Hannah Crumby

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Hannah Crumby

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Hannah Crumby

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Author/s: Kimberly Crumby


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To the one who first called me mommy

My sweet girl,

I vividly remember the moment I found out you were on your way. I was beyond thrilled, a little surprised, and a lot scared. As the months slowly drifted by, I became less and less sure that, at age 25, I was really grown up enough to have my own baby. I so wanted to be a good mom to you. It didn’t take long to realize I was going to have mom-fail moments; the 1st time I put you in your crib after several months in our room, I unwittingly didn’t turn the baby monitor up loud enough to hear it (I am a fan addict- like, I need a 12 step program). I woke up the next morning just sure something terrible happened to you because you hadn’t woken me up to nurse. You were in your crib crying as loud as your little voice could, and I cried with you as I realized what happened. The idea of being the perfect mom didn’t last long.

You were such an easy baby- happy…content…a sleeper. As you approached the year and a half mark, your personality became a lot more strong willed. There were times I would stand there looking at you as you threw a fit on the floor over putting a jacket on, and I would wonder just what I was supposed to do with this raging toddler. It was made apparent again and again I didn’t have all the answers- like the time you spit on another little girl at church, and it took me 45 minutes to get you to apologize. You had your own idea about how things should work, and I knew if we could just help you learn to control your feisty spirit, you would be the neatest, most independent adult.

Somewhere between three and four years old, you became a little easier to manage. We could reason with you, and while you still had your moments, you were a fun, imaginative little girl. We loved watching you dance your “ballet” routines up and down the hall and having tea parties. You loved books and preschool and all things Disney.

Our beautiful, unique, rough and tumble princess…I felt so helpless when I couldn’t protect you from cancer and its horrible complications. I didn’t realize cancer cells were invading your blood, and no one knew you had suffered a stroke. Even though you won’t have the chance to be a mom yourself, I hope you knew somewhere in your four year old heart that I would have taken it all for you if I had been given the choice. Even though I wasn’t a perfect mom (and still am not), I hope you knew how much you were loved.

Because it’s not perfection that matters- it’s love. In all things.

I am beyond blessed that God saw fit to send you to make me a momma. I would never wish it otherwise even though the pain of losing you has sometimes been almost unbearable. The harder we love, the harder it hurts. I will see you again, my beautiful Hannah. I know I will get to hear your sweet little voice calling out to me again…the first one who called me mommy.

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Finality

On this icy winter-like day, the concept of finality has diametrically opposed meanings in my heart. Just four short days ago, when the temperature was sitting at a pleasant 65 degrees, we swore to tell the truth- so help us God. And truth telling we did- we answered that we have a strong desire to raise this precious baby as ours, and we long to form a parent-child bond with her. In a mere ten minutes, the judge deemed us fit to adopt this life, and he scrawled his name on the magic line.

I have developed a skill I never dreamed of having- the ability to not cry when I choose not to. I willed the tears to stay in as we sat in the judge’s chambers; I knew if they started, I would dissolve into the dreaded ugly cry. I was overwhelmed in so many ways- how God carefully orchestrated this moment and everything that preceded it…wondering if Hannah was able to see this happening and what she was thinking…how thankful I am that this sweet baby is healthy and thriving despite her traumatic birth…God’s redemptive plan for us. Overwhelmed.

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Now, four days later, with a frigid 18 degree chill, I ponder how much finality can ache. How it hurts harder than I ever knew possible to know that our sweet Hannah has been gone from our sight for four years.

1, 460 days. Days that sometimes seem like they have gone too fast…and sometimes have been interminable. Over the course of these four years, I have grown to accept that I will never know why. If I knew, I would not understand…no matter how good the reason was. If I understood, it would still not be enough to entirely pacify my heart.

God just has to be enough…and he is. More than enough. On the days when I have barely been able to get out of bed…on the days I have laughed harder than I ever thought I would be able to again…on the days it feels like my feet are mired in quicksand. There he is…again. Day after day. Even when I haven’t felt his presence and desperately asked why-  he kept me in the palm of his hand. The moment I walked into our home for the first time after leaving the hospital and fully realized I would never hear a four year old girl’s laughter decorate the halls again…finality.

