Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's not Goodbye.....

This is Jalit. She was watching the Abernathy kids and I stopped by to say hi and give her a lift home.
Jalit is someone I went to elementary school with. She was one of my closest friends and then she and her family moved away. We lost contact for years. When I married Brian in 2006, we moved to Oswego and went to church in Fulton. I met Roxanne at church and we became friends. Jalit was a friend of Roxanne's. As soon as Roxanne mentioned her name: Jalit... I said "Wait. Jalit Richardson?" Her name rolled off my tongue like I had spoken to her yesterday. It was her. It was the Jalit I went to elementary school with. What a sweet reunion.

She was just as bubbly and smiley as I remembered. She was overflowing with love for her Savior and for others. You could just see it on her face. She loved kids. Everyone's kids.

I was elated to hear that she was expecting.

I knew she'd be an amazing mom and guidepost to her child. Around 20weeks, Jalit's little blueberry was discovered to be a little girl and she named her Harlee Joy.

Jalit was looking for a doula. A labor support for the birth of her child. I met up with her, at Wendy's with my two rambunctious kiddos. She was so excited to meet her baby girl. She wanted a natural birth and wanted to bond with her baby right away. I became not only her friend, but her doula too.

Things took a turn for the worse when she was suffering with Gestational Diabetes and wasn't told or aware until she had a hyperglycemic attack. She was sent to a high risk doctor where she knew she'd have to have a cesarean. I worked with her and talked to her for hours on the phone about it. We were confident that Heavenly Father's will would be done and her baby would be okay. She was in good hands- God's hands.

The day of the birth I arrived an hour or so before the section. Her pastor was there. We sat and chatted. She was bursting with excitement that she would be able to see her baby girl soon. She couldn't wait to hold her and start her life in her new role as "Mom". We held hands. We prayed to the Father for them. For peace and comfort. For His hands to be watching over and protecting the new mom and the new baby. Jalit's mom, brother, and mentor arrived. Jalit, her mentor, and the nurse went into the OR. Mom, brother, and I went to the waiting room.

You see-- Jalit wanted me in there for her cs but the anesthesiologist insisted (rather loudly) that she only have one support person go in with her. Jalit was torn and begged him to not make her make that decision. I turned to her and told her I wouldn't be sad and I would wait and see her as soon as she got out. She chose her mentor.

As we walked down the hall- away from the triage room, I started sobbing. Maybe it was the preggo hormones, maybe it was the spirit telling me something, or maybe I was sad I couldn't go with her... I'll never really know why.

Soon after the section and birth of her beautiful 9lb 4oz baby girl, I went to make sure she was okay and was gonna take off to let her bond with her mom, brother, and new baby girl.

I walked into the recovery room- I called her Mom. That name she had waited her whole life to be called. I told her how proud I was of her. I told her she did an amazing job-- and she really did. From the insulin pokes, lack of sleep, praying for her unborn daughter, reading to Harlee in the womb, having dance parties to christian rock with her belly, and continuing to work until the Dr took her out. She was 110% dedicated to this work: The work of a mother.

I was able to go over and take some photographs of Jalit and her little princess at her home. I usually take labor/ birth photos for families that I doula and hadn't been able to with her. I wanted to make sure to document for her those first precious few weeks. They fly by so fast.

This is my favorite photo that I took that day. You can see the bond between them. It's tangible. It's contagious.

Yesterday, I received the most shocking news of my life. This "long lost" friend, Mom, fellow daughter of God, and her beautiful little blueberry- Harlee Joy were found dead in her apartment. I wasn't home at the time. I immediately called her cell- praying she'd pick up and I could tell her this horrific rumor I had heard. Straight to voicemail. "Hi this is Jalit, I can't get to the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number and a brief message-- I will get back to you as soon as I can. Have a great day and God Bless."

My heart instantly broke, I knew it had to be true.
Below is one of the many reports....

Adult and child found dead in Fulton home

By: Web Staff
Adult and child found dead in Fulton home
FULTON, N.Y. -- Police in Fulton are investigating the deaths of two people. They say Jalit Richardson, 25, and her two-month-old infant daughter were found inside the apartment about 1:45 p.m. Tuesday at a home on South First Street.
Police are calling it an unattended death and are saying it is not considered suspicious at this time.
Fulton police are awaiting a determination on the cause of death from the Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office.
We are all waiting to hear what happened. My heart feels bruised. This world lost a mighty warrior.

I know that Jalit is in the arms of her Savior. I know that she is holding her little baby just like she did on earth. I know Harlee is smiling at her mommy and basking in the glow of Heavenly Father's love. I know that somehow this was part of Heavenly Father's plan and I'm sure he has big things for her on the other side. I know I will see her again someday. I know I will hold that precious baby again. This is what I imagine Jalit to look like on the other side (only not pregnant).

Photo taken by Casey Bea, Jalit's friend.

I know that Jalit is watching over me. She would send me texts frequently to see how I was doing. "How are you feeling, Mama?" I will miss those texts. I know she will be there for me- when I'm in labor, just like I was there for her. I wasn't able to be in the room with her, and she will not be able to be in the room with me. But, more importantly, her spirit will be there. Right beside me- helping me birth this bundle of joy.

I love you Jalit.

See you later.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much sharing this story. Jalit was an amazing woman who will be missed by many!

Anonymous said...

Didn't know Jalit but this post has me just about in tears. Very well articulated.

Anonymous said...

I just heard the horrible news myself today. I had actually thought about her earlier in the week and thought about calling her. I didn't know she had had the baby already. We went to church together, and last summer reconnected but lost touch again after she came back from summer camp and was pregnant. I loved her so much. I found this blog after googeling her name hoping to find more information about it. THe things you said about her are dead on, she was such a beautiful spirit. I miss her so much already. I am mourning very deeply this tragic loss