Saturday, December 13, 2008

forgiveness and grief

I am attempting to write this as I play Wii bowling with my family. Bryan, Emily and I are playing and Alie is on the floor watching. Bryan is a competitive soul…he is hard to play with. Anyhow, today Emily played her first real game of bowling and LOVED it! It was so fun to watch her and her little friends see just how many pins they could knock down. And if they got them all? Pure bliss. So now we are bowling at home, and I am having a great time with this.

We are having a fun-filled day. First, a birthday party at the bowling ally. Then, off to Shannon and Brian’s home for a Christmas party for the kids. Finally, we headed home for some more quality time together. Bryan will be deploying soon. We are doing our best to enjoy the time we have. Emily’s favorite part of today was bowling with Alex and Santa at Shannon’s (according to her she gets 2 favorites).

I know I have not updated since Tuesday. I am sorry for that. This week has been hard, similar to the weeks of anniversarys and birthdays. We decorated the Christmas tree. It is so hard to put all the ornaments on for Natalie. I would never leave them off, but I cried with the placement of each one. Last Saturday, I worked at a craft fair. One of the booths was an ornament booth. And they had a ladybug ornament. I got one. How could I not? I had Natalie’s name written on it. I think that we will look for a special ornament each year for her for our tree.
Tuesday in court went well. I spoke in court, requesting that she not serve any jail time. I told the judge of how we have forgiven Sue for what happened. The judge heard our request, acknowledged that we hold no animocity and therefore the court won’t either, and suspended a 12-month sentence. We are pleased. We are glad this part of the healing process is done. But as we left court, I grieved for the child that I spoke for. I missed her a bit more during that moment.

A reporter from the local NBC station, WAVY 10, was in court covering the story. He approached me after court with a request for an interview. I immediately responded stating that I would only do it if it was about water safety. Andy looked at me, told me no and explained that he wanted to do a story on forgiveness. He promised that it would be a good piece, true to our story and that others needed to hear it. Sue and I talked, agreed to do it and met him about 2 hours after court let out to do the interview. There were 2 segments shown that night, both showed mercy, forgiveness, and love. Andy gave us what he promised. If you would like to see the first one, go to and search my name, Hillary West. You will find the story. Click on the video tab above Natalie’s picture and press play.

I have grieved so much this week. I have spent a lot of moments crying. I have spent so many moments wishing things were different. It is the same story that I have lived for the last 13 months and 14 days. It is the same story that I will live for a long time to come. This week, I contacted the woman who plans the Compassionate Friends meetings in our area. I think I am ready to work through this more. I have heard that they help, these meetings. I am going to see where this leads.

I have another request, dear friends. Tomorrow (Sunday, December 14th) is Worldwide Candle Lighting to remember children who have died at any age from any cause. It is at 7pm your local time. Simply light a candle in honor of the sweet children that are gathered at Jesus’ feet. There will then be a wave of light that circles the globe in honor of our babies. We will be lighting many candles here, remembering our sweet Natalie. I hope you will join us. Please light a candle in honor of Natalie. If you take a picture of your candle, I would love to see it.

Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
Lamentations 3:32

Good night all.
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie, and Allison

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I watched the two stories from WAVY and I'm touched. I liked seeing you "live" and talking, and learning more about you. The reporter wasn't so bad, but the whole TV news thing annoyed me. I used to be in TV news, and stories like that are one of the reasons I can't stand it anymore. They gloss over people's pain sometimes, and don't give enough depth to the human-ness of the story. Does that make sense?

Enough of my rant. I'm glad you have such a deep and loving heart, and were able to not only forgive but also love your friend. I'm sure you and Sue have thought a million "if onlys." I so wish you didn't have to.

Thanks for sharing this with me.