Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Sweet Angel, Jean

On July 29, 2011 I was in the Dominican Republic for a week long performing arts mission trip. Around noon, I received a phone call from a fellow missionary and good friend at Danita's Children. Karris had to tell me that my sweet little Jean had passed away after battling aspirating pneumonia for the last time. My heart sank and I just started sobbing. I immediately questioned why this happened and more of why it happened without me. I had been Jean's mother for the past year and a half, and I had been there through it all. After grieving for the past month over this little one, I have accepted that it was all part of God's perfect plan and am now at peace knowing that little Jean is whole, healthy, and in the arms of our great Savior. I wanted to share my love for Jean with my friends and family, and I know that I can only do this through the words I would share with him. My hope and prayer is that you would understand love a little better after reading this...

Dear Sweet Jean,

It has been one month since you went home to be with Jesus! I bet you love it. I can only imagine what you are doing...running in circles, dancing, singing, and so much more. Baby boy, I miss you incredibly. I think about you all the time, and am constantly reminded of the memories we shared with one another. I might have only known you for a year and a half, but we sure did pack a lot in that time...preschool, finger painting, playing instruments, popsicles, new food, therapy, etc. My favorite time was when I got to just hold you on my bed and rock you back and forth in the evening hours. I would kiss those cute cheeks and head of yours over and over again. I am so glad that I had these times with you.

Jean, you simply changed my life. You showed me true and genuine love. You shared the love of Christ with me every day. The love that is instant, the love that doesn't judge, the love that captures a heart for eternity. On February 26, 2010, you were the key that opened my heart. You opened my heart so that I could see my life purpose. Now I walk through this life knowing and believing that I am on the lit path, and that is amazing. Can you believe that, little man? You were the ONE that God used to solidify my calling.

I have learned that God's timing is perfect, and this was made so clear to me when I met you. I thought I was to move to the mission field six months before I did, but God knew He was going to place you at the orphanage which is why He had me wait. He knew you would need someone to look after you, take care of you, and love everything about you. God placed that love for you in my heart before I even knew you, and for that I am grateful. When I arrived to Danita's Children, I knew exactly what I was to do. Initially, I didn't know how I would do it, but as the days went by, I realized I was doing it with God's loving hand and grace. Every morning I prayed that He would be my hands and feet as I worked with you and the other special needs children. Jean, the Lord never let me down...He was always present, always there, and always guiding each step!

I could write a whole book on our time together, but instead I will be quick and just share a few of them...

- I loved how you let me dress you so cute every day. I don't know what you really liked or didn't like, but I always thought your favorite color had to be blue. You looked so great in it!

- You never did like getting your teeth brushed or taking a bath, but the lotion and powder afterward you seemed to like.

- I loved how you always slept during preschool hours and always woke up when the others had nap time. I think you knew this was the only way you could get out with me. You got to attend more visitor lunches and missionary meals than anyone else!

- I remember the day I first heard you cry...you rolled off a little mat at the mission house.

- I remember the day I fed you macaroni and cheese baby food...it was definitely your favorite.

- I remember the day you smiled, and the day you laughed.

- I remember all those haircuts you hated, but boy did they make you handsome.

- I remember the day you made your "mmmm..." noise. It was simply adorable. We even called Mami Amy so she could hear you.

- I loved our first Thanksgiving together. Mami Amy and Papi Jake came to visit.

- I remember the night I brought Peterson home, and you took on the role of big brother. Do you remember how fragile he was? I would sit the two of you next to each other on my bed so you could help him get better. I knew the contact would help him. Thank you for being part of his healing process, Jean.

- I remember those nights that we didn't sleep because you were so sick. I would just hold you, pray over your little body, and kiss your head.

- I remember the day we rushed to the hospital in Santiago because you had aspirating pneumonia again.

- I remember the night where I pleaded for your life because the doctor prescribed too much medicine.

- I remember the nights I had to leave you in ICU and I would just cry until I saw you again in the morning.

- I remember the days I would come back from being in the states, and I would literally run to see you. I would pick you up and not put you down for hours!

There are so many times I remember, sweet boy. You were simply the best child a mother could ever ask for. You really were my son, Jean. I hope you felt that every moment I was with you. Thank you for letting me be your "Mami." It was a dream come true, and I will never forget you. I don't know why God took you home a month ago, and I do not understand why I wasn't with you in those final moments but it is not my place to question the Lord and His perfect timing.

It has been hard for me to see my future without you, but I will continue to make the invisible, VISIBLE. I stepped into that offering plate, Jean and the Lord took me to the "least of these." He took me to you, He took me to Peterson, and He is going to take me to so many more. You were the first, sweet Jean but you will not be the last. I will not stop now. Please know that I will continue this work and this mission. I will do it with my passion for Jesus, my love for special needs children, and in memory of you. I miss you, sweet Jean but I will see you in Heaven one day. I look forward to that moment where our eyes meet again, but for now remain in my heart and be that sweet angel you have always been. I love you!

Mami Heather