April 3, 2010

charity

It is late. I should not be awake especially when my baby is actually sleeping. However, tonight I started looking at old family photos and came across these scanned pictures of my older sister, Charity. As I sifted through the folder I saw this sweet one of her adorable maternal instincts as a little girl. I love seeing little girls long for the day that they will become mothers. It is the most sweet and pure thing and it gives me hope for the future.
But what really hit me like a ton of bricks tonight was this picture. I've seen this picture a hundred times. In fact, I may have even been the photographer. I was sixteen when Charity gave birth to her son, Jonah. He was so tiny but so alert. He was beautiful and Charity loved him more than anything. Even as a oblivious teenager, I could see how much Charity adored him. Since her arm was paralyzed from her cancerous tumor she couldn't hold her own baby without support so my mom would often prop her newborn babe on her thin body against the back of the couch and they would lay like that for as long as he would allow.
Tonight was the first time I saw this picture as a mother. And seeing this picture made my heart ache differently for my sister who passed away just a few months later. Until I became a mother I didn't understand the sorrow she felt knowing that she would be leaving him and her husband behind. After she was diagnosed with cancer, Charity often wept about how all she wanted was to be a mother . . . and she was.

Charity died in the room next to mine on a school night as I was doing homework. My mom told me and we cried. Then I went to my brother's room and we cried. Within minutes phone calls were made and my other siblings came over and we cried. But I will always remember picking up tiny Jonah just moments after I heard that his devoted mother has passed on to eternity. He was a premature three month old infant, squirming in my shaking arms. I held him and tried to comfort him while I quietly whispered, "Jonah. You have no idea how much your life has just changed." As I said those words his body stopped squirming and he smiled. I thought he was looking at me until I realized that he was looking past me - like he was smiling at a face he recognized behind mine. I looked over my shoulder to see who was there and felt so strongly that it was his mother, my sister, that he was looking at. I still believe that she was there comforting him and that she will always be a part of his life.

This is a personal story to me and it's one that I'll never forget. As I thought about this story tonight I realized how fitting it is that Charity's birthday is this month - the month we celebrate the resurrection of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice of his life and because He was resurrected, I know that my sister will live again. I love celebrating such a wonderful miracle and blessing and I believe with all my heart that as life ends here on earth, so much more waits beyond into eternity.

I love this video.

23 comments:

  1. Thank you, Elizabeth,for your comforting words. This time of year is always hard for me as my mother's birthday is this month too. I understand so accutely what it feels like to lose one's mother. I feel that loss everyday. It is a sorrow I will never fully overcome in this life, but the celebration of Easter helps remind me that I will see her again soon. I long for that day. Til we meet again... Thank you for sharing such a personal story. You truly touched me this morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this was such a touching post. i'm grateful to have read it this morning.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for sharing this beautiful memory.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing, Elizabeth. Such a touching story that brought me to tears. Such a wonderful reminder of the real reason we celebrate this holiday. So grateful for our Savior's sacrifice and his plan for families.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a lovely, sweet, personal memory. Thank you for sharing.

    I truly believe in those we love watching and loving us from the other side, especially mothers. Ethan's mother suddenly died when he was 6, leaving 7 children behind, the youngest 10 days old. There have been some incredible experiences that Ethan and his siblings have had over the years that help reaffirm that their mother loved them.

    Happy Easter to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This was very tender, Liz. I love and am grateful for Charity, and I'm grateful that you all have a testimony of the Resurrection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's Saturday morning and I am already in tears. What a wonderful story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for sharing. I still remember when I was in young womans coming over and watching her little baby so that you parents did not have to miss sacrament each week. They had our ward rotate through and it was so fun to hold him. It truly takes on a whole new meaning looking back at what sacrifices she was making.

    ReplyDelete
  9. what a beautiful story.

    i love that video too. happy easter!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just realized that I think I know Charity's husband (Mark, I think)... he was a dental supply rep who told me the story of his sweet wife who gave birth to their beautiful little boy Jonah and passed away shortly after his birth. It is a story that has stayed with me and I love that you shared this memory with s all.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This made me cry. Thanks for posting such a personal story. Although I cannot imagine what a terrible heartache it was for you to lose her, God was able to show you his tender mercies. Jonah is so blessed to have you guys and his dad and Sarah to raise him. Love you Lizzy. Have a wonderful easter!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Liz, your beautiful expression of your memories filled me with tears. I'm so sorry for your loss. But like you, I know our Savior died for our sins and gives eternal life and hope.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so very much Liz for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for sharing such a precious memory. I know that you didn't have to share that with all of your readers but I am so grateful you did! It brought tears to my eyes but more importantly it brought the Spirit to my heart! Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. This was beautiful. I'm sorry for the difficulty of the experience but I was lifted by your sharing of the story. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you for sharing that with us. It was very touching and so personal. And so sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  17. that was very beautiful. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love when the spirit speaks to me late at night... when I'm listening. Sounds like you had one of those tender moments late at night. I'm so glad you decided to write it down and share it with us. It really meant a lot to me and I was very touched by it. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I read this right after you posted it and I can't stop thinking about it. I have so many questions... what happened to Jonah? How is Charity's husband? I would love to hear the rest of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you for sharing this. I know we are often counseled to keep our most sacred moments private, but sometimes I believe we are prompted to share them, at just the right time, as a tool to help someone else feel the spirit and the love of our Heavenly Father.

    Thank you.

    I, too, am curious what Jonah's life has been like since and his dad.

    ReplyDelete
  21. That was a beautiful tribute to your sister.

    ReplyDelete
  22. these are beautiful memories, liz. i am so happy to be jonah's other mom and part of your wonderful family.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are moderated to eliminate spammers and internet bullies.