hug some-bunny

Like most kids growing up, I loved visiting my uncles and aunts. Not really to hang out with the adults, but to play with my cousins.

There was this one cousin who was not my age, but I really liked her. I think I was about 10 or 11 at the time and Laura Ann was 2 or 3. So it’s not like we played at my level. We didn’t climb trees or ride bikes. Whenever we visited, Laura Ann and I had endless tea parties and played make-believe with stuffed animals (All with names of course. It was very important to get the names right). wow, that child had a LOT of stuffed animals and toys. It never really occurred to me to ask why she had all this stuff. I guess I just figured they had more money than we did.

Laura Ann was a very sunny child. Cheerful and sweet, gentle and so much fun to play with.

My parents lived about 3 hours away from her parents so we didn’t see them all the time, but I do remember loving it whenever we got to visit. The house was one of those big, old 1920’s era stone structures on a quiet street in the suburbs of Birmingham. I adored the high ceilings and hardwood floors.

When I was about 12 or 13 I remember being really mad at my mom and dad because they were preparing for a trip to Birmingham to see Laura Ann’s family and they wouldn’t take me and my little brother along. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t come too.

Finally, to shut me up I think, my mom told me that Laura Ann was sick. Really sick. Something called leukemia. That’s why they couldn’t take me with them.

“Was it catching? is that why I can’t go?”

“No honey, it’s just that we are gonna be spending our time taking care of your Uncle and Aunt and we need to be available to help them.”

So Steve & I stayed at a family friend’s house and had a grand time in their HUGE rec-room all weekend while my mother and daddy went off to sing at Laura Ann’s funeral. I don’t remember knowing anything about Laura Ann dying until my mother got home and handed me one of Laura Ann’s stuffed toys.

Later I found out that just before her final hospital stay this tiny little, cheerful 4 year-old had gone around her playroom pointing to her toys and naming off names of friends and relatives. Her poor confused daddy followed her around the room and his breaking heart thought that Laura Ann was confused about the names of her toys. But gradually it dawned on him that she still knew the names of each toy, she was telling him WHO she wanted to give each toy TO.

Laura Ann had been told that she was going to the hospital again and that this time she might be coming home or she might go to see Jesus. And she understood. She wanted her toys to be taken care of so she made the child’s equivalent of a will the only way she knew how: She took her daddy round and round her play room naming off the final destination of each toy till he got it right.

As a child I marveled at her unselfishness. As an adult my heart just breaks for her daddy. What must it have cost him to memorize that list?

Laura Ann has, almost my whole life, remained the perfect example of childlike faith and trust in God. And acceptance of HIS goodness.

God please help me be like her.

I got a bunny by the way. It’s named Laura Ann. I hope she didn’t mind my changing the name.

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2 thoughts on “hug some-bunny

  1. I love this post. It brings tears to my eyes.

    It came to me in the middle of the night. I was almost afraid to go to back to sleep for fear the memory would slip away. Don’t know what made me remember it, but I knew I needed to write it down.

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  2. Actually, I did cry as well on this post. You got most of it right Deirdre. You were a bit younger, only seven, almost 8. Had you been older I would certainly have taken you for that visit.

    One of the hardest things I have done in my life was to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to my dear brother Ralph as he grieved this loss. “Jesus loves me,He who died; Heaven’s gates to open wide….let his little one come in.” That was the tough verse. It was even harder for him because wife number 1 and 2 had taken dear children whom he loved with all his heart from him in these divorces. Laura Ann was the lst child whom he was priviledged to love full time; and probably the first real heartbreak of his life. He had a heart so full and capable of loving and Laura Ann responded to that. Never have I seen a person so dedicated to someone he loved as he and his wife, Linda, during the two years they cared for Laura Ann, hoping and praying that healing would come. Cobwebs and dust filled their home as they spent full time at the hospital with her.

    They went on to have two more children who are grown now.

    The second hardest thing I have had to do was to sing Amazing Grace at this brother’s funeral two Christmases ago. I lost my first sibling, and indeed he was more than sibling, I was his surrogate Mother.

    I have buried dear, dear people over the years–my dear Mother, my father, my little niece Laura Ann, and then my precious brother, Ralph most recently.

    And yes, Deirdre, you have made me cry! Especially since I am facing the terminal illness of my best friend, my oldest brother, and frailty of all my other brothers, sister and brother in law. Getting old and watching people die is hell!

    But, through it all, past and present and anticipated future, I know that my God is sufficient for all my needs and he will supply strength even before I need it. I am his child and we have been walking together for many years. The walk is a bit slower now because of my hip, but this just means that God is holding a little bit stronger than I.

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