This blog is written by Scott Puckett (Michael’s Father, Blakely’s Grandfather). It was written on April 28, 2018 which was Blakely’s first Birthday. Scott is a pastor in Traveler’s Rest, South Carolina.
Today on my granddaughter Blakely’s first birthday, I thought it would be the perfect occasion to reflect on some things she taught me in her short 10 months with us.
1. Life is beautiful. When God breathed life into Adam, he became a living being (Genesis 2:7). I can still remember standing outside of the delivery room door of Mercy Hospital in St. Louis when I heard Blakely’s first cry. It was miraculous. It was the breath of God. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Thank you Blakely.
2. Life is hard. As beautiful as life is, it is not absent from the effects of the fall. Our sin brought frustration, pain, and death into God’s perfect world. Little Blakely, it seems like you had a lifetime portion in your short 10 months with us, but you faced each day with courage and determination…so did your parents. God’s Word tells us His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), but thank you Blakely for showing me that it really is sufficient even in the hardest of circumstances. Thank you Blakely.
3. Combing hair is overrated. One of the first things I noticed about Blakely after she was born was how much hair she had. She had a lot of hair. I thought it would fall out in a few weeks and she would have the more typical amount of hair. That was not the case. In fact, she kept quite a thick amount of hair…and she liked to let it be wild and free (just like her!). Although her sweet mother would brush it and style it regularly, it seemed like it would always break free and go everywhere. Blakely seemed to prefer it that way. When you got hair like Blakely, why comb it? Be wild. Be free. Thank you Blakely.
4. Don’t hide your brokenness from those that love you. Blakely was never good at hiding. She was always real–always present in the moment. It was an invitation for those of us who loved her to step into the brokenness with her and bear the burden with her. Being made in the image of God, we were designed to bear each other burdens (Galatians 6:2). But if you don’t ever share your burdens, then others cannot help carry them. Blakely was good at sharing. That is one way she served us. Thank you Blakely.
5. Your smile is more for others than it is for you. I remember when I was a teenager my mother asking me why I didn’t smile as much as I used to when I was a child. I told her that life had become too serious. It was the best answer I could come up with at the time, but I really didn’t know why. I thought that smiles were for the person smiling. Blakely changed that for me. When she smiled–through the cleft lip, through the oxygen tube, through the feeding tube–she would light up the room. It was like the sun shooting through a crack in the clouds. Sometimes it seemed like she smiled just for Michael or Emily or one of us by her side. Even watching videos of her smiling sent by text made any bad day a good day. Her smile felt like aloe smoothing a skin burn. I think she smiled not just because she was happy, but because she knew we all needed it. Makes me smile as I remember her smile. Thank you Blakely.
6. Focusing on what you don’t have causes you to miss the blessings of what you do have. As you know Blakely was born without a nose. I don’t know if she had the sense of smell at all, ever. Because of that, she really couldn’t drink or eat by mouth. She had a permanent feeding tube. She never tasted food. I can’t imagine living without all five senses, much less living with only three. However, Blakely loved to look (and had the most beautiful eyes). She loved to look at her Mommy. She loved to listen. She could hear and would respond when she heard her Daddy’s voice. She could feel and loved to have her head rubbed or hair shampooed. She was too busy enjoying what she had to worry about what she didn’t. Very wise little girl. Thank you Blakely.
7. There is no such thing as leak proof diapers. You go girl! Thank you for keeping it real. Thank you Blakely.
8. Sometimes doctors and nurses need patients more. I am amazed at how many nurses and doctors that cared for Blakely were deeply moved and touched by her story. On Blakely’s last day, I saw several come by in tears to check on Michael & Emily and express their sympathy and delight that they had gotten to take care of her the last few weeks. It was clear to me that Blakely had given them something sacred while in the hospital, something they needed. Thank you Blakely.
9. Life is short and each day is a gift. I think we all intuitively know this, but I also think we all are know that death is not supposed to be. He has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). But, life is short–or at least shorter than we know it should be. We originally thought we wouldn’t get to hold Blakely alive after birth, but we were given a birth day. Then a week. A month. Ten months God blessed us with Blakely. Each day was a gift. She taught me that. Thank you Blakely.
10. Baby lips really are the best. Ever since I had my own children, I’ve always loved baby fingernails and…baby LIPS! The tiny, precise details of the soft red skin with the little creases and wrinkles are amazing. The expert knitting of the hand of God on a little child never ceases to amaze me. Blakely’s lips were the best, I’m just sayin. They were incredibly unique. Her upper lip made the shape of a heart. We all noticed it when she was born and were in awe over it. It was like a valentine card sent by God Himself. Thank you Blakely.
11. Sometimes I prefer noise to silence. Laura and I were beyond joyful when Michael called us and said that he, Emily, and Blakely were in the car headed to South Carolina for Christmas and would arrive Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful 3 days together with all our kids home with their respective spouses. The house was full of life, full of love, and full of noise. Blakely led the way in all three categories! She brought life and love into the home, but she also brought noise. The noise of the oxygen generator machine (which ran 24/7 now). The noise of the suction machine that was used regularly. The noise of the feeding machine when it was finished. The noise of the metal cart rolling on the hardwood floors that carried her equipment. The noise of the oxygen censor when her levels dropped too low. We noticed the noise, but we noticed Blakely more. I remember the night of December 26th, when they pulled out of the driveway with Blakely headed back to Florida. We walked back in the house to…silence. There were no Blakely machines or gadgets making noise. It was deafening. I learned that night that I sometimes prefer noise to silence. Thank you Blakely.
12. Faithfulness is not measured by the accomplishments but by the moments. Three days after Blakely passed away at ten months, the Rev. Billy Graham died at the age of ninety-nine. It felt very surreal to compare and contrast both of their lives the same week. One so short and seemingly lacking in earthly accomplishments and one so long and filled with them. It was then I realized that faithfulness is not measured by the accomplishments, but by the actual moments–the moments where God is all you are holding on to because you believe He is enough for the moment. I believe Billy Graham was a faithful man of God. I believe Blakely Puckett was a faithful child of God. She lived faithfully the life God called her to live. Jesus was all she and her parents had to hold on to and they believed He was enough. I believe both Billy and Blakely heard upon entering heaven, “well done.” How many grandfathers get left a legacy like that by their granddaughter? Thank you Blakely.
13. Heaven is home. My Dad and Mom are home with Jesus in heaven. Blakely is now home with Jesus in heaven. This earth feels more foreign to me than ever since February 18th. It is not my home. Heaven is. I feel that stronger than ever. And that’s a good thing. Thank you Blakely.
Happy birthday Blakely. I miss you. I am so proud of you. I love you. I am so thankful to be your grandfather. Thank you for teaching me so much.
Thank you Jesus for giving me…for giving us, Blakely