If you've been a long time follower here on A Perfect Lily, you will remember my friends Jessica and Tim, and their beautiful baby Emma.
Emma spent 26 minutes on this side of Heaven in the arms of her mommy and daddy. Her life, though brief, touched so many hearts in the short amount of time she was given.
Tomorrow marks three years since the day she was born... her parents have asked me to share a short video with Lily's readers, in hopes of honoring her life and continuing to spread the love and joy she brought to her family and so many others.
I am reposting Emma's story below (written three years ago), so that new readers have an opportunity to "meet" the Garvin family, and to participate in their project called #KindnessforEmma.
I am also including a picture of the Emma's brother, who is now 15 months old - Liam Timothy Garvin. .. I am quite sure Emma shares his beautiful, infectious smile on the other side of Heaven.
March 21, 2013
Dearest Baby Emma,
I've only had the privilege of knowing you through your mama's words since last November, but I feel so connected to you because of them. You've been in our family's thoughts and prayers since the day your mommy introduced herself through an email. I've read her words out loud to my husband, or at least tried to... because most of the time I couldn't get past the lump in my throat. You have an amazing mommy, Baby Emma.
Tonight I received an email from her telling me all about you... how you were born yesterday at 6:21 a.m., how you were beautiful - big blue eyes, fuzzy blond hair, and a button nose... and how you spent 26 minutes in this world before passing to the next.
In 26 minutes I could clean up the morning dishes, make lunch for all my children, tuck them into bed after saying our goodnight prayers....
But 26 minutes was all your mommy and daddy had to meet you, say hello, goodbye.
And yet I know from your mama's words that those 26 minutes were the most precious, most beautiful minutes of her life, and that if she had to do it all over again - knowing how hard it would be to let you go - she'd do it in a heartbeat...for those 26 minutes.
Tonight your mama is my hero, Baby Emma. Because there wasn't a shred of bitterness or regret in the words she wrote to me, but rather thankfulness.
"We thank God for allowing us those 26 minutes, minutes we didn't even know we would have.
We sang to her, rocked her, and kissed her a million times. I whispered in her ear how much she is loved by us and by God. Emma knew only love while she was here on earth and that is what she taught us. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things and that is what Emma has eternally imparted and imprinted on our hearts."
I have a hard time looking at the picture above, dearest Baby Emma. The tears in your daddy's eyes, and the tender way your mommy held you, studying every feature I'm sure, and storing the memories in her heart like pearls on a strand....I know every day that passes she'll treasure those memories, and no matter how much time there is between now and when she sees you again, she will never forget your sweet newborn smell, those delicate rosebud lips, the warmth of your tiny body in her arms.
And if I have a hard time just looking at that picture - of love and grief all mixed into 26 minutes - what did your mommy and daddy and grandma and auntie feel? I can't imagine what they walked through in those 26 minutes, cannot wrap my mind around that kind of emotion and experience.
But you know what I see in those pictures as well?
The grace of God.
He carries us through things we thought we never could endure, He gives us grace to bear the unthinkable, and He wraps His arms around us in our darkest hours...
He knows what it is to lose a child.
And even though I can't explain why bad things happen to good people, why there is suffering in the world, and why it seems sometimes that our prayers go unanswered...I believe God is good.
Life can be hard, but God is good,.
I am so honored to have grown to know your family, Baby Emma, because I know right now they are going through the hardest thing any parent could ever go through, and that they are trusting in God.
"The grief that we feel is unspeakable and my heart and arms ache for our baby girl. But I believe that God is holding her now. I wasn't ready to let her go, but I pray she is at peace."
You had a host of prayer warriors ushering you into the world, sweet Emma. We held you in our hearts and held your name before the throne of God, and we were blessed and honored to be able to pray for you and your amazing family.
You lived for 26 minutes on this side of Heaven, but in that short time you made an impact on so many. Some people take a lifetime to do what you did. You've touched the hearts of so many with your story, and we won't forget you. We're praying for your mommy and daddy and loved ones, praying so very much for the comfort of God for them, and for that peace that passes all understanding.
I don't know what it feels like to have 26 minutes to say hello and goodbye to a child, but I do know this:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
I'm so looking forward to that day, Baby Emma.
With all my heart,
Jessica and Tim- as always, I am honored to know you.