I've written before about my friend, Julie.
But I haven't really written before about Julie's sister, Marie.
Except to say that Marie had written me a Christmas card in 2005, that I received at the same time as Julie's Christmas card. In her card, Marie had asked for me to call her, which I did. But she wasn't home - and when she called me back - I wasn't home. When we finally connected on Christmas Eve, I was hoping that she was going to tell me that they were having a party for Julie on her birthday, January 4. But instead, Marie told me that her younger sister had passed away on December 8. Four years later, I still find it hard to believe that my good friend is gone.
Since that time, Marie and I have remained in touch.
Because, as it turns out, one day she Google'd her sister's name and came directly to the post where I wrote about her. Every so often, Marie reads my blog and she has sent some very generous donations to all of the cancer fundraising events that I've participated in. But if I bumped in to her in a store, I don't think I'd know her. But I do know that I'd like her, because I can just tell that she is cut from the same genuinely good cloth as her sister.
And I adore her sister.
Now the point of this story is to tell you that in June of 2007, a few weeks before Henry arrived on the scene, I received a package from Marie. In that package was a beautiful stuffed bear that belonged to Julie. According to a note that Marie had placed in with the bear, Julie had named the bear "Forest" and he was one of her favorites.
It wasn't very long before Forest the bear became one of our favorites. William, in particular, has adopted Forest and he rarely lets him out of his grasp.
Tonight, as I was tucking William (and Forest) in to bed, William asked me to tell him again the story of where Forest came from. Pulling the covers up under my little boy's chin, I stroked his cheek and said, "Forest was my dear friend Julie's bear. And when Julie went to heaven, Forest came to live with us."
William was quiet for a moment before he piped up, "Mom. Julie put her love in to Forest, and now, I can feel Julie's love come out of Forest and in to me." Then he smiled and cuddling his bear close he said, "Forest makes my heart happy."
Which makes my heart happy.
And I hope it makes Marie's heart happy, too.