cold, and yes, of watching her splashing and swimming and having fun with her brother in that same pool.  I could picture her everywhere, happy, sparkly, bubbly, and that was where I wanted to be.

We were sitting on that same patio 3 days after Jenna’s passing, fellowshipping with dear, long-time friends, when our friend saw something that he told me about only after Jenna’s memorial service. He said he saw Jenna standing in the garden between two angels.  There was a sense that they needed to go, but Jenna looked at my friend and said: “Tell my mommy and my daddy that I love them.”

Hubby and I had a moment’s doubt as to whether that could be scriptural or not, but there has been times in the bible where the dead has appeared to the living (such as Moses and Elijah at the mount of transfiguration) and the measure of comfort I drew from my friend’s vision was great. When Jenna left there was this great void and the relationship we knew was severed. There is so much we do not know about heaven and I had no idea whether Jenna would still be the Jenna I knew. My friend’s vision showed me that as far as Jenna was concerned, I was still her mommy, and she still loved me.  That was important for me to know. The relationship wasn’t severed, she will always be my little girl and I will always be her mommy.

Hubby encouraged me one morning to read the first chapter of 1 Peter. It is the passage that talks about the trial of your faith being much more precious than gold…etc. Preceding that verse though, Peter mentions our inheritance in heaven, which is “incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”  The words  leapt out at me: Jenna is my heritage. Yes, Jesus is my portion and my greatest prize, but Jenna too, is being reserved in heaven for me, incorruptible, undefiled, and never fading away.


12 responses to “So many ‘firsts.’

  1. There are so many firsts, I know.

    I’m holding you and your family close. Many hugs and prayers for you.


  2. Sumi,
    Today I finally figured out how to listen to Jenna’s songs on my computer. How precious! She knew Jesus loved her and I can tell by her sweet little voice that she loved her mama!
    I can’t get you off my mind so I just continue to hurt with you and pray for you to have strength….one day at a time.

  3. Sumi,
    Thanks for visiting my blog. You just happened to visit when I had a rather silly post on there. Usually I am talking about Jesus. 🙂
    I admire your strength that you are displaying only through leaning on the Lord. I can’t imagine the mess you’d be in if it weren’t for the personal relationship that you have with Jesus. He just has to be our everything.
    My prayers for you. I love hearing about your precious Jenna. She just touches my heart.

  4. Sumi-
    I “know” you through the kind and insightful comments you leave on my dad’s blog (A View from the Juniper Tree) and just this snowy sunday morning in Utah I saw the post about your beautiful daughter going to be with Jesus and I am just heartbroken for you. I am so sorry and grieve with you as you try to “do” life with out your precious daughter. My little boy is 3.5 and I cannot imagine the pain you are dealing with. I can see the light of Jesus is shinning through you in your posts and am blessed by you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you walk through all the “first” you will deal with in the days to come. Just thought I would recommend this book: Turn My Mourning into Dancing- By Henri Nouwen. He is so encouraging on the topic of grief and suffering… not making light of it, but talking about embracing it and living it. I have only read the first two chapters and am so impacted by them that I haven’t been able to move on ….yet.
    Jesus’ Peace and Blessing upon you today-
    Traci Armstrong

  5. Thank you for your sweet words, Traci. I have visited your blog in the past and admired the way you have been walking with Jesus through Eyob’s adoption. (Did I get the name right?)
    Thanks for praying, too.

  6. Hi Sumi! Just wanted to send some love your way. Love you, sister! Praying over you and your family.

  7. I am sending prayers up for God to comfort you and your family as only He can. Your faith is an inspiration. Your daughter is beautiful. If you have time, Psalms 121 always warms my heart. Hugs to you.

  8. Hi Sumi,
    Just wanted you to know that I am still thinking about you and praying for you.I distinctly remember a major crisis in my life that practically severed my life in two..the before…and the after…two different Sitas..all I know is that your opening up your heart for all to share in your process is bringing us all together, just like Christ prayed…Jenna is drawing us all…be blessed, dear sister..
    Love, Sita

  9. Sumi, still thinking and praying for you everyday. I want to give you a hug, but I guess over cyberspace will have to do. ((((Sumi))))

  10. HI Sumi….I just tried to call you this morning. God laid it on my heart to try and call you today, so I did. I was so nervous waiting to see if you would pick up! I don’t know why, probably because I don’t know what to say…I just wanted you to know I care and would listen if you needed to talk. However, you didn’t answer and your mailbox said it was full and “to please hang up”. LOL That cracked me up. I paused before hanging up and the machine said, “Are you still there???” 🙂 I quickly hang up then because I was afraid of getting in trouble. Ha Ha.

    Anyway, in case you have caller id if you see a number with area code 843, then it was me. 🙂

  11. “I know he allowed something in his wisdom that he could prevent in his power.”

    Sumi, what absolutely awe-inspiring words. I shall place them in my heart’s pocket for times when my faith falters and I ask “why”.

    Thank you for this precious gift.

    Jenna is a beautiful child. Although your hearts must hurt terribly, isn’t it wonderful how she dances at The Throne? True GLORY.

    I am sure one of her dance partners is “Fancy Hannah” who entered into GLORY last July 19th.

    I give thanks for such precious Angels.

    May Jesus continue to bless and comfort you and bring to you and your family a peace that only He can give.

  12. Haai sussie
    Hierdie is ‘n moeilike een. Dankie vir die kykie in jou hart. Ek is lief vir julle almal.

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