You're getting a two-fer today, though I wish it didn't have to be. I hate to spoil the joyous mood set in the other post. But just as there is black with white and dark with light, sometimes the storm clouds gather and rain on the parade.
The Playfriends have been listening to me talk about this for about a week now. Last Thursday an online friend from Michelle Buonfiglio's Romance by the Blog took her daughters to the beach near their home in Williamsburg. Five-year-old Hannah was caught in a riptide and drowned. Her memorial service was Monday afternoon at 2:00 PM Central time and if we celebrated Hannah's homegoing in any way, her mom Rachael had asked us all to blog about what we did.
Up front let me just say that any of you who own stock in Kleenex should see a sizeable increase in your dividends this quarter because I've cried since I heard about Hannah. I'd never visited Rachael's blog before but I've poured over this testament to a mother's love for her children and her sincerest efforts to keep her daughter's memory alive.
Hannah loved to dress up. She loved to explore the great big world she lived in. And at age five she'd already discovered the power of the diva inside all of us. So it was only natural that her mom would ask those who attended her memorial service to dress in their "Fancy Hannah" clothes and come attired in boas, sequins, tiaras and fairy wings.
But what about those of us who could only be there in spirit? I pulled a tiara from atop my bookcase to wear at two o'clock. I wasn't sure what else to do. I don't have many sequins; I have no boas or fairy wings. But when I went outside Monday morning to check my gardens, I discovered a beautiful red rose blooming as well as a single lily in my lily bed. Lilies were Hannah's favorite flower. I snipped the lily and the rose, added a few sprigs of purple fan flowers and some rosemary from the herb garden and then discovered that the recent rains have revived my gerbera daisies I added two of them to the bunch.
Instead of focusing on the bermuda grass that's hell-bent on taking over my flower beds, I focused on the flowers. I looked for the beauty and saw it in abundance. And as I was doing that, I noticed my birdbath just full of bathing beauties.
At two o'clock, I put on my tiara, looked at my bouquet and said a prayer that God would wrap this family in His loving arms and help them travel through this sorrowful time in their lives. I pray their love and faith will keep them strong. Rachael is all about motherhood. I pray she finds solace in the memories of Hannah and continued joy in the life of her other daughter Lily. Rachael has a tremendous online network of people supporting her and whether her husband knows it or not, we're supporting him as well.
I've never met Rachael or her family, but she's as dear a friend as if she lived next door. And her loss is as tragic as if it were a member of my own family. And in a way it is. Online "friendships" are often the butt of jokes or the subject of much doubt, but in the face of this tragedy, I've seen a remarkably strong and mighty sisterhood swoop down and look after one of their own.