Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Proper Memorial

We visited the cemetery today. The marker for Camille's grave is up at last. I was unsure how I would feel when this day came. There is something so ... permanent and real about seeing it there. I was mostly fine at the cemetery. 

I thought the photo was ... a bit different than I expected. She looked really "Harris" in it to me. Sorry the close up I took with my cell phone is too blurry to put up. The name plate looks fine I guess. It just seemed ... too plain, too cold, to lifeless to be a proper memorial to my baby girl so full of life and mischief.

Usually my kids enjoy our visits to see Camille's grave. I think this change in the marker disturbed Lauren. Initially she was excited to see the photo and she walked up and kissed it. But within minutes she was begging to leave. She kept saying she was done seeing Millmills. It was too much she said. I am not sure we ever know the workings of a 3 year old mind, but for her benefit we left.

In the car on the way home, that is when I lost it. How can this be the memorial to the life of my daughter? It can't be. There is no memorial that man can make that would equal her beauty. There is nothing that can really capture or accurately depict the love we hold for her in our hearts or her thoughtful inquisitive personality.

No a proper memorial would have to be something living, something organic, something exquisitely beautiful. As I drove, a thought came to me. My life ... I could make of my life a proper memorial to her. This task seems daunting. And yet, I know with the Savior's help it is possible. I hope that at the end of my life, I will feel I have indeed lived a life worthy of a memorial to the life she did not get to live. I hope in the end both the Savior and Camille will be pleased with this work I create of my life. 

On the way home I stopped by Trader Joe's. It has been a long time since I was last there. I needed my fix on my favorite items there. I walked in to see these staring right at me:

Can I say I love Joe and his trading abilities. Where else do you find beautiful tulips in October for $6.99 a dozen? I bought a couple bunches and took them home. If I could, I would fill my house weekly with beautiful tulips. They are as beautiful and lovely, as organic and free spirited, as independent and driven as my sweet daughter Camille.

I love that tulips all grow in their own way. It makes them look like individual discoverers. Each finding its own path to the light. If anyone has seen some fake tulips as beautiful as these, let me know. That is what I want to fill the vase next to her name plate.

I loved these pink ones with the frayed edges. So feminine. One more shout out to Trader JOE!


36 comments:

Sue said...

That is a wonderful thought about making your own life a memorial to Camille, and your family life as well. I think you are already well on your way...

Of course, the book (there needs to be one!) will be dedicated to Camille as well, I am certain.

Another tangible memorial is the beautiful blue bracelet your friend made in Camille's memory. I purchased one for my granddaughter, and it arrived last week. I have to say that it is not only one of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry that I've seen, but it does bring Camille to mind...It really does. I look at it and immediately see the picture from your blog of Camille with her beautiful, bright blue eyes. What a wonderful friend you have to have captured your daughter in such a memorable and lovely piece of art.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

Stephanie, I also purchased a Camille Braclet for my granddaughter and it is so precious. Your living memeorial is something to be proud of...you already were her memorial for me and all the other followers to your blog. Thank you for that!

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I would like you to know that your daughters memory is walking around in the hearts of all of those that know and love you as well as in the hearts of everyone who has ever read your blog. I remember your beautiful little girl everyday when I parent my own children. Her memory and your words make me a better mother, wife and servant of the Lord. Her memory is SO much more then a nameplate or even a picture. Her spirit is a part of so many. Your life and your family's lives are all memorials to Camille as well as all those people who you haven't met walking around with her in their hearts.

Mandi said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet post. What an angel and i know she is with you at all times. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Mimi's Toes said...

Stephanie, I too see you as a memorial to your sweet little angel Camille. I see her sweet face in your face every time I look at your picture. I have never seen such beautiful tulips. The frayed ones remind me of angel feathers and are the perfect flowers for her vase.

Lisa said...

I just wanted you to know that not only are you a living memorial for Camille, your inspiration has made many of us a living memorial as well. Although you cannot see or feel it, the extra long squeeze I gave my little girl today was a living memorial. The way reading your words has inspired me to be a better mom is a memorial to Camille.

I know I'm not the only mom whose breath was taken away today looking at the grave marker for your little girl. Tears filled my eyes as I imagined myself in your place. Yet, instead of crumbling into a ball you have found a way to inspire and touch so many of us. I honestly feel God is working miracles through you.

