Hi! My name is Abigail. I finished my mortal mission in a little spec of eternity you call July 2013.
Now I'm in the Spirit World and can help my family and friends (that's everyone) from this side of the veil. Some people get a little uneasy talking about "spirits" but I'm here to tell you we're not scary. My body died, but I'm still alive. My body was destroyed and really needed a break, but I'll have it again soon. You'll have to trust me on the issue of timing. It won't be long, promise.
A month before I came here, my mommy was holding me and I told her "I will keep you forever." It took her by surprise that I came up with that on my own, but I knew what I was saying. I reinforced it later a few times by telling her, "I will keep you forever in my world, " and "I will keep you forever in my life". I meant exactly what I said.
This little piece of world wide web is a place my mom can continue to write and record her feelings--her progress, I like to call it. I know it's helping a few of you, too.
Remember who you are--really are--and that many of us are excited to see you all again, too. Eternity is a very long time and I have to keep reminding my mom "I will keep you forever".

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Totally Forgot

On June 20th, I remembered that I had totally forgotten the monthly 'anniversary' of June 15th....the day marking 11 months since Abigail died.

Five days later, I remembered! It wasn't that we didn't think of her; of course we did. It was Father's Day on June 15th. That was probably one of the reasons why I forgot--I was thinking about Aaron and Abigail together and put together a slideshow of pictures of the two of them.

When I realized I had forgotten, I thought, "Dat's good." Maybe Abigail told me that's good. Eventually, just as I stopped thinking of every Monday as an anniversary of her death, the 15th of each month will hold less importance as well. I don't know that I'll ever forget July 15th, but who knows? If I did, would that mean I don't love Abigail as much? Would it mean I'm forgetting her? Would it mean I don't honor her memory? Surely not. It would probably mean that she has become such a part of me, just as my other children are, that I don't need dates to remember her by. It would probably mean that my scoop is being healed more and more by time and faith in Jesus Christ. It would probably mean Abigail is happier that mortal dates don't affect me as much. It would probably mean I'm getting older and losing my memory....(obviously, I'm on that path already!)

June 22, 2013. Abigail helping me cut her pain-killer pills in half.

And speaking of dates, today is the 24th of June. Last year on this day we signed a DNR form for Abigail. Do Not Resuscitate. Abigail had her LAST EVER scan. The cancer was everywhere. It was the day we told Abigail that we could leave the clinic and she never, ever had to go back again. She would never have to go to the hospital again! She was happy about that.

We never told her she was going to die. In her wise, 4-year-old mind, she knew. I think angels were preparing her. One day as I held and rocked her during hospice she said, "When I die I'll be all better!"

Who told you, Abigail? How did you know---first, that you would die, and second, that you would be healed after said 'death'? If you are healed, then you are alive. I know you are. Only your mortal frame died. The real you lives on, and I cannot hardly wait till I see you again.

I'm crying thinking about what June 24th involved. Telling my dad to please hurry and finish building her casket. Many, many tears. And there are tears today, but less than last year. Dat's good. "In His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings."1

June 24, 2013

Thank you for remembering Abigail with me. Thank you for the birthday gifts you gave her of service or doing and being good. She LOVED them! Thank you for your comments here on her blog; we treasure them. We hope that her life and story and our journey through grief can help others in some small way.
I'm grateful I forgot on June 15th to think about the 11-month anniversary of her death. That was significant...a foreshadow of continued healing, through the Atonement.

"It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding."2


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Miracles Today

I was originally going to title this "A Miracle Today" until I read an email tonight about Abigail.

Let me start with last night.

I stood staring at the clothes in my closet wondering what to wear for family pictures this morning, and I thought, "Birthdays should be fun. Why do I want to wear only black? That probably doesn't make Abigail happy, but I really only want to wear black."

Then I could feel the sobs seriously starting to churn inside and one escaped and I sat down in Abigail's rocking chair in my bedroom. After a couple minutes, I realized I hadn't cried anything more than that first burst. I had dried up. I had become still. Not quite peaceful, but just--still. I thought, "Maybe Abigail's here." And then I had the impression that might be true, but also that many prayers were being offered on our behalf and He was listening. Thank you, thank you.

Your faith and prayers have carried us through the day. We took family pictures (and I wore a light-gold blouse, by the way. I just knew Abigail wouldn't like the all-black.) Hyrum, Mary, and I did proxy baptisms at the temple. We went grocery shopping to prepare for tomorrow. We watched some home video footage of Abigail's 3rd birthday when she was healthy. I went visiting teaching tonight, and then we spent a few hours prepping food for tomorrow.

