There are three chunks of time out of the year that we grieve a little heavier – the month of October (when Mazie went to be with Jesus), the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year and April (Mazie’s birthday month). On April 30 of this year, Mazie turned 4 in Heaven. THAT HITS HARD. It has more than doubled the amount of time that has passed since we last saw her, heard her voice, smelled her hair, felt her velvety skin, held her in our arms and lap, nursed her, took her on our daily walks, watched a T.O.T.S. episode with her, went to her brothers’ baseball games together, sang Jesus Loves Me to her and so much more.
Latson's baseball game - Summer 2020
By now, she would have changed significantly. It’s not fair how much we miss out on – every milestone and so much life to grieve. I see so many parents this time of year grieving their teenager graduating high school soon and them leaving. We’ll never get to see Mazie walk across a stage, get her diploma, go to college, get married or have babies of her own. THAT REALLY HURTS.
Each day, especially around her birthday, we wonder what Mazie would look like, sound like or be into now. Would she have started baseball with her brothers and daddy coaching her t-ball team? We think about that when we’re at the ballpark several nights a week and see little ones there her age. Would she be a dancer, gymnast or soccer player? We long to know those details yet have some peace that she gets to do it all in Heaven!
When I first saw the above image online, it made me instantly think of Mazie and the picture of her below.
Mazie Leah - June 2020
This April, we also celebrated Mazie’s little sister’s (Gabrielle) first birthday. It falls 2 weeks before Mazie’s on the 12th. The whole month our emotions were all over the place. We felt (as we often do) gratitude + grief and joy + sorrow simultaneously. We kept both occasions super low key so that we could honor those emotions and focus on our time together as an immediate family, what means more than ever.
I love this verse and how God has transformed our mourning - pain into peace and purpose.
"There is a place where gratitude and sorrow merge, and I touch the heart of God."
- author unknown
For Gabby’s birthday, only a few family members came in town to be with us and a couple close friends. We contemplated inviting more but it was last minute and we just didn’t want to be overwhelmed by a big get-together. We felt Mazie’s presence all day.
Leading up to Mazie’s birthday, our hearts became heavier really missing her and all the things “that should be”. Less people reach out each year and acknowledge her birthday. It stings A LOT because all we (any bereaved parent) wants is their child to be remembered. It warms our hearts forever the ones that do and it makes our intentional moments to honor her together as a family that much more meaningful.
There are two extremely special highlights I have to share. Adam’s brother and sister-in-law reached out and expressed that they wanted to honor Mazie again (the 3rd year in a row) at their restaurant on her birthday weekend. Proceeds from the sales are going to Mazie’s Mission and we are so thankful to our friends who went to eat there from Friday – Saturday for ‘Mudbugs for Mazie’!
We were also sent the sweetest gifts and books from Adam's aunt. Thank you to all who remembered our sweet Mazie!
The Saturday before her birthday we went to a cake bingo fundraiser put on by the local Kiwaniis club. A good friend of mine, and now a new one, are both in the club and invited me to speak at one of their luncheons a couple weeks prior. As a family, we decided to go to the bingo event and had so much fun! We didn’t have any luck winning while we played but before we left, my friends surprised us with a cake and 4 candles lit, shared about Mazie and we all sang Happy Birthday to her. We were so touched and cried the happiest tears all weekend long!
On Mazie’s actual birthday, we went to the church cemetary, cried together and sang Happy Birthday, then again at home and ate the yummiest cake our friends gave us the day before. It is so hard to celebrate when all we want is her here with us. We wish she could have told us what kind of party and gifts she wanted. Instead we CHOOSE to pour all the love we have for her into honoring her any way we can. Lately, that has been actively through Mazie’s Mission as we get ready to co-host a water safety event next weekend. We hope she would be so proud of us.
We love you Mazie Leah!