I realize that I type less and less as more and more time goes by.
A sure sign that life goes on, but nothing replaces Abigail.
I am super pleased and happy to report that I have finished her Beads of Courage!!!! This is the story: For every procedure or day of fever or inpatient day etc, she received a bead. Each small bead represents huge things. I was very particular about keeping Abigail's medical records, and so after she died I went back through my notes and pages and official records and added everything up. Her sweet, amazing oncology nurses at Phoenix Children's welcomed me back to the clinic, even without Abigail, to pick up her beads. Here are just the first five colors and Abigail's numbers (keeping in mind that she only received treatment for 6 months of the year 2013):
|Beige||Bone Marrow Biopsies/Aspirates||14||14||8||36|
|Blue||Clinic Visit │Infusion||45||21||98||164|
|Magenta||ER │Unusual Occurrence │Ambulance||6||4||9||19|
Three months later we moved to Virginia. The beads sat in the little fabric bag, tucked away in Abigail's drawer in my nightstand. Then one day, I was at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore with my friend Terri. Back in the corner, not yet out for public sale, was a dirty, dusty window haphazardly leaning on some other building material. About 5 feet tall, it was the kind of window that would be installed on both sides of a front door. I kept staring at it and knew that it was what I needed for Abigail's Beads. Since Terri volunteered at the store, I was able to buy it before it someone else did. She helped me crack out the 2nd pane of glass, and glue a backing onto the back, so the window became a large frame.
Out came the beads from the bag and I started laying them down. One thousand two hundred sixty five beads is a lot of colors and beads! I wasn't sure how it was going to come out, but I knew I needed to start in the middle with something to focus on. I thought about many words and phrases, but I kept coming back to a word and principle that has been with us from Day 1.
From there, the beads just fell into place. Sometimes I would reach into a bowl for a bead, and it would drop out of my hands so I had to pick up another one, one that fit perfectly where the next bead was supposed to go. Abigail was helping me. I was with her for almost every single one of those beads, and there are many more memories than even the beads can represent. I'm happy that she helped me put her project together.
So, after I hot-glued the beads down, I realized that hot-glue wasn't going to be strong enough to hold them. So I covered the project to keep it dust free and it sat for months waiting for me to get up my courage to pour resin on top of it. I was so fearful of ruining the whole thing! Terri again came over and helped me and it worked perfectly! The sunroom was too cold; 50 degrees doesn't set resin very well. So I brought the project into our living room and built a nice toasty fire to help cure it.
After that was done, it took me another several weeks to paint the outside frame. Finally, the beads were down, the papers secured, the frame painted. Aaron helped me screw the back to the front frame. Nothing cracked or moved--yay! Then we put on wire, installed hardware on the wall, and hung it up! I know, I know, this is a lot of typing all just to say "it's done and we hung it up" but this means a lot to me!! Even the children comment on how much they enjoy looking at it.
Here are a few pictures. It looks much better in person, so if you ever want to drop in to see it in person, you are invited. :)
My, how we miss her. And how grateful I am that she isn't collecting any more of these beads. Heavenly Father really is in charge and His plan is the best plan. Always has been, always will be.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."Isaiah 55:8-9