Jennie said...

Your post brought me to tears. (again) You are a wonderful living memorial for your beatiful daughter. What better memorial could there be, to have a mom who is doing her best, and inspiring so many and working miracles in other's behalf? It's funny because the other day I was talking to a friend about one of your posts. I said, "My friend..." I caught myself and explained that I just 'know' you through the blogging world. But I feel as if I know you sometimes, because of your honesty and openness on your blog. Thank you for that, and for teaching me and inspiring me to be a better mom, and daughter of God.
I am so glad that you saw and bought those beautiful tulips. What a tender mercy to see those, when you needed to. They are a beautiful reminder of Camille's beauty.

Tiffany said...

That was so beautiful! Tulips in October, that just wouldn't happen here in SLC. But the ones you found are perfect, just like your sweet and beautiful little Camille. What good insight. Love you! Tif

The Morris Fam said...

to me...your life IS a proper memorial. a beautiful one. those tulips added at the location would look wonderful too!

Chelsea said...

i agree about the man-made memorial. i visited my grandfather's new headstone last week and could hardly connect it to him. have you thought about planting a tree or bush or some type of perennial as a memorial?

Lena Baron said...

Hello Stephanie,

I am Heidi Hamilton's friend. I'm so glad I found your blog. I remember Heidi telling me about your loss and I cried and prayed for you.

We delivered and lost our little girls two years ago next week. It is a time of remembering and reflection for me... I just wanted to let you know that I will be reading your whole blog:) and continue to follow you through your journey to healing. After two years, I can say that there has been tremendous healing. However, there will always be what I call "shadow grieving" from my Mother Heart. You can read my story on my Baby Loss website http://www.AwakeningYourHealth.com as well as on my blog.

God Bless Stephanie! -Lena

Kathryn said...

Hi Stephanie:

I am sure it is not lost on you that tulips personify Camille in yet another way: as their season of earthly splendor comes to a close, they revert back to the earth to be restored to blossom once more in the new season.

Love,
kathyrn_m

Darleen said...

I'm so glad you were able to find tulips without even looking. You have already done a beautiful job in making your life a memorial to your daughter. Love you!

cynphil6 said...

Stephanie,

What a wonderful "tender mercy" from the Lord. I think that since Camille looks EXACTLY like you, you will be reminded of her everytime you see yourself. What a gift!
xoxo
Cynthia

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

Sue, thank you for your comment about the Camille bracelet. That brought tears to my eyes.

Stephanie, the grave is not Camille's memorial. It is just where her little body lays for now. There are so many other things to be a memorial of her...her photos, her imprint on your life and the lives of all those who read this blog, you, jon, your other girls, Camille's spirit in your home... The grave could never be as beautiful as she was. I am sure it will look better when you find the perfect flowers for it. I love you and you are so amazingly strong and I am proud to be your friend.

e said...

you have it absolutely right. YOU are Camille's memorial. Your writings, your parenting, your service, your friendship, your life. It is all living and exquisite! Though her photo and her plaque seem dull-- our memories of her will never be that way. She will always be the happy blue eyed beauty, eating sand and smiling. These are not just words-- I mean them from the depths of me. I love you!

Ficklins said...

Although We do not know each other, I read your blog and feel so touched by your words. Sometimes people reach others and never even know that they have. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that YOU touch ME. I hope in some small way, that realization will somehow be a small reminder that your beautiful daughter has touched so many people. I took an extra minute during prayer to reflect on the mother I want to be daily. Thank you for being that seed in my day. Those are the tulips I needed today.

Anonymous said...

No words to send. Just love.

Jane

Anonymous said...

Oh Stephanie - the memorial to the life of your daughter is not something physical or inadimant. It is the lessons so many of us have learned from her mother. These lessons have changed my life. I can't even begin to express my gratitude. My heart is so full of excitement, of joy, of relief, of a testimony that shouts, "The Gospel is True". Heavenly Father DOES love us, He WILL help us - we just have to ask Him. I have learned this from you. I followed your lead.
So rest assured - your life has aleady been a memorial to your sweet beautiful Camille.

