I've been thinking of what my next topic should be to write about and then I realized that I had a few neat stories to share. First off, I have to say that I am seriously so blessed. The Lord has been so good to me throughout this trial. He has allowed Hailey to be close to me and send me sign after sign to show me she is still here with me in spirit. How lucky am I?
Now I'm going to rat myself out for a second, but I have good reason to! Today at church we had what's called Stake Conference. Each ward consists of members from certain boundaries, which is great because we all live close by and always go together at the same time and therefore get to know each other very well and form a family. A stake is a bunch of wards in a certain area combined together. That's a really simple explanation, but my point is...today is what we call Stake Conference, which is when all the wards get together and listen to the appointed stake leaders give messages and words of insight. Well, since there are so many more people there than normal it's kind of easy to "take the day off" because no one really can tell if you're there or not. So, I was very much considering "taking the day off!" But something kept telling me that I needed to be there. So I ended up getting up and going! I am so glad I did! The first talk started out with the speaker talking about a couple he counseled who lost their 5 year old daughter in a tragic accident. Ummm...a little close to home for me! But I figured there's a reason for this. He then went on to say that he was concerned for them because of their anger at God for taking their daughter away. The funny thing is, I literally have never once felt angry at God for any of this happening...not even during Hailey's entire life when she had so many medical problems. I've become one for trials...not that I'm asking for any more or enjoy them! But I've found that I have the attitude of, "When this is all over, I can't wait to see what I've learned, been blessed with, and become." I know that I can sit around and be angry with God and be miserable and expect everyone to feel sorry for me, or I can be grateful to have had Hailey in my life for 3 years and for the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means for me, Hailey, and my family in the future. I am grateful that we have been sealed in the Temple and therefore will remain a family for all eternity. Well, of course, I'm going to choose the path of gratitude. I would be embarrassed to honor Hailey's memory with anger and misery. Now, please don't get me wrong...I am sad, devastated in fact, and yes, I sob hysterically at times, but when it's all over I feel at peace again knowing that I'm being carried and if I didn't have the knowledge and faith that I do, I'd be so much worse off. Anyways, the whole point of that first talk in church today was quoted by the speaker when he said, "The true test is how we respond to such tragedies and trials in our lives. Do we respond with anger or gratitude for the One who came down and made it okay." Of course, that One who came down and made it okay is none other than Jesus Christ, who gave His life for us and then rose again so that I can be with my precious, little Hailey again! Wow...what more could I ask for?
On another note, I had the neatest experience the other day. It was seriously so surreal and you really had to be there to truly understand how amazing it was, but I'll do my best to describe it to you. First, let me say, that I truly believe that babies and young children can see real angels beyond the veil. I have said many times that I think Ava can see Hailey at times that we can't. Since Ava never really got to know Hailey, I often wonder if she comes around and visits her. If this freaks you out, I apologize. It's not necessarily my church's doctrine, it's just a belief that I personally have. There have been many times when Ava will look up at the ceiling or wall and stare and smile and I see nothing! It's so weird. Anyways, back to my experience. Lexi and I went to Golden Spoon (a frozen yogurt place for you non-Southern Californians) and then decided to go visit Hailey. We got her a side of strawberries, her favorite, to leave there. While we were sitting in the car eating our ice cream, I was sitting on the edge of the car feeding some to Ava. All of a sudden she looked up at the sky, pointed, and said hi. (She just started pointing and saying hi and bye!) I looked up and saw nothing but blue...not a cloud, bird, tree, airplane, UFO, nada!!! Then she started smiling and cooing, which then turned into full on giggles. I mean she was totally laughing and pointing and cooing. Lexi looked at me and said, "Mom, I swear she sees something." I told her I was thinking the same thing, but there was nothing there. Lexi then said, "Maybe it's Hailey!" So we continued to watch her and this literally went on for about a full minute. She wouldn't take her eyes away from what she was looking at, even when we tried to get her attention. All of a sudden, she waved and said bye and then started to cry for a second. It was the most surreal, unexplainable experience. I was so shocked by it. Now, I'm not saying she for sure saw Hailey. Of course, I'd like to think that's what was going on, but who knows for sure. I just felt so at peace and enjoyed watching the random joy in Ava's face. So I just thought I'd share that with you. (Oh and one other tidbit...when we were paying at Golden Spoon, Lexi yelled, "Mom look!" There in the tip jar was one penny and one dime!!! How cool!! For me at least, maybe not the workers...11 cents is not much to split!)
And one last funny story for those of you who I don't see on Facebook. Lexi has really taken a liking to that cardboard cutout of Hailey. I think because it's life size and looks so real she feels really close to Hailey when she's around it. She literally has it standing in her room when she goes to bed and in the morning she'll stand it in front of Ava's crib and read them both books (She used to read to Hailey every morning.). She also tells Hailey about her day at school and how much she misses her. I am totally okay with it because she does leave it when it's time...she's not ditching her friends to play with it or asking to take it places with us or anything like that! So the other day while Lexi was at school I went in to put Ava down for her nap. Well there in Lexi's bed all tucked in under the covers was the cardboard cutout of Hailey!!! I literally almost pooped in my pants! I jumped about 20 feet and almost dropped Ava. Hailey's head was resting on the pillow and the rest of her body was tucked into the covers. She seriously looked so real. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry...so I laughed and then posted it on Facebook, in hopes that it would make someone else chuckle too! One thing I've learned through this entire experience is that although it is tragic, you still need to laugh at times and have a sense of humor about certain things! That's the only thing that will get you through!!!