Grace was adored by her parents and all that she met. She had her mother’s light colored hair and eyes and had a cute little dimple in her right cheek. Rachel especially doted on her as that helped her to heal from her previous losses. Losing so many babies had been difficult for Rachel. Even though she still danced and wrote additional poetry and stories, all of which were therapeutic for her, she continued to carry a deep ache in her heart.
When Grace turned three years old, she began taking formal lessons in one of Rachel’s classes at Micah’s home. Micah had a large attachment to her home that had a beautiful hardwood floor and was completely enclosed. There were several windows in the room to provide light and to open during the warm months of year with a fireplace to warm the room during the cold months. Even though Grace bounced around before she could walk, once she began walking, she danced more than she walked. Like her parents, she was a natural dancer.
During these years, Rachel lost three more babies, one at about 10 weeks, another at about 14 weeks, and a third baby at 16 weeks. This took an additional toll on Rachel as these new losses added to her already profound grief. Finally, when Grace was four years old, she delivered a healthy and happy baby boy whom they named Mato.
Grace quickly fell in love with her baby brother. She loved to help Rachel with him and was actually very helpful for a four-year old. Grace continued to take dance lessons, but now from Salali instead of Rachel since she struggled with severe depression after Mato’s birth and was no longer able to teach.
Rachel’s depression utterly devastated their entire family. She continued to nurse Mato, but it became difficult as she frequently needed to be reminded and sometimes needed someone to sit with her. She cried often as she continue to grieve the loss of her other babies. It was as if Mato’s birth brought back to her mind and heart all that she lost.
Pahana ached for his wife as she acted like a completely different woman than the beautiful woman he married. Several times, he lost his patience with her out of his own frustration and inability to understand what Rachel felt. He could not understand the depth of her grief and why she continued to grieve so intensely. He struggled making a living for the family as well as taking care of the children; it was too much for him. Whenever he lost his patience and treated Rachel unkindly, Pezi and Rueben, being sympathetic to Pahana but still protective of their little sister, reminded him that his wife still needed to be treated with kindness and respect.
Beth and Maia helped as often as they could, but had their own children to take care of. There were many days and nights that Grace and Mato stayed with them. Paul spent many hours with Grace and Mato, but he also had a business that he needed to attend to. Grace readily attached to Paul as he provided much needed love and attention.
Grace thrived at her dance lessons as they gave her an outlet away from the effects of her mother’s depression. While home, she played more with Mato than Rachel did. She also loved to dance at home. Rachel loved watching her dance and would smile and help her. Grace, often was a bright star for Rachel in her darkened world. One reason Grace often asked to hear the story of her parents meeting was that Rachel always seemed to lighten and smile more while recounting the story. There were other stories that Grace loved to hear from Rachel and would beg her to tell her.
When Mato was close to one year old, Rachel, in the despairs of depression, attempted to take her own life. Thankfully, someone in their city found her passed out, very close to death, and quickly found a healer who was able to save her life. Pahana, desperately concerned for Rachel, wrote to his parents and asked if they would come and live with them. Len and Azelia were more than happy to come and help their family.
Grace loved her paternal grandparents and enjoyed their presence at her home as they seemed to bring sunshine with them. Even Rachel started smiling more. Mato’s growth and development progressed better than it ever had; he was finally thriving for his age as he received the love and attention that he desperately needed. It was a matter of days that he went from crawling, to walking and running. His father and grandparents soon had a hard time keeping up with him.
One of the healers, Tala, had also once suffered with depression after the birth of one of her babies. She worked closely with Rachel to find the right combination of herbs to help her depression. At times it would seem that she would find a combination that would work, only to have Rachel fall back into a depression after a week or two.
One of the highlights in Rachel’s life was dancing with Pahana. Somehow, that seemed to be able to free her mind of her grief. When they danced, he helped her feel like she was a beautiful queen. Unfortunately though, there were days when she felt too low to even dance.
One night when Grace was five years old, she was on her sleeping mat trying to go to sleep. Mato was close to her and was already asleep. She was tired as she had a busy day of dancing and playing. She also felt sad because Rachel had an unusually difficult day. Thinking about her mother, tears started falling from her eyes. She wanted her mother to be well so she could dance and play with her. She sat up on her mat and wiped her tears on her blanket. As she did this, light entered her room. It was not light from a candle, lamp, or a fire, it was different. Even though the light was brighter than the noon-day sun, she could still look into it. As she looked, she saw two people. One, with a kind, gentle voice informed Grace that she was her sister Letzi. Grace was astonished! She did not know that she had a sister! Letzi told her that she was born before Grace was born and was immediately called home. She said that she only needed a body and that their parents were willing to create a body for her. Letzi asked Grace to tell their mother that she is fine and happy and doing the work that God wants her to do. She said that she felt sad that Rachel suffered so much and asked Grace to tell their mother than none of the losses were her fault. It was part of Heavenly Father’s plan and that she could be healed from all her grief and guilt. Grace asked Letzi what else she could do to help. Letzi reminded her to continue to be the sweet, kind daughter that she always had been and that the time would soon come when their mother would be healed from her depression. This excited Grace. The light and two spirits stayed with Grace for several more minutes while Grace fell asleep.
