A day by day and often hourly account of a temp

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Beautiful Little Lula

One of my dear friend's daughter, Lula, passed away last week, after a very challenging 18 months of life. She had many health problems since she was born, and everyone who ever met her was enraptured by her. She had the most beautiful green eyes, along with the longest eyelashes I've ever seen. Lula is survived by a twin brother, who is also extraordinary. I know someday soon he will learn about her beautiful presence. She was as stubborn as her mom, and just as charming. As my friend put it in the memorial service, "In the end the greatest gesture of love that we could return to her enchanting spirit was to release it from the beautiful but broken vessel that was her body."

I am thinking a lot about my friend and her daughter for many reasons. But one of the extraordinary things that I can't stop thinking about is the amount of heart-exploding love one can feel for a human being. And it's not just the love for this amazing little girl; it's also the love one can feel for life-long friends. It's rare that you can get everyone you've ever known in a room together and know that it's ok to cry. Cry, and laugh, about everything and anything. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life. Below is a beautiful video a friend of ours made for the memorial service. The song, "Lula", is written and performed by a band they've never met. Months ago, someone forwarded my friend the link to the song, and when she passed, Lula's mom and dad contacted the band and they sent them the MP3. I hope they can meet the writers of this someday.

So here's to love, and friends. I also put in the story Lula's mom wrote that was read at the service.

"The twins were due on my birthday, June 21st, the summer solstice. Throughout the pregnancy Sam and I resisted finding out the genders, but I knew I desperately wanted a girl. We had weekly sonograms in the third trimester and each time I reminded the technician; don’t tell us the genders. One day she let it slip: baby B was a girl. My heart was full.

They were born on June 11, 2010, the day after our fourth wedding anniversary. Roan Douglas Walker Murray at 11:37am, Lula Neave Walker Murray two minutes later. Roan and Neave are both islands off the north coast of Scotland, an inspired place that we both love. Lula was my maternal great grandmother and as I learned later, my paternal great grandmother as well. Roan burst out with a scream, but Lula was silent.

We never had a moment when we believed that Lula was healthy. From the first day an avalanche of mystery symptoms and deficiencies were piled on us by specialists; global developmental delay, hypotonia, poor eating reflexes, weak vocal chords, failure to thrive. But in her own complicated way she was utter perfection. She was sea green eyes and the softest skin imaginable.

Despite her catastrophically uncooperative body, Lula’s spirit emanated. She found a way to connect with all of us without any of the conventions of communication that we all take for granted. She couldn’t smile, cry, laugh, she couldn’t even hold her head up. But she was a brilliant little girl; she insisted on being held nearly 24 hours a day for her entire life. When you held her you couldn’t help but feel her very essence pouring through her skin. She oozed love through her pores to anyone lucky enough to hold her.

In eighteen months Lula was able to teach us everything that eluded us during a lifetime of conventional living. There is only one thing that means anything in this universe and that is love. There is no cause, job, accomplishment, or goal greater than to love and to be loved, to care for the people closest to you. Her needs and complexities stripped us of all the artifice of a life without meaning. She struggled to survive for eighteen months, through endless deficiencies, illnesses, procedures, tests, and hospital stays until she knew that we understood what she wanted us to know.

In the end the greatest gesture of love that we could return to her enchanting spirit was to release it from the beautiful but broken vessel that was her body. Lula died on December 4th, my grandmothers birthday. We were able to hold her, bathe her, kiss her, and rock her without the tubes, wires, machines, or needles. Losing Lula is a pain of withdrawal that has reset our heartbeats, that is only survivable because we have been engulfed in overwhelming love from friends and family. She has gifted her twin brother Roan with an ethereal sidekick who will be with him always. She has given us an indelible legacy. In the blink of an eye she has managed to reinvent us all."

To donate in the memory of Lula Neave Walker Murray, please go here: http://www.extremekidsandcrew.org/xkids_site/Donate.html


At 8:16 AM, Anonymous S. said...

As I sit at my desk reading your blog, I realized I was crying. I'm so sorry for your friend's loss. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. Lula and her family will be my prayers tonight as I hold my infant son a little tighter.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Tempy said...

It's a pain few people can know. It's also a love few people will ever know.


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