Last year around this time I watched helplessly as one of my good friends and her husband buried their three week old daughter.

They had tried for years to get pregnant without any success.

They then tried for years to get pregnant through IVF.

Years without a baby and all your heart wants is a baby…leaves you heartbroken and exhausted.

Then they were told they were pregnant.

The most exciting news was that they were pregnant with twins.

My friend is a twin and her twin is her best friend so you can only imagine the joy.

The joy that is so huge that you are afraid to accept it because you are only used to heartbreak and you don’t know if this is real…if this will last.

But it did.

Two little girls were growing and getting ready for this world.

Clothes were bought and a nursery was decorated.

Then the day came that they were told that one of the girls had a hole in her heart and most likely that was a sign of Down’s Syndrome.

Hearts were hurting all over again…but there was hope.  When the baby was born they would be able to close the hole in her heart and she would be strong and healthy.

Then my friend’s health started to decline.  The babies were toxic to her body.  She was hospitalized and put on bed rest.

We all prayed that the girls would get big enough before the doctors said they had to bring them into the world.

At 26 weeks Calista and Darby were born.

The littlest babies I have ever seen.

Calista was quiet and sweet from the beginning {the doctors said some of the most beautiful physical features that we loved about her were because of the downs}.   I could have watched her stick out her little tongue all day.

Darby was having a hard time with the noise and her whole body was having a hard time adjusting to such an early birth.

Calista would never be strong enough for her surgery.

Her body couldn’t take it and her heart was slowly shutting down.

Calista lived for three weeks.

Her life was precious.  She was loved deeply.  She is missed everyday.

Darby just celebrated her one year birthday.  She is gorgeous, happy and loved so deeply.

I didn’t know what to give my friend to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday but to also acknowledge the absence of her other daughter.

So, I painted.

I didn’t know what else to give.

I asked my friend how she would feel if I made the print available in my shop and proceeds would go to a charity of her choice…in Calista’s name.

She loved the idea and she has chosen Love 146.

I love that this is her charity.  I love that anyone who purchases this print will be honoring Calista and her life….and helping other children in this world.

I have watched my friends pain through all of this.

I once read that pain is a winding road.  Other people want it to have a beginning and an end…but pain doesn’t work like that.

If you are on this journey I am so sorry.  I wish I could hold your hand, sit with you, hear your heart.

I know from watching my friend that it can be a lonely road.

The best advice I can give you that I have learned from watching my friend….if you don’t know what to say just love on them anyways and don’t ever act like it didn’t happen.

We say Calista’s name often around here…..