I waited to tell her as long as I could. I knew she would take the news deep into her heart.
She is inquisitive.
She is soulful.
She is seven.
I scooped her into my arms, we climbed in bed and I tucked the covers all around us, with some false assumption that we would feel safe there.
"I have something I have to tell you Lucy..." I said. I followed the guide, trying to remember everything it said as I carefully laid out the story to her.
When I was done, she was quiet. We sat for what felt like an eternity until finally she spoke. It was almost a whisper.
"Mom, that is very, very sad." she replied quietly.
"It is baby, it is." I agreed. Just a moment later she spoke again.
"Can you tell me the kid's names?" she asked.
I went through the list of children I remembered, then I stopped when I got to Emilie.
"There was a little girl who was six and she loved art, she carried her crayons and paper every where she went so she could make pictures for people." I explained.
"I love to do that too." she said.
"I know. I am wondering if there is something we can do to honor Emilie." I answered.
I proposed we sew tiny art coloring books like we have so many times before . Those little books kept children busy in restaurants and car rides over the years. It seems all roads lead to art in my house and in Emilie's. I asked Lucy if she wanted to take the books, tie some crayons up with them in packages and leave them at the park and library, places where kids could find the small gift in honor of Emilie. They would be in honor of a fellow 1st grade artist.
Lucy liked the idea and asked me what I thought the other children liked. I said I didn't know but that maybe we could find out.
My heart was breaking, thinking of how long the list of likes must be...simple things like art and cars and games.
I thought about how there won't be any new drawings from Emilie on a refrigerator somewhere, and no more laying on her belly on the living room floor drawing pictures with her sisters, or a sweet presentation of crayon art to a grandpa or someone else she loved...but I can imagine Emilie, like Lucy would have been delighted to find a little art kit on a playground or on a bus bench.
So this is what we will do, with so much sadness and honor in our hearts, we will talk about Emilie and the others when they rise in our hearts. We will look for ways to love and honor all the parts of them that brought so much joy to the world.
You are welcome to join us this week.
1.Gather white and colored paper. We used a sewing machine and the fancy stiches to bind the little books together. Kids love to sew and the bright colors make the books so sweet. (please know you can do this project with or without kids)
2. If you aren't crafty or don't have time, places like the Dollar Store and Target have great little crayon sets and drawing pads.
3. Attach the crayons, put the art kits in a basket and leave at places kids might find them. Playgrounds, parks, libraries, bus stops, the gym or music classes. You can also leave the kits places by themselves with out the baskets in random spots.
4. Leave a note with each kit saying, "In honor of Emile. She loved to draw and share her art."
No more explanation is really needed.
If you plan to join us, you can post pictures on the Guerrilla Goodness Facebook page.
As we were making the kits, Lucy asked me to write to Emilie, "I hope you like drawing in heaven."
Today, we honor you Emilie Parker and the family that loves you, thank you for what you gave to the world.