Seated at the dining room table in a room flooded by afternoon light, the three of us settle into the discussion ahead. Lindsay admits to feeling anxious about painful memories she will be sharing aloud during the next hour or so. It has taken her time to make the decision to talk about Ella for this project, but she and Josh finally decide that it might somehow be helpful as they continue toward healing. Still, now that we are together, ready to actually relive details of their experience, there is silence. Tears begin to shine in Lindsay’s eyes and Josh leaves to get the Kleenex. Lindsay tries smiling with trembling lips and I get my first glimpse of the ongoing pain she carries from Ella’s loss. When Josh returns, he places the box on the table, looks at Lindsay and gently asks if she wants him to start. But, with a breath that propels her into the past, she begins with an explanation of the exciting promise attached to Ella’s birth.
And so begins the next story – one of a daughter lost before her life can begin. It is about pain and frustration, legacies and a loving family; it moves forward in courage and hope using the presence of lady bugs and the unfolding of new growth and reclamation.
Over an hour later, our time almost over, Ella’s parents share different ways they are now able to experience peaceful moments. Lindsay speaks of the relaxing, working and thinking time she spends in her garden. There, feeling Ella’s presence, she can talk to her daughter. Josh calls Grey Rock, the natural space he visits in the northern Colorado foothills, his “special spot.” He finds peaceful, meditative time as he also watches nature’s landscape transform. Earlier ravaged by a wildfire, this once charred and quiet landscape has been restoring itself, becoming again what it is meant to be – a beautiful, nurturing home, teeming with life and growth.
Like this reclaimed place, once devastated by circumstances beyond its control, Josh and Lindsay are also in the process of transformation. And, as they discover and follow new paths, they can be assured that Ella travels with them. She is alive – in the pure innocence of a blossoming white rose, the laughter of her brothers, the celebrations of a family, the visits of ladybugs in a garden, a father’s lovingly-crafted poem, the quiet meditation of mending hearts, and always, in the circle of gracious, unconditional love.
As always, I wish you the grace of mending hearts and unconditional love,