The next morning, as soon as Grace awoke, she jumped from her sleeping mat and ran to her parents. Pahana was already in the cooking room preparing some bread for their breakfast. Grace excitedly asked where her mother was as she had something exciting to tell them. Pahana answered that Rachel was still sleeping. Just then, Rachel sleepily walked into the cooking room and sat down on a cushion.
Grace ran over and hugged her mother and excitedly said that Letzi came to see her. Stunned, Rachel looked at Pahana, who looked equally bewildered and shrugged. Grace repeated that Letzi came to see her last night before she went to sleep and she stayed until after she fell asleep. Rachel slowly and carefully asked Grace who Letzi was. Grace knowingly answered that she was her sister! She described what had happened while Rachel and Pahana looked at each other in amazement since they had never told Grace about Letzi. Pahana asked about the second person in the light; Grace said it was Jesus. Pahana asked how she knew that. Grace responded that even though he did not talk to her, she just knew it was him. She described him as very handsome as he looked very calm, peaceful, and loving. She described that the love that she felt from him was greater than any type of love that she had felt before, even from her grandparents. Hugging her mother with tears streaming down her face, she decisively told Rachel that Letzi was happy and now she could be happy.
With tears streaming from their eyes, Pahana sat down by Rachel and hugged her, hugged her like he never wanted to let her go. They did not say much as they embraced the goodness from what their daughters had shared.
About this time, Mato wandered into the room, looked at his crying parents, suddenly felt afraid and started to cry. Rachel stood up and went to Mato, hugging him and assuring him that everything was alright. Len and Azelia also walked in, at first looking concerned about the scene before them, then Pahana gave Azelia a big hug and announced that everything was going to be alright. He began depicting his daughter’s encounter, with Grace determinedly interrupting him saying that it was her story to tell. She finished retelling her experience, ending with Len and Azelia in tears. They all hugged as they all sensed a measure of peace and comfort that had not been felt for what seemed like a very long time.
The peace and assurance from Grace’s visitation helped Rachel to improve, however, it was sporadic and Rachel still had more bad days than good. Pahana felt a new hope as he began to see light more often in Rachel than he had since Mato was born. Tala continued to work with Rachel trying different herb combinations and additional healing methods.
Two months after Grace’s experience, she turned six years old. Azelia helped Rachel plan a grand, yet simple celebration. They invited her closest friends and all of her family. They purchased a large piece of meat that they prepared in a savory stew with some vegetables from their garden. It was one of Grace’s favorite meals. They also made her favorite sweet honey cake. Grace delighted everyone their by performing one of her favorite dances. After dancing, she went to Rachel, took her by the hand, pulled her up and begged her to dance with her.
Beth was a musician and played a type of a flute, among other instruments. With a big smile on her face, Grace asked her to play one of her favorite songs, which she readily agreed to. Still holding Rachel’s hand, she started dancing a simple dance that Rachel taught her in rhythm to Beth’s music. Rachel, somewhat unwillingly, began following her daughter’s steps. After a couple minutes, Rachel began to put more emotion into the dance. She let go of Grace’s hand and lost herself in the music and dance. Pahana then joined her in the dance. They danced for several minutes with Grace happily looking on. Then, interrupting their dance, Grace took one of each of their hands in hers and the three of them happily danced together. Mato, seeing his parents and sister dancing in the middle of the room, decided that he wanted to be a part of whatever it was they were doing, ran over to them and to the delight of everyone, barged his way into the middle of the threesome. Both Rachel and Pahana took one of his hands and they danced together to the captivating music that Beth played.
When they finished their dance, the family hugged each other. Rachel had tears streaming down her eyes. She hugged Pahana, then Grace and Mato. She thanked Grace for encouraging her to dance. From that night on, something seemed to have clicked in her mind to where she was finally able to begin to come out of her depression. She still had setbacks, but finally had more good days than bad.
Grace was very sensitive to her mother’s depression and seemed to know when she was having an extra hard day. She learned that if she could encourage her mother to dance, that would almost immediately help brighten her mood. Then, of course, Mato would want to join.
Finally coming out of her devastating grief and darkness, Rachel began writing poems which Pahana and others put to music. Many of her poems were about intense grief and darkness. Those who read her poems and heard the poems sung to music, learned a part of what Rachel dealt with during her years of depression. Pahana especially, had no idea how Rachel felt until he read her written words. There were many times as he read her poems that he sobbed and sobbed at what his beautiful wife had been fighting with. He sadly learned that Mato’s birth triggered the depression that devastated her and the family. Rachel falsely believed she was responsible for the loss of the other babies and that guilt overwhelmed and debilitated her.
Watching Grace blossom in dance, Rachel again desired to dance and to teach lessons. She and Pahana began to practice together more regularly, often creating dances to go with the songs she wrote. Mato, observing his parents and big sister dancing, begged to take dance lessons, which he did from Salali. Although Mato enjoyed his dance lessons, he preferred to be with Pahana as he created new paints. Pahana usually let Mato test his paints as he already proved to have strong artistic gifts and understanding of how to put colors together to create beautiful pictures.
With Rachel feeling much better, Len and Azelia thought about returning to their home, but decided that they loved living near Pahana and Rachel. So they went and retrieved their belonging and animals then returned to live close to Pahana and Rachel.
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