I see you in the pink flowers.
Last October we walked into the abode we now are blessed to call home and I was elated for a number of reasons. The white subway tile counter tops, the nooks hidden all around the space, the floor to ceiling windows that invited in the most beautiful light and the hardwood floors were just a handful of things. As we walked down the long hallway and exited the door into the backyard, a tiny frog jumped in my throat. There you were.
Interwoven with the back fence of this lovely Glendale home was the most vibrant pink bougainvillea bush. This was the same vine of flowers that graced the babies home fence when you were welcomed into the family. Do you remember how we used to walk around the property and I would hold your body so high in the sky so you could pick off a delicate flower? Do you remember how soft the petals felt in your weak hands?
We did this on a daily basis. I would walk into the babies home and as your body got stronger with each passing day, you eventually would lift your arms for me to hold you. And I did. There was hardly any weight to your body so I did a whole lot of holding. Sometimes you would fall asleep, sometimes you would cry because your body was in so much pain but most of the time you just sat there with a solemn look on your face. These flowers though, they eventually made you smile.
I remember standing at the fence, and lifting you to pick the highest flower that you could reach and as I brought you down to my hip, a smile was adorned on your face. I had never seen it before. It was angelic. A little toothy for your 18 month old self but I saw something I had never seen in the three weeks of knowing you. Life shined through your eyes.
These flowers brought you hope. They showed you that life is beautiful even when given a delicate situation. They symbolized life in the midst of some dark chapters, even in stories that would end rather too abruptly. The day of your funeral was one of the most bittersweet days of my life. There was sadness and grief but more than anything there was joy. Children whom you never met were running around with laughter. Adults were gathered in their finest Ugandan attire to show you respect and celebrate that you are now with Jesus. As the men dug your grave, we picked flowers with the children. Pink flowers were thrown in with you as you were laid down into the earth. Life mixed in with death.
It doesn’t surprise me that my back fence is adorned with this flower that holds so much meaning to me. I knew it was a beautiful gift from God to show me that even though this new chapter was starting out in a dark tone, He would breathe life into it…just like He breathed life into you as your body just couldn’t hold on anymore. Your story was so powerful, even if it contained a limited amount of chapters.
He used you in some really dark situations Juliana. He used your short, small, fragile life to teach so many people beautiful lessons of strength and resilience. God has shown me that no matter what we are faced with, if we can hold onto the hope of tomorrow, He will grace us with incredible beauty. For you that beauty might have been found as the door finally opened to the hut where you were abandoned and then rescued. It might have been in those long walks around the compound to pick all of the flowers we could find. Or it might have been found when you gave your last breath in my arms and met Jesus in your forever home.
Missing you everyday.