North – Days 9 & 10

August 3 & 4

It is no easy task separating myself from the warm clutches of my cozy bed at such an early hour on vacation, but I do. My Mom and I head off to the 8:30 mass at Our Lady of the Snows. It is exactly two months since Nora has been gone, although that hasn’t quite registered with me yet. It is early.

I remember coming to this church on vacations when I was little with my cousins. The same cousins seated a few pews back with families of their own. We’re the adults now; a whole new cast of children.

As the service wraps up the priest invites all August anniversaries and birthdays forward for a special blessing. My tear switch is flipped to the ON position as the congregation, the choir and the pipe organ join together in a cheerful arrangement of Happy Birthday. Happy birthday to the assembly of parishioners in front of the altar and *nod*wink*wink* to my breakable broken heart. Happy Birthday in unlikely places. My Aunt Elaine noticed too!

I am anxious to get back home to tell William about the Happy Birthday, as that would have been PLENTY! BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!

The service concludes and we gather outside into the beautiful day to chat with the aunts, uncles and cousins. As I am edging over to the coffee and doughnuts my Mom and another woman exchange enthusiastic hellos with one another. She introduces me to Mimi.

Rewind back to our 9th day in the hospital with Nora at the end of May. I wrote about the woman my Mom had met while she was up in Michigan then, and we were back home 560 miles away. The woman whose daughter had been THERE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM working on Nora in those intensely critical minutes, hours–this is the mother of that nurse!!! I am beside myself to actually meet her! BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!

As I express my gratitude to Mimi for her amazing daughter, she points to a young lady with beautiful curly blonde hair talking with another group of people, “She’s here!”

This is Katie.


This is Katie who helped to save Nora’s precious life that day! She helped to give us an extra 15 days with Nora! How in the world do you even thank someone for that?!?!?! How in the world are we meeting up hundreds of miles from home in this remote little part of the world? {I ask as if I don’t know… } WOW. Just tears!

In the afternoon I watch the kids play in the sand from the dock. We all notice a couple of little white butterflies. They flutter around us, especially the kids. My little niece Keira matter-of-factly informs the others, “Nornor and Max are playing dress-up. Today they’re butterflies!”

You can see either “Nornor” or “Max” just above the orange bucket ~


And because you are wondering who Max is, he is my little nephew who lives in heaven; Grace, Keira and Parker’s brother. Max was born sleeping at 19 weeks gestation back in January of 2009. The doctors had been unable to find his heartbeat on a routine OB visit. This was obviously a very sad time. Max’s memory lives on and we will never forget his short but precious little life either. Back in June it was decided to have Max’s ashes buried with Nora in a pretty satchel that she held in her chubby dimpled hand. Sweet little cousins, playmates in heaven, dressed up as butterflies for the day. Such a sweet thought! 🙂

I glance up at the subtle cross in the sky ~


And the bold heart-shaped stump in the yard ~


“Dats me above my name! I just stop by to say hello! I love you!”


We wish the sun a good night and sweet dreams!


It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
(‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22‬:‭33-35‬ NIV)


On Monday William and I are again drawn back to “Narnia”. The bold cross in the sky, “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭20‬ NIV)


The 3G Network is with us (Gavin, Greta and Gracie), and our Kellkell.


Another freighter passes by in the distance ~













We take trips on the jet ski back and forth to Uncle Dan’s boat waiting just outside the cove. It gets a little dicey trying to maneuver a larger watercraft through and around the big boulders.


Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
(‭Psalm‬ ‭31‬:‭24‬ NIV)


In the afternoon I’m feeling creative. I inscribe Nora’s name on a piece of birch bark and place it by the family photo. Her precious physical presence is so missed.


I also paint their names on big rocks in the yard. Their memory is always right there with us!




Sisters 3


Cousins 3


And one beautiful sunset!


The nights around the campfire are the greatest! The roaring fire competing with the roars of laughter. How wonderfully blessed I am to have some of the funniest people I know as members of my family, by blood and by marriage. Thank you for your gift of laughter!

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
(‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭22‬ NIV)



Uncle Josh teaching Gavin important life lessons — how to make an ice and Coke! Someone (ahem) getting into mischief in the background!


How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
(‭Psalm‬ ‭133‬:‭1‬ NIV)

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