Mindy said...

Just another to add the sentiments that her memorial is the HOPE, LOVE, and LIFE you have given to so many of us. :)

Maggie May said...

What a beautiful, beautiful expression of your love for Camille. I'm so moved. Your life as testament seems so fitting to your faith, as well. Much love to you, Momma.

Rachel H said...

As a friend of a friend(of Darleen), I've been reading your blog since the accident, and I have cried many times- but not recently. This post welled up those tender tears again- and I just KNOW you and your lovely family are a living, breathing memorial to your sweet baby girl. =)

Anonymous said...

I also lost twins girls...I had to deliver them and bury them. I go back and visit where their bodies lie in wait for the resurrection. I believe as a mom, that it doesn't matter how old or young your child is, when a mom loses a baby, whether in utero or a couple years old, it hurts. The only way I get through it is through the tender mercies of the Lord. Its a long road ahead. I have felt very alone in this trial, but I try everyday to hold my head high and know that my Heavenly Father loves me....and he loves you too. We are all sisters in the Gosple and I take great comfort to that. Thank you for the words you share and your thoughts. My prayers are with you!

Hoskins Family said...

Steph, Jon, Sabrina, Annie, Lauren
You are all in our thoughts continually. I am sorry it was so hard. We love you!

Butterscotch said...

Touching post!

Anonymous said...

Your keeping Camille's memories alive with this beautiful blog...
thank-you

Miss Molly said...

OH, Stephanie! This is exactly how I feel. We are "picking out" Lucy's headstone this weekend and it horrifies me. But just last night Vic said almost those exact words to me in a blessing--that my life will be a memorial to her. That I will honor her through the way I live my life. It is a beautiful thought and so very, very true. The tulips are perfect. Trader Joe's is perfect (I LOVE THAT PLACE and can't tell you how often I lay in bed dreaming about one being in Park City).

I will keep my eyes out for some real looking tulips. I know Camille and Heavenly Father are both very proud of you. This was a wonderful blog post.

Kathryn said...

Hi Stephanie:

I accidently posted the following in the thread below. I will re-post it here cuz it's here it belongs and I really want you to see it.

Hi Stephanie:

Today, I finally received a beautiful vase I had ordered. It has an elegant simplicity to it - it is plain white with several white roses out-cropping about 2/3rd's the way up. It stands about 15 inches tall and looks gorgeous on my fireplace between two complimenting candlesticks with blueberry candles - those round, chubby ones about 5 inches tall and 3 inches across.

I was feeling a bit better today so I ran out to buy some silk flowers for it -- plus the above candles. My color combo in the livingroom is cranberry & dark blue. I choose a bunch of irises, some cranberry carnations, some awesome baby's breath and four (ETD - there are actualy 5 )lovely off-white tulips. I told my family that they are my "Camille tulips".

I am not an expert flower arranger but I think it looks mighty nice. I think I'll go back and get some taller but small dusty rose flowers to give it more background.

I wish I had a camera (and knew how to post pics) so I could show you the tulips.

Just wanted you to know...

love 'n hugs,
kathryn_m

mckenna said...

This blog is a beautiful memorial to your beautiful daughter. Tonight I've been in tears. I got three hours of sleep last night. I worked hard all day. I haven't showered in two. (Maybe too much information?) My husband has been gone for two weeks and I won't see him again until Thanksgiving. I had a bad conference call at work. I was feeling very discouraged. I was in need of the escape of a good night's sleep. The kids had different plans. My sixteen month old, who normally sleeps from 7:30pm until 7 am is wide awake and wants to play. If I set him down he screams. I've been frustrated, exhausted, and feeling very sorry for myself. This little angel in my lap turned one the day Camille left home. Maybe he asked her to find me through your blog. I wonder if she knew of the perspective she would be sharing with me in my simple, daily trials. I am no longer teary because of my hard day and the long night I may still have ahead of me. I am crying for my blessings. For the little boy on my knee who smells so perfect. For the little girl in my bed who sleeps peacefully. For the husband who is working so hard to support us. For my Savior and Camille who are teaching me so much through you. I am so grateful to you tonight. We may never meet in this life, but I hope in the next I will be able to hug you and your sweet daughter and thank you then.

mckenna said...

