Every one of us in the Art 'n Soul family have been deeply affected by Alissa's challenges, heartbreaks, and joys. We're still processing the loss of Anna Joy, as well as the empty but loud aching loss that Alissa and Matt are experiencing. Their faith in God, sustained by prayers from around the world said for Anna Joy and the Peppley family, has never diminished. Their tested courage and inner-strength has been more than we could fathom or understand, and has been inspiring beyond words.
We're home! -- Tuesday, Dec. 20
I feel like I want to stay here, at our home, for about three months, and not ever leave. Home feels good, right? It's the place a person is most comfortable, where things make sense - even when they don't make sense (does that make sense? doubt it...but that's what I'm writing and there's nothing you can do about it). Home is where you go to escape the world, to hide from all of the garbage that assaults all day long. Home is where you find love, and happiness, and a soothing cup of steaming hot cocoa. A long bath, a good book in front of the fire. A good footstool at just the right height. A table covered with a checkered tablecloth, chock full of delicious, hot food that sits in your stomach for days and makes you push your chair back with a great sigh of content. Wow. That was a long sentence.
You get the picture, don't you? We all have our feeling of what home is. Alissa and I are there, right now. but with one thing missing: Anna Joy. Even so, it's good to be home. We miss her already, more than we can probably ever express. The cradle by our bed is still empty. The car seat is in the garage, and it didn't get used. Her clothes still hang in the closet, and her diaper bag is still full. We only got to use one stocking cap and one sock. Yes, one sock. Anna always had some monitor on one of her feet, so we couldn't use both. She never put on the cute outfits that were given to us. She never got to hug the stuffed animals that watched over her crib like little angels.
I miss my baby girl. But I am joyful still for the few days that she was a part of our lives. I'm grateful to have experienced her steadfastness and fighting spirit. Did we ever tell that she came out fighting? Yup. The first look on her face that I saw said "What's going on here? I don't like this! I was comfy-cozy in there!" I didn't want to tell her that since she decided to come so fast, it was really all her fault.
Oh, her tiny little cry! That sound will echo in my ears until the day I die! And her grip on my finger, that will linger for as long as I have feeling in my hands. But, oh, how my arms ache to hold her! My arms will never feel the same. "Ache" doesn't adequately explain the feeling that my arms are missing. They not only feel empty, but they almost tingle, as if to tease me into thinking that they will soon be filled with the cuddly warmth of our newborn babe.
Okay, enough for now. It's late, and Alissa and I both just took some NyQuil, so we hope to sleep through the night. I took some last night, but she didn't. She couldn't sleep, so got up to journal. She left our room (we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house one more night), and was going to use the den, but someone was in it watching TV. So she sat on the floor in front of our door and journaled by the hall light! How thoughtful is that?!?! She didn't want to disturb my slumber, so she sat on the hard floor to write her heart out! I love you, Alissa. You shouldn't have done that, but I love you nevertheless.
Aaaannnd I thought I was at the beginning of the last paragraph, but apparently not...
So tomorrow we are going to a funeral home to plan Anna Joy's memorial service. I can't imagine that will be easy, but with God's strength, I'm sure we'll get through. Heck, we've gotten this far thanks to Him (and you all), and I don't think He'll abandon us now. He's not like that, is He?
We did get to hold Anna Joy for a couple of hours, and she floated through the arms and hearts of her family during that time. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, even great aunts, got to cradle her, and we all cried and enjoyed feeling her warmth as we snuggled with her. She opened her eyes a few times and looked around, which was amazing.