Throughout Memorial Day Weekend, a question whirled around in my mind: “How do you teach your kids to be spiritual?”
Three Moms leading up to that weekend had asked me that exact same question, and my answers back to them were just sort of a jumble of, “Uh. Hmmmm. I… We…. Hmmmm. ???”
I see the sensitive spirits in my kids, but tend to think that they just “got that way” or were “born that way.” On a walk with my friend Emmalee (often mentioned in this blog), I asked her for her thoughts on how I might better respond if asked that question again in the future.
Then Emmy Spicer left this world… and entered ours.
The kids, Emmalee and I attended the Relay for Life to support a few friends who have been impacted by the monster named Cancer. Sadiella and her friend Sawyer were twirling around in the field dancing, while J. Michael was off with friends in the jumpy thing. I talked with friends and heard stories of cherished lives being celebrated. So, already a bit teary, my friend Vivian walked over, holding a luminary bag and a bin of markers.
She choked out these words: “A woman just purchased this luminary and asked if a child could decorate it for her. It is for Emmy Spicer, a little girl who passed away this morning. Will you ask Sadie to color it for her?” I immediately invited my twirling little dancer to sit in the grass with me.
“Sadie, I have a very VERY special job for you. Do you see these letters on this bag? That is the name of a little girl, Emmy Spicer. She went to be with Jesus this morning, and you have been asked to color this bag for her. Would you do that?”
I was deeply moved by her seriousness. She IMMEDIATELY said, “Sure, Mom!” and began to make very intentional scribbles on the backside of the bag.
Seeing the open bin of markers drew attention from her little dance partner, Sawyer, who came over and sat down beside Sadie.
Sadie did not stop what she was doing, but said, “Hey, Sawyer! See this name? This is Emmy. She is in heaven today, and we get to decorate this bag for her party. In a minute, I have a job for you. Will you help me?”
Sawyer nodded yes, and waited patiently as Sadiella kept scribbling and talking.
Sadie: “Sawyer, Emmy got her wings today, and we have to make this VERY colorful for her. (pause) Okay, now you can help me…”
They filled the backside with little scribbles in almost every color.
Then Sadie flipped the bag over to the side with Emmy’s name and handed Sawyer a bright yellow marker, “Let’s make sure it lights up! She needs to light up!”
I sat in the grass in silence with tears streaming down my cheeks under my sunglasses, so proud to be watching this love-expression from my little girl’s heart. It was then that Emmalee said, “THIS is why your kids are spiritual.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are just honest with them… about everything. And you just… include them.”
The sun began to set and the evening rose on the day that Emmy Spicer went to heaven. The luminaries were lit, and the kids and I walked around the track that night in the walk of silence, whispering names on bags, quietly praying for families, and celebrating the life of a little girl we had never met, but whom we will never EVER forget.
Emmy is just a bit younger than the baby we lost to a miscarriage at the beginning of the 2nd trimester… 2 years before J. Michael was born. J. Michael said to me, “Now she can be friends with HOPE.”
The luminaries that were lit in the bleachers that night spelled out a word. That word was HOPE. We looked back at it as we walked to our car—a moment that will remain embedded in my mind. We may live in a daily balance between dance & grief; it is the balance of Hope & dread. But we have a great multitude surrounding us, The Risers; they are those who are not balancing the two any longer. They light up with one word… it is that word that we can pass along to our kids through our honest conversations and daily actions… so that they, too, will live with it. Walk with it. Be friends with it.
Thank you Emmy Spicer for lighting our lives with yours. You will be remembered.