Dear to My Heart

I met Shonda Clements earlier this year. This was the Facebook message she sent me.

“I finished reading your book today. It’s the first thing I’ve been able to focus on since early February when we received a diagnosis that threatened our daughter’s life. I’ve documented a lot of our journey on a blog (judahandselah.com)—in short they were born at 27 weeks, my daughter growth restricted, weighing just 1lb 5oz at birth, my son 2lb 4oz. Currently they are in two different NICUs 30 minutes apart from each other and an additional 30-45 min away from my three year old daughter. Selah, my daughter is 2 weeks post op, surviving NEC. My son, Judah is 2 days post extubation. (one of five). I read your story with mixed emotions…Gratitude for the comfort of knowing someone else understood my fears. Anxiety over what I know we still have to face, but most of all…hope. Lots of tears fell for you, Lee, Tucker and Andie—and lots for me and my children as well as I embrace feeling terrified wandering down the path you’ve already faced. I just want to thank you for the days of your lives you poured into this book—for the sacrifices I am sure you made. It made a difference in my life, I can assure you. I have been told by a friend to look into Reiki and had put it on the back burner but now have a renewed interest in seeking more alternative healing therapies for my family. I hope your book brings you lots of success and peace. It has encouraged me to keep hoping, to stay positive and to be present. I believe Ariel leading me to your book was not an accident. Tell Andie she is an inspiration. Thank you, Shonda.”

I’ve followed their story ever since, falling more and more in love with that family and the Momma whose fierce love knows no bounds.

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Judah ended up back in the hospital in December.

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“Judah will be undergoing a tracheostomy this afternoon. Although we do believe it will be temporary (months-year) it is still very unknown. This surgery will render him mute. He will not coo, laugh or cry. It will hinder his ability to smell and taste- there are a lot of things that it will make difficult for him however, it will help inflate his little lungs so he can breathe. Please pray for us.”

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“My dearest Trinity, This year I’ve not only watched you grow (and boy, did you ever grow!) I watched you transform from a toddler with perpetually sticky hands and a love for sippy cups and crackers to a brave little lady. My heart found new depths of love as I witnessed you unconditionally love and care for your baby brother and sister. Not a shred of jealousy have you displayed while our lives are turned upside down. Instead you blossomed into a child full of empathy and grace. You are so intelligent, your imagination never ceases to amaze me. I’m beyond blessed to be your mama. You teach me far more than I could ever teach you. Trinity, my first born, you are nothing short of a miracle. I can not wait to see you rise above the mountain of potential you hold. Happy Birthday, baby girl. May your fourth year of life be full of happiness and wonder. I love you always.”
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 “Leaving this year a hell of a lot stronger than I started it.” Shonda Clements.
You are my hero, Shonda Clements.

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