One way to not think about feelings too much is to stay busy, but that wasn't my intention when we planned a while ago to go to the beach on June 13. But we did plan it, and since it will be a leave-early and get-back-late trip, we have to plan and pack all of our food. Which requires a lot of thinking.

I did manage to have enough brain power to think how ironic it is that we are going to go to one of Abigail's favorite places: the beach. The last beach we went to was Silver Beach (I think that was the name) in San Diego just over the border from Tijuana. She got her feet and ankles wet for about 10 minutes. She was also hooked up to a home infusion pump that I carried around. Soon she was cold, so I changed her clothes and she sat on my lap till she fell asleep. Not your typical beach experience. But that was typical life for Abigail.

But back to today...

As the day has drawn to a close, I have been so grateful that although it has been a hard day, it has been smooth. My emotions have been even. We received many kind texts and a few flowers here at home. A box of fruit with scripture messages attached. Sweet, thoughtful new friends in our new home out here trying to help us cope.

It was a good hard day. That was the miracle. Through the faith and prayers of many, He supported and strengthened us. It's certainly not beyond His power, and I am so grateful He notices us.

A friend of mine went to Abigail's grave and texted me a picture saying there was a bunch of stuff at her grave. A friend of Aaron's also went and did the same thing to Aaron. We were touched.

I don't think I even cried today, beyond just misty eyes. Until tonight, when I read an email. The church members back home---sweet, thoughtful sisters in the gospel--sent an email to the ward members inviting them to visit Abigail's grave since it is her birthday today. They put balloons there so it was easy to locate. I don't know if they even realize I'm still on that email list, but in the email they wrote, "We [want] to show that we still remember her and love the Goss family."

Then the tears came.

I don't know why it's so important as the living survivor of a 'deceased' person to have other people also remember with you. But it IS. It IS. And when I saw by the end of the day how much Abigail is still remembered, even though they didn't know her very well because she was young and not often in public, or never even met her at all like our Virginia friends, it really touched me.

So to everyone who said a prayer for us, and all our family, and all of you wonderful people who read this, thank you. Thank you for remembering Abigail.

Happy birthday, precious angel. I hope you will still keep me forever like you said you would.


gifts for Abigail

*I was supposed to post this 2 days ago on June 10th and didn't.* Sorry.

Abigail's birthday is in two days. She would have turned five. That's hard to imagine, because she never made it past three years old in my mind. Turning four and then wasting away to nothing doesn't seem to qualify as being four, so it's strange to think she'd be five. And of course she's not any of those ages now, so that's just doubly weird for me. I'll write more about that subject on her birthday, I think.

Aaron and I would like to invite you to celebrate Abigail and give her a present this year. We think the thing she would like best is for you to do good, be good, or serve someone...above and beyond what you are already doing.

Here are some suggestions:
donate blood
go to church!
research your family history
play with your kids for a solid hour!
pray for someone you don't like, or just
write a letter-by hand- and mail it!
smile when you don't feel like it
refrain from TV and read something uplifting
drop off a flower or treat to someone
or anything you feel prompted to do that falls in the 'do good, be good' category. :)

It doesn't have to be on her birthday, June 12. Just anytime this month. We would love to read what you choose to do (and what you DO) in comments under this post, keeping in mind that NO gift is too small, no act of kindness ever wasted. There will be no comparing, just gratitude for your thinking of Abigail. And keeping your gift anonymous works just as wonderfully!

Thank you so much. We love you all!


Monday, June 2, 2014

A Look Deep into my Heart

May was really, really hard. Words are inadequate to communicate what goes on internally and what emotions and memories do to me physically, mentally, and spiritually. It was really hard. And June and July will match or beat May, I have no doubt.

Abigail suffered so much last May. She lost some of her sparkle. Didn't smile as much. Stopped walking. Cried often with pain. Her scans in Michigan at the end of May got cancelled because the radioactive isotope needed for her nuclear medicine scan failed quality control. After a couple days we realized we didn't need scans to confirm what her pain was already telling us--that her cancer was more aggressive than ever before and spreading rapidly. Killing her. How do you wrap your mind around that??? How...how do you try so hard to do everything under the SUN to help your child and still they suffer? Watching her deteriorate was harder than the cancer journey. And the journey was incredibly hard.

