Samantha’s fifth (!) birthday is coming up next month. How has it been that long? I think we’re doing pretty well with the healing process. Sometimes I wonder if it’s more that I just don’t think about it, or push it down. But then again, it’s part of who I am, part of my whole story.

Last week I read through a few old blog posts, and started crying. But they were good tears. Not the I-will-never-stop-crying overflow of the first year, not the I-feel-guilty-for-not-crying-enough tears that can come so easily. These were tears born from the pain that set in when I first wrote the posts, tears that returned to my eyes as I felt all over again the grief of that moment, coupled with the knowledge of what finally happened in her short life.

My worst fears were realized. But God, in His abundant mercy, allowed the progression of events to unfold in a way that brought peace to my heart. I had time to accept each new development, to adjust to a future that looked different than the one I had anticipated. And then, finally, I could let go of my daughter and leave her in the arms of Jesus.

I still want to write a book, bringing together all of our experiences of that time. Now that Lent has started again, I feel it tugging on me even more. Samantha was born the day after Ash Wednesday. She got sick during Holy Week. We baptized her on Maundy Thursday, and we celebrated it in church on Pentecost. So much of her tiny little life is tied into the rhythm of the church year, and I want what I write to reflect that, pointing to Jesus through all of it.

While the dates on the calendar remind me of Samantha’s life (March 10 – July 10), even more so the seasons of the church year remind me of her, and of the effect she has had on my faith in Jesus. Through this tiny little girl, who stayed with us only a short while, God taught me to trust in Him completely. That gift is the miracle of her life.