P.S. Thought I'd add a touch of humor. This little guy who is keeping me up tonight just walked up to me with a necklace around his neck and a purse over his shoulder. Maybe it's a good thing Daddy isn't home...:)

chanel said...

you have already begun that beatiful living tribute, it has shown here time and again, I can only imagine the personal moments you have with your husband or children or parents that even exemplify that greater.

I miss me some trader joes something aweful!!!! It was no fluke that those flowers were there at that moment for you.

AmyandDax said...

I have never left a comment on your blog...perhaps because I don't know that I could add anything of substance to really help... but there is something about tulips that stuck with me while reading this post.

You probably already know this, but isn't it fascinating that even after tulips have been cut, their stems keep growing as long as they are in water. I don't know of another flower that does that. I too, LOVE having fresh flowers in my home, there's just something about fresh flowers that nurtures the soul...and I've always noticed that with tulips, by the time their blossoms have withered, their stems have grown in length by a couple of inches. It made me think that even though little Camille's life on this earth was cut short...certainly long before her bloom ever faded, she still lives on... and not only is her beauty preserved by your writing, but the beauty of her life -even the tragedy of her death has encouraged growth... your own personal spiritual growth, as well as the personal and spiritual growth of so many of your readers. So keep watering the tulips Steph... as long as you are writing, the beauty that has come of this trial will continue to grow the hearts and nurture the homes of all of your readers. And it is there too, that her memory is preserved... after all, I don't know that I'll ever look at a tulip again and not think of a little baby from across this Valley called Camille. Now I'm off to Trader Joes for my own tulips.

Kathryn said...

anyanddax: Such a beautiful and toughtful post. I had always noticed that the stocks of my tulips continued to grow firm long after the bloom had gone but never gave it any thought. Perhaps it's a way to continue to gain sustainance for their re-blooming.

I live way north of the tundra yet I am always amazed when my "spring flowers" (it's usually close to June here) peek their beautiful heads bravely through the remains of the snow blanket.

At another time of my life, I found Spring to be a depressing time of year for me. I would look all around and see so many things change while the things I prayed to change seemed to stay the same.

At this point, I am again able to celebrate all the glory as I witness trees and flowers seemingly being reborn after a their winter's rest.

I'm with you in forevermore associating the spendor of tulips with a wee lass named Camille.

Bridget said...

Hi Stephanie,
Thank you for your posts. I have just visited your blog for the first time today and started reading from June forward (my friend sent me a link to it). I was also happy to see your link to Britt's blog. We lost our 15 month old Evan just a month ago and the grief is so strong. I've been impressed with how many memories you are able to blog about. I've tried to keep my internal grieving just that: internal and not blog so much about them. After reading some of your posts and Britt's, I now can feel the healing involved in getting the feelings out...if someone doesn't want to read them then that's okay. There are others in cyber space that want to read it. It's in reading the healing stories from others that I gain the strength I need to heal.
Bridget

Jonathan Waite said...

amyanddax,
Thank you for your comment. Stephanie and I both appreciated it and found it touching. We're not flower experts (or at least I'm not), and we didn't know that about tulips. It's a beautiful analogy. Thank you again for the words.

Kass said...

Your insights are amazing Stephanie & you are definitely properly memorializing little Camille with the path you have chosen to take since the accident. You have helped so many people and all while you're suffering immense pain & grief. I felt the same way about Brigg's headstone when it was finally placed at the cemetary. I was disappointed but mostly because of the reasons you stated-there is no object that will properly reflect his life or his spirit.

You have been a huge example to me, Stephanie, as it has taken me a while to be able to openly talk about my experiences losing Brigg. I remember thinking when I first started reading your blog back in July that if you could do this so could I. Thanks for giving me strength to share this part of me after almost 3 years!

So happy for your family with the new little "peanut" on the way! I hope you'll feel better soon & definitely in time for the heavenly Turkey dinner. This new little miracle will definitely help fill those empty arms. I know for me having my little girl after Brigg was a big step in the healing process. It is definitely bittersweet as so many memories were fresh until Bree passed the age Brigg was when he died. Congratulations & we'll be anxiously waiting to hear if it's more pink or something new. . .blue :)