Friday, July 4, 2008

Created Equal

Today we celebrate the Declaration of Independence.  In 1776, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a now famous document boldly declaring that it was a self-evident truth that all men are created equal. This was an inspired statement.  All of us on this earth are children of our Heavenly Father.  We are all equally loved by Him and equally watched over.  We all have equal rights to choose our beliefs and how we will react to the circumstances we face.  We all have equal opportunity to seek Him out and find Him and feel Him in our lives.  We are all brothers and sisters.

Brothers and Sisters--I have three brothers and one sister.  I LOVE my brothers.  But today I want to focus on my sisters.  Growing up, I lived across the street from a family of 7 girls. I always wished I had more sisters in my life.  I idolized my older sister but with a five year age gap, we did not get along very well growing up and she was off to college when I was in middle school.  I wanted more sisters.

This experience has given me a greater appreciation, a greater and renewed love, and deep soul linking bond with my one sister Lesli.  She has been a rock of literal strength for me through this.  I was pretty much a puddle on the ground at the hospital that first day.  I think the whole hospital could hear my grief.  My sister dropped everything (which was a night away with her husband at the Ritz) and came to me as soon as she heard.  She arrived that night and walked into the consolation room where I was sitting with my head buried in my hands.

I don't really understand the physics of what happened next.  She stood in front of me and put her hands on my shoulders.  She was bent over like I was and we both had our heads down.  As she did this, a power flowed through my body, a strength.  It was a physical sensation.  It was as if her strength of being came into me.  My sister is a very strong woman.  I have never been so grateful for that attribute of her as I was at that moment.  There was no judgement or mental analyzing. No this was the strength of a sister's Love. And it was powerful beyond description.   

My sister Lesli and I in my backyard a few days after Camille died.

I look at my family now thinking of those days wishing I had more sisters, and feel so blessed. When I got married I gained 6 new sisters.  Jon has four sisters and four brothers.  Two of his brothers are married.  The beauty of this is that I love, yes I mean love, all of these women. They are beautiful, talented women. I feel so blessed to have so many wonderful sisters in the Waite family.  How convenient that they have such an incredible, handsome, worthy, and humorous brother for me to love and marry.

The Waite Family at Camille's grave.

Shortly after Jon and I got married, 3 of my other siblings got married.  Then last October my youngest brother got married too, completing our generation's family circle.  This gives me three more sister in laws on my side of the family. Again the beauty in this is that my brother's all made awesome choices in selecting their mates.  All three of my sister in laws are about 3 years younger than me.  I am close to each of them.  They are some of my best friends and they are my sisters.
The Harris Family at Camille's Graveside.

But I have been blessed with more sisters in my family than just this.  Like I said, we are all brothers and sisters.  We are all created equal.  I have four daughters. I am their mother but they are also my sisters. I have been very aware of this fact from the moment I arrived at the hospital. I knew Camille was there but she was not in that little baby body on the bed.  She was there as a spirit and her spirit was not a baby.  I felt her as a fully mature adult woman. I felt her as my sister. I felt her as my friend. I felt her as a pure, clean, glorious example of what I want to become.

I look forward to the day when I can be with her again as a sister, a daughter, a friend, an equal.
I love you Camille!


susette said...

You are a beautiful woman, with a beautiful family and a beautiful testimony. Your thoughts and feelings inspire me so much. I just want to thank you for allowing so many of us out in the blogging world to be a tiny tiny part of your world. My heart aches so much each time I read your comments. I have a missionary serving in PA. right now and my arms long to hug him and hold him again. It seems like forever when that will happen but pales in comparison to when your arms will be around little Camille again. What a sweet little gift from Heavenly Father. I am grateful for His plan and grateful for people like you willing to share. Thank you. I admire your strength and stamina in carrying on.

Carolyn said...

Stephanie that was all so sweet and beautiful. I love that picture of you with Camille.

Christin said...

Thank you so much for sharing that story. I have four daughters and cherish them so much. You are amazing.


jennie said...

That is a precious picture of you and Camille. I am sure you will cherish it always. Your posts are so beautiful and eloquent, and I log on every morning for my "daily scoop." You are so inspiring, and I truly hope to emulate the qualities you have demonstrated. Thank you. I put your families name in the temple last night, and have been praying for your family. I wish I could take some of the pain away, but realize that prayer is porbably the best way.

amanda said...

