Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Tribute To An Angel

                     Shawna & the girls                        

I have always been able to express myself with words or through my craft and am rarely in the situation I find myself in now. 
Back in August a woman contacted me with what "I" thought was a weird request.  She introduced herself as Shawna and began telling me about herself, her family and her request.  This was my first introduction to Maria's Big House of Hope.  I am one who is lead by my heart first and then logic and reason.  I am also one who has learned to be sceptical of most people (hard lessons to learn) and to do my "homework" before being "sucked in" by what I feel is a touching story.  So I did my homework.  This is when I knew Fate and Karma had jointly walked up and handed me an opportunity that I absolutely could not pass up. 
Shawna lost baby Lane in 2009.  Lane was born with Anencephaly.  You can read his touching story here.

2009 was a less than stellar year for me and my family.  Many moons ago I was born with Hidrocephalus.  My first surgery (at 2 days old) held me over until the age of 7 (1982) when I had to have my shunt revised.  In essence my drain tube was not long enough.  That revision lasted until January of 2009 (YES, 27 years!!)  When I had my surgery in January and told the Neuro how long it had been he thought I was lying and my husband had to correct HIM.  A second surgery in May and a third round in June/July that had me on "stay-cation" in the ICU of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for 3 weeks were not in my plans at all.  Not really how I wanted to spend my year but I do understand that everything happens for a reason and going through this life experience was part of my life's plan.

SO...when Shawna contacted me and explained her own story I felt drawn to her.  I felt a connection with her that I haven't felt with anyone before.  It was weird to say the least.

Now that we have some sort of background established here we can move forward with what this blog post is truly about...the whole reason Shawna contacted me in the first place. 
Shawna has a connection with Maria's Big House of Hope.  Through Show Hope she "met" Jeriel.   Jeriel was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa and ultimately died from her condition. 
Shawna's request was for me to make a memorial chime for baby Jeriel.  Little did I know just how much this small request would touch my heart.  She wanted me to make a set of chimes that would be displayed in the orphanage where Jeriel lived her very short life.  Wow.  I agreed.

John liked the idea of the "project" and had a few ideas of his own.
Shawna had originally asked that I etch Jeriel's name in glass but John and I wanted to do more.  First we etched her name in a piece of glass. That didn't work at all.  Well it did but not as I had hoped it would.  Then John decided milling the letters out of wood would be nice and work with my topper concept.  The "topper" never did come together.  Finally John decided to mill Jeriel's name in a fluorescent plexiglass similar to the way we used to do custom soap stamps.  Perfect!!  Couldn't dream of a better plan.  Well...his machine had issues. As I assured Shawna we would get to the bottom of this project I couldn't help but think we were being punished for something.  I mean... EVERYTHING we tried ultimately seemed to fail with this project.  It did seem to become more trouble than it should not to mention more money.  Then I started dreaming about baby Jeriel.  I would think about her ALL the time.  The parts that John needed to make his CNC machine work came in and we were off and running.

Once the plate was milled everything seemed to fall into place.  I was all of a sudden in default mode.  Without thinking about it the glass was selected, cut and put into place.  I was finally seeing the light at the end of this very long tunnel.  And as I was reaching the end of this very personal project I started crying.  I found myself unable to control my emotions.  It was like everything we had gone through to get to this point had all come to a head and burst.  I couldn't look at the chimes without tearing up.  Taking pictures was the worst.

But I finished it all up and sent it on to Shawna.  Then I decided doing a blog post on the experience would be a neat idea.  Shawna received the chimes a month ago.  I have been putting this post off because I couldn't seem to find the words.  Shawna and her beautiful girls took pictures with the chimes and I smiled all over myself.  Her kids are awesome.  I still couldn't write.  Today I received an email from Shawna that touched my soul.  She received a touching email and passed it on to me.  Apparently there are strict rules and regs we have to follow or I'd share it with you all.  Beautiful story.      

If I could say anything to Shawna it would be thank you for allowing me to be a part of something far bigger than myself.  It truly was an honor. 

If I could say anything to little Jeriel it would be..... We never got to meet but I love you and miss you terribly.


1 comment:

Jaimee said...

Sorry about the rules, but thank you for using your amazing gift to love well and be a blessing to so many! The beautiful chime has already been such a gift to those of us who know its story and the precious child who inspired it. I am so grateful to you and praise God for your miraculous life and how He is using you.