Updated: Aug 26
I have always been a religious person - going to mass on most Sundays, saying prayers before meals/at night before bed, and turning to God for help and guidance whenever life got challenging. Our faith was one of the first things that really brought Charlie and myself together - and coming from very different backgrounds one of the few things our families and our upbringings had in common. Since Rosie was born, we attended mass as a family and she knew where our church was...she'd say "Jesus" every time we drove by. We said payers at night before bed with her and recently she would be able to finish the verses. She often sometimes asked us to say prayers with her before a nap too. So faith and God has always been an integral part of our lives, but in hindsight probably not as much of a priority as it has become for us since December 20th.
From the start of dealing with this tragedy, faith has been the main thing that has brought us any comfort and peace. Trusting that Rosie is in a better place - a place so unfathomably better than anything we could've given her here - is a thought I have daily. The only thought that gets me through a day.
Thinking about Rosie's passing - I do not believe this was ever "God's plan" - I don't think God would ever "plan" take a perfectly healthy 2 year old. But, I do believe that God was present throughout that night (and of course in all the moments/days after). On the night Rosie passed away - we had a picture perfect evening as a family. We were just about to begin 2 weeks off of work for Christmas, we were both home early and able to have dinner together and hang out as a family. I remember thinking to myself that night - "Rosie is so happy and silly tonight." Nothing, absolutely nothing, was wrong with her. Charlie and I both put her to sleep that night - we read her books, said prayers - the usual routine. Except on that night, she asked to stay with Charlie during prayers - honestly the first time she ever did that. It was as if she wanted to let him know how much she loved him and that although she was often glued to Mommy (especially at bedtime) - she was just as connected to him.
In the middle of the night, Rosie woke up crying - what seemed like a normal 2 year old nightmare. Typically we were pretty strict in the middle of the night - we'd sit and console her, but very rarely would we rock her in the middle of the night or bring her into our bed (which she always asked for) because I was terrified of starting a bad sleep habit or encouraging another sleep regression. But that night, for some reason, I had so much patience. I took Rosie out of her crib and she giggled at me - like "Ha, I got ya." I rocked with her for about 20 minutes, she told me she had to go potty - so I took her into the bathroom. She was talking to me and outside of slightly cranky middle of the night behavior - she was totally fine. She calmly went back into her crib and I told her I loved her and sweet dreams. The last thing she said to me was: "I want to go to Minnie's house" - we had been watching the Disney Christmas parade that night before bed. I told her she had to go to sleep if she wanted to go to see Minnie and she said: "OK Mommy, I go to sleep." At 5AM, Charlie woke up to use the bathroom and discovered Rose lifeless in her crib.
There was no noise, no crying, no pain, no struggle. She quite literally just passed on into heaven. Patience, love, communication, fun, calmness, normalcy...to me - there is no way that God was not present that night. My 5 year old niece said that she thinks the angels just came down and picked Rosie up to take her to heaven. I couldn't prefer a better image. If my sweet girl had to go - at least there was no suffering, no pain, no acknowledgement on her part, and she was with me just before it happened - our final words and kisses.
The presence of God in our lives has only intensified, as our faith has also intensified in the wake of Rosie's passing - through other people, through prayer, through the strength we've both had to get up each morning, to the signs we've received from Rosie - there's just no way to deny His love for us. He may not have stopped this from happening (and I wish every day that He did), but He's been carrying us through life every single day since. Without our faith, there'd be no hope for an eternal future together, and I'm living my life here to get to that eternal life one day.