This is going to be a bit of a departure from my recent posts about Will and his progress since being diagnosed with autism. That's because today is a special day for our family. It is what we have come to call "Rose's Day". On September 10th, 2014, we said goodbye to our second child, Rose Marie, who was stillborn at 22 weeks. For an account of that day, please read Ashley's post from this blog entitled "Mother of Two".
Following Rose's passing and burial, Ashley and I wondered how we could best remember and honor this child who was is very much a part of our family even if she was only with us for a short time. One way developed rather organically as we found ourselves visiting her gravesite regularly.
I never imagined that a cemetery would become one of my favorite places to visit, but Mt Calvary Cemetery in Richmond is my own little piece of Heaven. It is always so peaceful whenever we had visit and Will always recognizes it as where Baby Rose is. My parents and Ashley's mom have also been able to visit Rose's peaceful resting place.
Now that we live on the other side of the country from Richmond, visiting the cemetery is nearly impossible. However, we still try to commemorate Roses membership in our family by including a rose (or multiple roses) when we take photos together as a family.
Shortly after Rose passed away, I had a dream in which we were visiting with some friends of ours. In my dream, Will was a little older than he was at the time as well as our friends' two children. In addition to these three kids, there was a little girl who looked to be about a year old. She was wearing a white sun dress and wavy blonde hair. I stared at this little girl as she toddled across the room. I wondering to myself who she was when a very distinct impression popped into my mind "This is your daughter."
I woke up from the dream slightly confused and it wasn't until hours later that I had a sudden realization: the girl in my dream was Rose. I shared this dream with Ashley and my family and my impression that I got to see what Rose would look like as a one year-old.
Earlier this year, Ashley commissioned a family portrait based upon the dream I had three years ago. She asked the artist to draw Will and Felicity at their current ages, but to include Rose as she would be this year.
99% of the time, when people ask me or Ashley how many kids we have, we say two. Deep down I know the real answer is that we have three children but that I don't get to meet my second child until the next life. Until then, and especially on her day, I will continue to preserve my memory of my baby Rose Marie.
"Our loving Heavenly Father knows our hearts. His purpose is to give us happiness. And so He gave the gift of His Son to make possible the joy of family bonds that continue forever." - Henry B Eyring