Saturday, April 30, 2011

   We are so appreciative of all the love, prayers, and support over the past few months. It's been such an overwhelming journey. We're expecting to have Paxton home early next week (Monday) if all continues to go well. He's back to birth weight and eating on his own like a champ. We miss his sister so much, but truly believe her story isn't finished yet. 

All tuckered out after eating
The graveside service went well on Thursday and we so appreciated all of those who came to the gathering at the funeral home and/or service. Apparently, it was a pretty big turnout for an infant... but honestly, i'm not surprised. She had quite the legacy for such a short little life! It was a beautiful day with a cool breeze, and the butterflies joined us as our minister focused on the beauty of Heaven. Carys' earthly body was laid to rest in a very peaceful spot, overlooking a little wooded valley. The grave faces the east and when the sun rises, it shines through the trees to her grave. We know that place is for us, not her. I can only imagine the wonders her little eyes are seeing in Heaven!!

After the graveside service, we went back to the hospital to be with Paxton. I'm still amazed at God's presence and peace. We're still heartbroken and missing our daughter, but now that the storm is beginning to calm down, we feel like it's ok to move on. Even so, I don't feel like we're leaving her behind. As I said before, I really don't believe Carys' story is finished yet. We're moving on, but we're taking her with us. She has made such an incredible impact on us and so many others that our lives will be forever changed and every part of our future will be affected by her presence in this world. We will always miss her here, and we will always be amazed by her and what God has given us through her. She truly has been our little miracle and we are so grateful for the opportunity to have her in our lives. God is so good!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feeling blessed and at peace. It was hard leaving after the service but i'm feeling a bit excited now, reflecting on all the times I've heard others say Carys has impacted them. I really believe that even though she's gone home, her story here isn't over. I look forward to seeing what kind of impact our little miracle will continue to have in this world!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rainy Weather

I was amazed when we came home how much everything had grown. After all the rain we've had, everything looked SO green and fresh and new. The sky had dark clouds but the sun was shining past them brightly. I wondered if we'd see a rainbow. When i got home, I walked around my yard for a few minutes, looking at my plants that had grown taller. Some were blooming. I felt refreshed. Rain helped everything grow more beautiful. The rain isn't always comfortable, but our attitude toward it makes a difference. If we look at the rain like it's a miserable inconvenience, all we're going to see is mud and wet hair.

As we were making plans yesterday for Carys' graveside service and burial, Aaron commented that we may want to look at the forecast before we choose a day. Then, we decided that even if it rains, it's ok. Rain seems to have such a different meaning for us. We've been through such a storm. At times we've felt like it was flooding and we may drown, but we've never been left alone. Carys' middle name, Rainn, was chosen largely for the meaning, "abundant blessings from above." What may have looked like a miserable storm from the outside, God allowed us to see as abundant blessings. Our Rainn helped everything grow more beautiful. We've slopped through a lot of mud, but when we embraced the Rainn with open arms, nothing has ever felt better. She helped us grow more than any other experience in life could have. We're closer to each other, and most importantly, closer to our Heavenly Father. Without the Rainn, we would have had no way of being in this place of awe. We are amazed by God's plans, His perfect design, and the beauty we have experienced through Carys' short time in this world.

So, if it rains, it's a good thing, and we will embrace it. The rain brings abundant blessings from above!

"... I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

Monday, April 25, 2011

Carys Rainn Kitchen

Carys Rainn Kitchen, daughter of Aaron Michael and Keri Ann Kitchen of Grayson, lived peacefully for 7 hours and 13 minutes on April 21st, 2011 at King’s Daughters Medical Center, exceeding hopeful expectations.

Carys was diagnosed with Anencephaly, a fatal neural tube defect, at 16 weeks gestation. Though initially devastated by Carys’ diagnosis, her family and friends experienced a glimpse of the closeness and reality of Heaven due to her presence. Though Carys’ time in this world was brief, she impacted the lives of those around her in ways that are nothing short of miraculous; strengthening faith and family relationships.

Carys is survived by her parents and twin brother, Paxton Cole Kitchen and loving grandparents, Michael D. and Pamela J. Kitchen of Grayson and Rev. James and Teri Harris of Argillite. In addition, Carys is survived by great-grandparents, Paul and Virginia Waggoner of Grayson, and Charles E. and Ruth Rose of Raceland, as well as many adoring aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Carys has been welcomed to Heaven by great-grandparents Lewis and Marjorie J. Kitchen of Hitchins, Lester and Imogene Harris of Argillite, and Doris Bentley-Rose of Raceland, along with many other loved ones.

There will be a graveside service for Carys conducted by Rev. Scott Hill at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 at East Carter County Memory Gardens in Grayson. Friends and family are welcome to gather at Malone's Funeral Home at 1:00 p.m. prior to the service. Those who love her and who have been impacted by her life are encouraged to visit to leave messages on her memorial page and share her legacy with others.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Resurrection Day!!

It seems strange to not be in Sunrise Service, but I can assure you, I'm feeling revived and blessed. We have more to look forward to in Heaven today and it feels so close and so real. We're so thankful for all the prayers and support. We may have lost our baby girl from this world, but we haven't lost her; we know exactly where she is! The time we were given to spend with her was so much more than we could have even expected... in length and so much more. She was so perfectly created by God's design, and His presence and peace were so strong while we enjoyed our time with her. Though we miss our daughter, we are so grateful for the impact she has had on those around her, for the presence of her precious brother, and for the work God is doing in our lives through them both. We are so very blessed! 

The last couple of days I've felt sad and down, even though I still had a sense of peace while missing Carys. Last night, Aaron was reading  from the Easter story and was wondering aloud about the significance of Jesus' words to Peter, James, and John in the garden of Gethsemene.

"40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:40-41

How easy it is to fall asleep! Physically, I'm tired and sore from the surgery. Resting in the hospital isn't exactly easy. I KNOW I am more prone to give in to sadness when I'm feeling weak physically. It's a human nature issue. "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." How significant is that to me right now? My spirit wants to rejoice in the miracle we've experienced this week. It can be a challenge to not let my flesh stand in the way.

Thankfully, this prompted a discussion about Thursday's events and how amazing our little miracles are. I've asked Aaron that when I start feeling down and missing Carys, he help me focus on the joy of the miracle that she has been to us. Every time I talk about her or hear someone say how she has impacted their lives, I feel a renewed joy. THAT is what I want to focus on. This is not a sad event. She's not sitting around waiting in Heaven, missing her mommy. To her, there is no such thing as time. She's in the arms of the Father and she's not in any hurry. I may miss her, but I can choose to focus on the joy! My baby girl is safe and has never known anything other than overwhelming Love. What more could a mom ask for?!

So, this morning, my flesh may be weak, but my spirit is rejoicing. We have so much more today to look forward to in Heaven! Praise God, Christ arose!!!!!

** Please visit Carys' Memorial Page and let us know if she has had an impact on your life in some way!! **