Four years ago (next month), our lives were turned upside down and changed forever. I, personally, felt lost...as most would upon losing the most precious thing in your life. There was no one in our hometown that we knew of that had experienced the loss of an infant to SIDS. I'm not one to reach out to others, but even if I had wanted/needed to...there was no one. I began searching online...grasping for any source of hope and familiarity that I could find. It helped to read the stories of others; to read about their journey and see how far God had brought them; to see that there was hope and light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.
One of the first blogs I stumbled upon was To Bring Him Glory. This blog is written by Cari, wife to The Captain and mother to three beautiful children. Her daughter, Caden, is with Jesus....and I'm certain a great friend of Ayden's. :) Cari and I connected quickly. I left a comment on one of her posts and from there, a correspondence began, and we soon started chatting on the phone every now and then. It was so nice to find someone who understood. Someone I could connect to. Another mother missing her baby. As time passed, we continued to keep in touch. We shared the joys of our children - she has had 2 boys since having Caden. We've also shared struggles....her husband's battle with cancer and the loss of my dad. She continues to be a source of encouragement, light, and hope. On days when I am just low...and not willing to open my eyes and see the goodness all around me, reading her posts just lift me up and remind of how good our God is - even when we aren't willing to see it.
For 4 years, she and I have said, "Someday, when we meet....." For my birthday, I decided I wanted to make that "someday" happen, so I asked for a plane ticket to Indianapolis. We set a date and planned a trip. I took Charlotte with me (because she and I are pretty much attached at the hip), and on we went to Indiana. Charlotte did remarkably well on the flights! She slept on one, and on our flight to Indiana from Charlotte, we actually got a row all to ourselves! She got to sit like a big girl and LOVED it!
We got to Indianapolis on Friday, the 5th and spent the weekend with Cari and her family. It was surreal to actually be there, face-to-face with one of my dearest friends whom I had never officially met! It was one of those moments when you just pick up and go with it....don't skip a beat....it's like you just saw each other the week before. That's when you know a friendship is meant to be. It was a weekend of just hanging out....eating leftovers (which Cari continued to apologize for, but I loved it because I was there to just be there with her....I had not a care in the world about what we ate!)...watching movies...playing with the kids...shopping and a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. I got to visit Cari's church, which was very much like ours here at home. I saw several parts of Indianapolis, which is a HUGE city. Wow!! I'm used to our little population of around 125,000....and they're looking at a million in population! I also got to meet some of Cari's friends - I tried to mind my southern accent around them so I didn't sound like too much of a hick. haha Cari got to hear some of it come out, though. ;)
Having a friend like Cari is such a blessing, and I'm so incredibly thankful we could make this trip happen. It almost didn't because my grandma had just been hospitalized and things were not looking good. However, she continued to improve....and I had changed my flight abruptly because we were certain she would not make it through the weekend. But, as she has so many times before, she toughed it out and improved! So, I had to change my flight back, which took several phone calls....a lot of pleading...and Jeremy finally telling a U.S. Airways manager/supervisor our entire story to get them to change the flight back without charging me again. (I know...I'm a lucky lady) THEN...July 4th evening...our dog went missing. She got spooked by the fireworks and ran through the invisible fence. So, off I went to Indiana worried about our dog. I was determined, though, that I was going on this trip! We had waited far too long to meet and actually make this a reality! God was looking out for us and allowed us to have a wonderful visit! And....our dog is home safe and sound. :)
Here are some pictures from our visit. I hope we meet up again very soon! God places people in our lives for specific purposes, and I'm so very glad he brought me and Cari together. <3 p="">
Here are some photos from the trip. I didn't take nearly enough. We were having too much fun!
Charlotte charmed everyone on the plane. There and back, she did amazing! So proud of my little jet-setter!
Enjoying some yummy food! Charlotte ate bananas for the first time and LOVED them.
The boys were in love with Ms. Charlotte. Having a big brother, she ran with it and made herself right at home.
A beautiful person inside and out. So blessed to call her my friend! Love you, Cari!