Last May, we had just climbed into the van to drive to the airport to fly to Michigan when the nurse called me and said "Don't come! We can't scan her with failed isotope." We climbed back out of the van, unbuckled Abigail, and took our luggage back into the house. It was one more example of how fluid our lives had become....so very unpredictable. It left us with an open, unplanned weekend. I've never been a fan of Disneyland (not opposed to it, just not a fan), but I knew in my heart we needed to use that one last weekend to make a family memory.

I never wrote about our Disneyland trip here in CarePages. It was kind of sacred, I guess. I surprised Aaron by making the suggestion to go to California, but we were in the process of getting passports for every member in our family. Timing was crucial. We needed passports because we were heading to Mexico for treatment. So Friday morning, we drove 3 hours down to Tucson to get our passports made in person. When we left that morning, our fridge completely died. It was dripping water on the floor when we left. As we drove 3 hours south, I did some research and we called our local appliance store and bought a new fridge. After several hours of waiting for passports, and 3 more hours of driving back to Mesa, the appliance people arrived at our house just when we did. We switched all the food from broken fridge to new fridge, packed everyone in the car again, and drove 7 hours over to California (including a 1 hour detour that it seemed most motorists weren't happy about.)

Abigail was such a trooper to stay in the car that long. I sat next to her so she could have my hair. I recorded her voice on my cell phone. As my cell phone was charging, she saw the little green battery icon go up, up, and up and she said, "Look! A green smoothie!" It did indeed look like a glass being filled with green smoothie. Now you guys can think of your phone filling with green smoothie, too. :)

Saturday we carried her all over Disneyland. She rode the carousel. She loved "It's a Small World" and rode it twice. She walked/hobbled through the princess castle 5 or 6 times and was confused why the 'same' princess would ask her name again....and why they kept calling her a little boy. I guess Disney princesses aren't used to bald girls now, are they?

She fell asleep in the late afternoon so I walked her back, slowly, to our hotel. I knew we had just done something we would never do again. She slept fitfully that night next to me, and the next morning was feverish. Tylenol wasn't bringing it down. We left early to drive back to Mesa, and she slept on my lap the entire way. Her body was small enough to fit on a pillow and lay on my lap. She hurt and refused to stay in her car seat. "At this point, who cares?" I asked myself. Come lay on my lap, Abigail, where you will be at least semi-happy in your feverish, pained state. I will hold you no matter what the consequences. They really couldn't be much worse than they already were. Between Tylenol, Motrin, and oxycodone, she slept for the 6 hour drive back. Next time your child cries in the car, give thanks that they are fiesty and healthy enough to cry.

We took her into the clinic when we got home, and for the next 3 days got antibiotics for bacteria--a possible cause of her fevers. It wasn't bacteria. It was cancer. And on June 4, 2013, we drove another 1/2 day down to Tijuana to begin treatment.

That was last May. Somehow, and I'm not sure how the brain does it, but somehow, deeply emotional times are seared into the memory. And just by hearing "May 28th" it can bring up memories. It's not that I choose to look back and dredge up pain. Here's another little secret for those who might want to know: painful memories just happen. Be kind to those who hurt long after the "time" has gone by.

On May 26th  one year ago we took the last complete family pictures we'll ever take in this lifetime. We tried to coordinate and look happy. I'm not sure that we succeeded in either, although the pictures may say we achieved both.

Next week is her birthday.

A long while ago I was explaining to someone about grief. They were expressing to me how grief can lock you away, and I expressed back how it doesn't have to be that way. After a lot of thought, study,  prayer, and personal experience, I came to a few thoughts of my own.

The concern was that grief is like a steel box that traps people and locks them away from seeing the beauty that is around them. That grief is like an ocean that drowns you and you can't ever get back to living. That it completely consumes you. That is some pretty painful grief. Grief can be like that. I've seen it. It breaks my heart.

But grief can be more or different than that, too. It can be a teacher that humbles you like you've never known. Grief can be a reminder like you've never had before. Grief can draw you closer to God than anything you've ever experienced previously. It can be like that.

When I summarize it, grief without faith is like a steel box. And grief with faith is a fire that refines you and brings you closer to who God wants you to be. It comes down to faith, again.

Faith that this pain has a purpose. That it won't last forever. That I'll learn from it. That God will use it to work miracles in my life and in the lives of others. Faith that His will be done, in all things. Faith that I can give thanks in all things. Faith that others can learn from my experiences.

I remind myself of 'faithful grief' on days like today. Days that hurt so badly, tears come no matter where I am. Days like today when my painful scoop really overflows into my pain vessels. Or months like May was or June will be. I can have faithful grief.