Ode to Georgia Leigh...Written by your Grandfather, Gary Hartman, Ed.D
Clear and warm and spectacular was that mountain morning as your Grandma Hartman and I sat on the deck of our Cabin in Lake Almanor California. A picture perfect morning.
Then my cell phone rang. Little did I know that in the next 10 seconds my entire world would stand still. Everything would change. I will never be the same again…the words from your daddy’s tear-filled voice on my phone are forever locked in my soul…”Dad, It’s your son Galen…I have bad news”…and then through the tears…he pushed out the saddest news my heart has ever heard…”We lost our baby!”
“Noooo – Oh Galen no, no, no…” My world collapsed.
Then I saw the fear rise in your Grandma’s eyes as I repeated those fateful and terrible words…”They lost the baby.” Your Grandmother’s face went white…her body convulsed with uncontrollable grief and fear and panic – “Oh God no no, no, no she sobbed – then her hands covered her face…and she could not speak.”
Your heartbroken Daddy told me next that your little heart had stopped beating and that your Mama was going to deliver you stillborn..she was entering the hospital that afternoon.
Immediately I knew what I must do…It was without conscious thought…it was like breathing… what happened next…In a voice that was clear and calm and a heart that was void of fear I heard my spirit speak this brief prayer.
Dear Lord…We release little Georgia Leigh to you…Please welcome her into your kingdom…and bring to Galen and Kellie your peace that passes all understanding. Amen
Days and nights of anguish would follow but for now we needed to be with your Mama and Daddy and big sister Grace…We were 3 ½ hours from our home in Lincoln…we immediately packed our stuff and drove in shocked silence to find and be with the family we love.
Today, March 28, 2007 I join with other family members to honor and celebrate the impact of your short, powerful, important life…Let me tell you how your having been conceived has changed me. When your Grandma and I learned of your existence in your Mama’s womb we were ecstatic! When we learned weeks later that you were a little girl we literally exploded with joy! Among other things, your Grandma and I found a picture of the “just right” way we would decorate a bedroom for when you and Gracie would come to our house to “stay the night” with us! Such delightful plans and dreams we spoke of…and our hearts could not quit singing. Another Little Girl! How wonderful is that?!
How could we love you so much when we had never seen you or held you or touched you…I don’t know the answer…I just know it was true then and remains ever more true even now. I think it has to do with love's best friend - …hope…anticipation…expectation! It’s what we adults talk about when a baby is to be joining the family…we say when the Mama is expecting…and Joy explodes!
But…God’s ways are not our ways and God’s thought are not our thoughts.
I was expecting joy unspeakable and full of Glory…I was expecting those man-made dreams to unfold one sweet day at a time…but you and God had another idea.
When your precious heart stopped inside your Mama’s womb you gave a mighty kick or two and then just like that you went from death into eternal life…you left the frail stillborn body we will bury today and went straight to the arms of Jesus. Lucky Savior is He to hold you now…blessed baby are you Georgia Leigh Harrington Hartman to be held by the King of all ages. I can only imagine…
“Now we see through a glass darkly, but then shall we see face to face.” We, your earthbound family…we can only imagine…but you dear sweet baby, you have joined with the saints and angels in His presence.
Yesterday, as has happened every day since you left us, I awoke an hour before the alarm went off…In the stillness I lay there thinking about you and praying for your Mama and Daddy and your sister Grace and all the grandparents and aunts and uncles and family members who are so sad…so missing your physical presence…you see we are all still expecting…all of us are longing for more than we were given – Then, it came to me. A thought. An idea. A gift…Is this your gift dear Georgia Leigh?
By coming to your Mother’s and Father’s hands as a stillborn child…you taught us so much…are teaching us still…are teaching us about Being Still…
I told you earlier in this letter that your coming has changed me forever…and so it has.
Georgia Leigh, from this day forward I vow to speak less …to listen more... To hear others more clearly…to seek truth…to honor relationships…to will the highest good to all those I love, seeking no personal gain in return…too read more good books…and study the holy scriptures for guidance – for it is there that your truth dear child has been recorded… "Be still – and know that I am God.”
And one more thing sweet child …I promise to write reflection stories from time to time about important things that I am learning so long as I am given the breath of life.
I miss you every day Georgia Leigh, but I carry with me that blessed hope that someday I will hold you in my arms…you are worth the wait…until then…my heart must go on singing…until then…with hope I’ll carry on.
Until that day where there is no sunset…until then, like a soft morning breeze, you are and will remain my granddaughter Georgia Leigh…and you will forever be cradled in my heart and gentle on my mind.
All my Love,