I cry everytime I read your blog.

Thank you for reminding me how to cherish my own children while sharing your grief. My heart breaks for your family and yet I have no doubt that you will survive this, and be stronger together because of it. You are amazing.

scrap chair potato said...

I always love the photos on your blog.
You are such a wonderful writer. You describe your experiences so beautifully. I feel like I am right there with you.
Thank you for sharing your stories and testimony with us so freely. You are an inspiration to so many.

I love your new header. Yummy ice cream!

elizabeth said...

I have been blessed beyond measure to have you as my older sister for the past 8 years. When I was young, I always wished for an older sister to lead out as my example. Someone to look up to. I know now, more than ever, that I was given all I wished for an much much more. xoxo -e

Rach said...

I'm so glad you have sisters to support you and love you.


Beth said...

Sisters are truly amazing people. Your words, again, touch my heart. I have one sister, 6 years older than me-so I know what you mean about growing up. I lost her, two years ago this month, in an auto accident. I miss her strength so much. I feel her, I know she is here, but I wish I could hug her. It is the loss of my precious sister that your words are helping heal for me. She always understood me and made me feel special-and she was always there for me. She may be gone from here, but I've learned to lean on you, my sisters in Christ. Thank you, so much, for sharing your journey. God bless.

s & g said...

The new banner is so cute, my little boy Lewis was loving the ice cream too. What a beautiful post. I am fortunate to have 3 sisters, there are 4 girls in my family too. They are one of my greatest treasures and I have no doubt it will be the same for your daughters as well.

We are so blessed to have many 'sisters' in our lives. I am so glad you were able to feel strength and love from yours when you needed it the most.

Scott&Mandi said...

I found your blog through a friend, and have spent the last few days reading and crying. You share your thoughts and feelings so beautifully that it almost feels like I can feel what you feel. Your entries have really helped me gain more perspective. I have four kids, and can get caught up in the frustrations of life and forget how precious their lives are, and the blessings they are to me. I am so deeply sorry for your loss, but I want you to know that through your pain and loss, I believe you and Camille have touched other people and made them realize how blessed their lives are. You did that for me. Your family is in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your blog.

karsen said...

Beautiful. Tender. Profoundly true. I have always been drawn to the power of sisterhood between women--I have tapped its strength many times throughout my life, and felt the great satisfaction to contribute to it. I am so grateful to also have four daughters who get to carry on this great association.

Liz's Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz's Blog said...

I loved your blog post. Sisterhood is a special relationship. Having sisters and women in your life help through the bad and the good. I know in my life, since my momma isn't here anymore, knowing I have loving sisters in the gosple help me through the hard days.

nina said...

Yes, I know of the great bond that you are talking about. When I was a young single divorced mother I wept on my parents couch from the overwhelming feelings that I was having. My younger sister was only thirteen years old, but she climbed on the couch behind me and she layed down and held me for over an hour till I cried myself to sleep. She never said a word. She just brushed my hair with her fingers and held me. It was the most amazing and comforting feeling that I have ever had. My younger sister just holding me, and in that moment that was all I needed to get through my pain. Thank you for sharing your story.

Marleen said...

I too love my sisters, all the women in my life. Thank you for not only being a sister-in-law but a close friend. Love you.

galbraiths said...

I have become a blog stalker of you. you are so inspiring and I think you should publish your thoughts. You have such a beautiful way with words, and a way to lift others through these tremendously hard experiences. I am one who continues to be lifted. My husbands cousin in Natalie cottam, who used to live in vegas and I know knows marleen, but you might know her as well. anyway, I have heard about this amazing woman and her blog and had to check it out. Now I am hooked. I seriously have to look every day and see what your latest story is. I would love to give you a hug. Because you have been so open i feel that i know you and Just wish I knew you in person so I could be someone for you to lean on too. Although it seems, I am leaning on you. we are having some hard times and I find comfort and peace in your words. thank you "sister", as we are sisters in the gospel too. you are amazing.

Kay said...

I don't know you personally but I found this blog through a friend. My twin sister died when we were two and her name is Camille too. I am 17 now, and it was really sweet to read you posts. You seem like a great person! I wonder if my sister and your daughter have met in heaven? I hope so, that would be really special. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.