Several times a day we see her sweet face on the picture above Tonya's side of the bed. I gaze frequently at the photo on my nightstand of her in her mother's arms. Occasionally we snuggle with the blanket she was wrapped in immediately after birth that still smells like her. We visit her grave often. We talk about her daily with the children and bless her as a family every night before bed. Every remembrance is with thankfulness for her life but sadness that we don't get to share our life here with her.
We still feel her loss...daily.
But we are so blessed and honored to be the vessels that the Lord chose to bring her forth, to give her life. Every time that I hear worship songs that describe worship of God in Heaven, I cry thinking about her little voice joining with those of the angels and saints who have gone before. I feel like part of us is there with her before the throne of the King.
We are obviously very excited about the twins coming. We feel blessed and overwhelmed that the Father would give us this gift, especially so soon after we gave our daughter back to Him. He is such a good Daddy. But we don't feel in any way like these lives "replace" Anastasha. I don't think we are getting this "double blessing" because we lost her, as many have lovingly suggested. We will love these two new babies deeply and joyfully, but they will not be Anastasha. Her place in our heart is permanent, as is her absence.
Heaven seems more real to us because of Anastasha. Our redemption through Jesus' death and suffering means more. The Resurrection seems more real. So does the brevity of this life. We long for His return more now than we ever have before. May it be soon - Come Lord Jesus!