The middle boy was reminiscing this afternoon about a trip that he took with my dad whilst we were visiting South Africa last year. They had gone to a nearby game reserve. The boy told me today, in the same enthusiastic terms that he used on that day almost a year ago, how intimidating a lion’s stare can be when it is a yard away from your car. How he never thought a lion was THAT big. How cute and cuddly lion cubs are.
I listened with half an ear. I was trying to remember things. I had opted to stay home that day, because…why? I can’t remember why anymore. I think we went shopping instead? What did we go shopping for? I was trying to remember because those were Jenna days. Our last few days with her. Or were they? Did this happen after Jenna left us and before her daddy and two other brothers joined us in South Africa?
I don’t think so. If my brain serves correctly, they went to the game reserve on a Thursday morning. Jenna, my mom and I did go shopping. I think.
As the anniversary of that trip and all that transpired approaches, I find myself wanting to coax my all-too-forgetful brain into recalling every detail, every word, every sight of my little miss muffin’s last days with us. It frustrates me that I can recall a cute conversation with Jenna when this picture was taken three short days before she left us..but I can’t remember a word of what was said!
I remember where she was standing when she pinched her little cheeks like that. I know where everyone else in the house was at that time. I remember that she told me the sweetest thing. I remember that I just wanted to eat her up and keep her that small and cute forever, but since I couldn’t, I would do the next best thing and take her picture. BUT WHAT DID SHE SAY? It eludes me, and I hate that.
If she were still with us it wouldn’t be an issue because there’d be more sweet toddler moments to come. But that was it. My last precious days with her and memory fails me.
Of course, there are some things I will NEVER forget. I woke up next to Jenna’s sweet sleeping face and stared at her in wonderment enough mornings, to be able to trace the perfect line of her eyebrows and the symmetry of that little rose-bud mouth in my mind’s eye any time. I will never forget what a sweet little Jenna kiss on my cheek felt like. I will never forget her sweet voice as she told her brothers that they were her ‘best brothers’, or her bossy voice as she tried to organize them. Who can forget seeing Jenna rush up to her best friend Joseph for an exuberant greeting at every church service? How can I forget that sweet, nurturing tilt of her head as she snuggled a soft toy under her chin?
I will never ever forget her.
Still, it is not without frustration, that I remember that there are moments, snippets of conversation, that my brain has seemingly lost forever.
I was thinking about this when my eye caught part of Psalm 139 on my fridge door:
Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; and in thy book they were all written,
Even the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was none of them.
It has always comforted us to know that God had numbered Jenna’s days before she was born and that she had lived her intended life-span here on earth. It was a short life, but a full one, and she still lives!
Today though, it occurred to me that if all Jenna’s days were written in a book that perhaps those cute moments are not lost to me forever. Maybe God would give me a chance to read that book one day, so I could catch up on all the lost-to-memory conversations. I have a feeling that being with Jesus in heaven will be so amazing and God’s restoration will be so complete that I won’t even care about it then, but still it is a nice thought.
It is not always such a nice thought to think that some of my days are written in a book too. Oi vey! Could you erase that one about a week or two ago when I was being so utterly selfish that my long-suffering hubby had to call me on it? Please God?