I LOVE glassybaby. Like, really, REALLY love it.
My five-year-old daughter was in the kitchen with me as I was lighting up the display on my island, and she said, “You suuuuure love glassybaby, don’t you? Do you like the color? Or is a circle your favorite shape?” I launch into all the reasons I love them–the stunning colors, the sentimental names, the meaningful stories of how I got each one, the way they look when they’re lit. How they’re unique and handmade, how they’re so very ‘Seattle’… I must have gotten carried away, because she replies, “You suuuuuure do have a lot of reasons!”
This past Fall, my 3 year old daughter was diagnosed with DIPG, a terminal tumor in her brain stem with a zero percent survival rate. Magnolia Mae was given a 9-12 month life expectancy.
We were absolutely crushed, but couldn’t help but view this remaining time as a gift to be cherished and stewarded well. As a family we began to practice staying in the moment and taking hold of true life, for as long as we might have Maggie with us on Earth. You can imagine the joy mingled with anguish during this time; the very definition of bittersweet.
Over the next 9 months I was given a few glassybaby as gifts that were extremely meaningful to me. Two days after her diagnosis, I was given Hope by a dear mentor. Blue Eyes arrived on my doorstep from a girlfriend that lives in Colorado. At Christmas, my husband gave me Courage, and another sweet friend gave us Princess. My mother-in-law gave me Goodness. In february as a push-present my husband gave me the dazzling Grace our 3rd baby, and first son was born! My cousin re-gifted me a special glassybaby from her personal collection, “I wanted to give you my Hope.”
After one of Magnolia’s MRI’s at Seattle Children’s Hospital we browsed the UVillage Glassybaby store. In true form, Maggie made a beeline to the shelf of pinks, and pointed out Peony as her very most favorite. We snapped a few pics for memory’s sake. That was a great day.
During her last days we made her bedroom more comfortable by keeping a few special glassybaby lit for ambiance. Blue Eyes, Princess, Goodness and Hope. On June 22nd, 2015, our beloved Magnolia finished her race, and traded the “bump in her brain” for her crown of everlasting joy in Heaven.
As her Mother, I’d been dreading her memorial service ever since the day of her diagnosis. How could I survive a day like that? What the heck do you wear to your daughter’s funeral? How could I grieve her during the ceremony, while walking her big sister and baby brother through the day at the same time?
I honestly just wanted to get through the day and get it over with. As both fears and ideas rolled around in my brain, I started to think of a few elements for the day that helped me feel calmer as it approached. Meaningful songs I wanted to have played, stunning magnolia blossoms on display, a cute program design that was so true to who my daughter was and what she loved…
I knew that I wanted to have some special glassybaby with us that day, the ones that represented her beautiful life and short journey.
It started with Grace. What stunning patience and calm my 3 year old daughter had, as she endured everything this diagnosis threw at her. And Courage. The strength in her eyes and the bravery she showed us were at once inspiring and heart breaking. Princess. She was every-bit the fancy girl that loved dressing up, purses, lip gloss and her sparkle shoes.
I really latched on to this idea, and started to think of more and more Glassybaby that were so representative of Maggie that I just had to have them there with me that day! Sassy, Tulip, Wish… Forever! I was truly feeling hopeful about this component of her service. It was a tangible piece of the day that felt calming to me and I was inspired by this project. To me, it was a very symbolic way to represent her with beauty and light.
My list grew 43 glassybaby long!! From Lamb and Daffodil and Sunshine, to Rubber Boots and Lollipop and Crayola… the parallels were endless between the Babies and MY Baby. What a beautiful collage, so to say, to give people a glimpse of the scope and breadth that was Magnolia Mae.
We displayed this collection on tables lining the hallway that lead into the sanctuary at our church. My friends printed off 43 photos of my daughter that matched the name of each glassybaby. The gold-framed photos were displayed behind each lit glassbaby; in front of each glassybaby lay a magnolia leaf. It was a breathtaking display. Both mournful and hopeful.
Simultaneously, my dearest girlfriend and fellow glassybaby aficionado, was dreaming up the perfect stage décor; an array of twinkling Babies, in a full spectrum of pinks, Maggie’s favorite. They were scattered all around the stairs up to and lining the stage. It was truly a sight to behold.
A day that I was dreading, an event that no mother should ever have to attend, turned out to be a truly beautiful and rich day for me. I was humbled and grateful. So much love and care went into that day, and it simply wouldn’t have been the same without the presence of glassybaby.
With my deepest heartfelt thanks,