Except that now, I will one day hear a four year old girl’s laughter again; it won’t be the same sound, but it will bring joy to my heart. God indeed works in ways that I could never imagine with my finite brain.

Now, no one on this earth can take our newest baby girl away from us- finality. Our 1st girl has been taken from us- finality. But that finality is only bound by this temporal world- we will see our sweet Hannah Grace again. God is faithful.

 

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Hearts for Hannah

Hearts for Hannah

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Hearts for Hannah

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Happy birthday, Hannah Grace

Our sweet Hannah Grace…

Today (2/15/2014), you would have been nine years old- you would have had 3, 285 days on this earth. Instead, you had four years, nine months, and twenty-three days here with us. Before you were even a glimmer in my eye, God knew that those four years, nine months, and twenty-three days would be it. Your life as we know it. I wonder what God thought when he watched you arrive. Did he see big days that would come- the Christmases…birthdays…1st day of preschool? Or, did he see those small, tiny moments that parents want to hang on to forever- watching you blow a dandelion for the 1st time…the joy on your face as you splashed in the swimming pool…the way you would cross your eyes to be silly on purpose and make us laugh? At the moment of your birth, did he see you suffering from endless procedures…the effects of chemotherapy…you lying next to me as you left my arms to go to his?

The Day You Were BornI’m not sure about any of that; I just know in my heart that God indeed knew all those moments were coming. He knew how you were going to give us a run for our money with your stubbornness; he also knew how smart and funny you were going to be. He knew how you would suffer. Why didn’t God intervene and extend your days with us? That I will never know. But I do know that you are living a life- an eternal life- that I can’t really fathom. I can’t wait until the day when you meet me there and show me what it is you have been doing all these years. Or will it only seem like seconds to you since you’ve been in my arms? One day, I will be there with you, my warrior princess. I wonder what you would look like as a big nine-year old; during the same breath, I try to imagine what you look like in Heaven. Are you still a little girl dressed up in a princess gown? Will Momma and Daddy have the joy of watching you grow once we join you? Someday, sweet girl, we will be there.

We have done our very best to honor your life; one of the hardest things about losing a child is that you want to create a legacy since children haven’t had much of a chance to do that themselves. How quickly some forget. Precious Hannah, your legacy is real. You live on in the smattering of freckles on your brother’s face. You live on through the sister you never met who carries your middle name. You live on through those who remember you. You live on through people who have been helped because you lived. Your life mattered- and it still does.

SweetnessOur strong Hannah Grace, I cannot imagine not having had the chance to be your mom; the pain and sadness we have lived through these last four years is completely worth the four we had with you. Completely.

We love you, Hannah, and we long for the day when you take us to Jesus so we can worship at his feet…with you…forever.

Hearts for Hannah

About

 

Our sweet Hannah would have been 9 years old on February 15th, 2014. So very hard to wrap my mind around. I often wonder what she would look like…how her personality may or may not have changed…how she would have loved school…how very different life would be.

For those of you who may have not been around since the beginning of this story, one way we have tried to use this tragedy for good is to remember Hannah’s birthday by helping others. We decided to call this “Hearts for Hannah” since she was born just one day after Valentine’s…and this is one way to demonstrate how strongly she is still in our hearts.

We have been encouraged by so many doing for others in Hannah Grace’s honor and memory. We have had a random act of kindness day, collected books for an elementary school in Harlem and for poor villages in Africa, and delivered items to the ECO Children’s House in Springdale.

This year, we are returning back to the place where we experienced some of the best care a child can receive- Arkansas Children’s Hospital. I wish I could adequately describe to you the level of devotion you see there…and not just for the patients. The hospital offers so many services for the kiddos and their families- there are tremendous doctors, nurses, child-life specialists, social workers…it’s quite an amazing place. It truly takes people with a special calling to work with sick children.

There are many needs at ACH- so many things that you would never think of until you are there. We are going to collect some of the needed items. Of course, monetary donations are always appreciated at ACH, and so many of you have done that in Hannah’s memory already. If you would like to go that direction, you can visit their website to donate on-line. http://www.archildrens.org/

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