She was 19 months old when diagnosed.
So I only cried 19 tears today. Not.
I miss her so much. Aaron misses her so much. Each child misses their sweet, little sister. There is absolutely no denying the hole her absence creates. My scoop out of my "blue." I think I'll repost what I wrote months ago about my blue sphere, because it's not on this blog yet.
Before I do that, I'd like to point out the new (to this blog) feature where you can enter your email and then you'll receive an email everytime I post. Like Carepages used to do. (Sad, silly Carepages.Still broken.)
Thank you for your prayers.
Anniversaries: 6 Months...and also 3 Years.
Posted Jan 15, 2014 7:36pm
In honor of the very long day we had 3 years ago today, this post might be long.
I will never forget holding my sick 1 year old, bringing her to my chest to nurse, and as she turned her head, seeing the lump in her neck. I screamed in my mind. I just knew that wasn't good.
Urgent care said "we can't help you, go to a pediatric hospital." We were soon in the ER waiting room. Abigail was so sick and lethargic. We had already been to the doctors over the past few weeks, but 'nothing' was wrong. She held completely still for the emergency CT--it took too much energy to cry. But she did have enough energy to scream bloody murder for her first ever IV in her arm. She was then wiped out and asleep in my arms when the doctor came into the room and told us there was a large, black mass in her abdomen and showed us the computer screen. Huge area of black yuck. Mass? Would could mass be?
"It could be fluid, or it could be cancer." My baby? My one-year-old? Stage 4 cancer? Yes, that was a very, very long day and night and day.
I don't know if I've written much about that day, because obviously I didn't have her CarePage up and waiting for me to begin writing. The first few days were an absolute whirlwind. I never knew being in critical care with the patient lying sedated and intubated, completely unresponsive, was SO busy! A constant stream of doctors, nurses, techs, more techs, specialists and more doctors. Decision. Discussions. What a hole to fall into! And yet we were blessed with so much peace.
When I think back to January 15, 2011, my feelings are very different than my feelings of relapse. In January we were given so much peace- peace we couldn't even understand. Surely He knew we needed it or we would have dissolved. I remember that first week asking people to pray for Abigail, but also to give thanks for the blessings He'd already given her. I just knew, without a doubt, that as sick and deathly ill as she was at the time, that she had been blessed beyond our comprehension already, and I was grateful.
In January of 2011, she almost died a few times. We said goodbye to her to let her go if it was her time. For those who haven't ever done that for a child, let me tell you it is one of the hardest things you could ever do. To say with complete honesty that you are OKAY and at peace with your child dying. But her mortal mission wasn't finished yet, and I believe she had a choice to stay for a while longer. We were and are so grateful for the peace we were blessed with during those very scary 3 weeks in the pediatric ICU. "ALL things are done in the wisdom of Him who knoweth all things."
There are lots of things I want to write about: grief and joy, different types of grief, the questions of "How are you?" and "How many children do you have?", the differences between remembering, dwelling, and moving on, etc. But for today I just want to share a little illustration I created to help myself and others understand about sorrow and joy.
Many people have in their minds that life is like a line graph. On the bottom is sorrow and despair and grief, and on the top is joy and love and happiness. Our lives go along through the middle of this graph, sometimes going up, sometimes going down. Sometimes sharply up, sometimes sharply down. This mentality depicts that if one is happy or joyful, then one is not sad or grieving. And vice versa.
Take this piece of paper with the line graph and SHRED IT. Flush it down the toilet to be eaten by enzymes in the sewer system. It is wrong. Yes, I do feel strongly about it! My life, nor anyone’s life, is a one-dimensional line graph. Fear and faith do not co-exist, but grief is not fear. Grief and faith coexist. Grief and love coexist. Grief and happiness coexist.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, "Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing."
Life isn’t one-dimensional, so let me try to illustrate with the imagination another mentality. It may get a little sci-fi-ish but bear with me.
Imagine in your mind a sphere made up of substance, but nothing you can see. It has dimension, it has boundaries. Inside this sphere is another ball but it is not clear, it is blue. It is solid. And inside this round blueness, in the very center, is the last ball—-a white sphere. It is solid, unbreakable, and immovable. All of this put together is me. There are lots of dimensions and angles to me. Lots of different ways to look at me. You may be looking at one side of me and not be able to see the other. That doesn’t mean it’s not there (ahh!!) it just means you can’t see it.
Blue traditionally represents peace and tranquility, right? So let’s say my life has the general hardships of life. My orb goes along and bumps into the standard things of life. But then, a sharp knife comes and carves out a scoop of my blueness. It may be a small baby spoon scoop, a soup spoon, or an industrial ice cream scooper...no one but Christ knows the size of my scoop. But it takes it right out of ME, and it hurts badly. My scoop out of me is that my child died. Your scoop may be something different.
(Okay, I know Abigail still lives, so I’ll say it right now that rather than saying “my child’s BODY died and is gone from me physically” I’ll just say she “died” to keep it short.)
This piece is taken from me physically. Holy moly, that physical separation hurts! It hurts like I never could have imagined it hurting, and consequently, the perimeter of that scoop is red, like a throbbing blister.
Sometimes it hurts so badly, the red overflows into my blue. But again, who can say how big the red is in comparison to the blue? How big is my wound, my loss? How deep does it go? How quantifiable is the pain, the anguish? No one should ever try to guess or answer that for me. I think the word “healing” is appropriate in an eternal mind-frame, but our physical brains have a notion that “healed” means “all better.” So I’m going to avoid the word “healed.” My loss will never be all better until I hold Abigail again.
Elder Scott also has some thoughts about healing that are very concise and applicable:
"Oh, how we all need the healing the Redeemer can provide. Mine is a message of hope for you who yearn for relief from heavy burdens that have come through no conscious act of your own while you have lived a worthy life. It is based on principles embodied in the teachings of the Savior. Your challenge may be a serious physical disability, a struggle with lingering illness, or a daily wrestle with a life-threatening disease. It may have roots in the death of a loved one, the anguish caused by another bound by sin, or come from abuse in any of its evil forms. Whatever the cause, I testify that lasting relief is available on conditions established by the Lord.Help from the Lord always follows eternal law. The better you understand that law, the easier it is to receive His help. Some of the principles upon which His healing is predicated follow. [in the rest of the talk]It is important to understand that His healing can mean being cured, or having your burdens eased, or even coming to realize that it is worth it to endure to the end patiently, for God needs brave sons and daughters who are willing to be polished when in His wisdom that is His will."To Be Healed
There are, in my mind, two main concepts that will affect my deep wound. Time, and Faith in Jesus Christ. If both of them are not there, the result will not be the same. Many people grieve without faith, and time goes on and on and they still feel lost. Also, I can have all the faith in the world, but time is necessary for the “curing” process of my heart, of essentially my faith. TIME. FAITH. Both critically necessary. (And of course there are many other helpful things like service and hope and on and on).
So back to the imaginative description. Jesus Christ is my center. He is my core, the Light of my life. As I keep turning to Him, and as time goes on, His white light inside of me slowly weaves a protective layer around the perimeter of my red, aching, throbbing hole. It doesn’t take the red all the way away. That is left for a purpose....it is left because Abigail is still gone. It is left so that I continue to rely on Christ. It is left because it is a really good (and really hard) way to grow and become LIKE Him. But He weaves all around the outside of my red, from my center, and out to the edge of my blue. It is His love that He weaves, and it protects my wound from splitting and cracking and shattering the rest of my blue.
That is how grief feels to me. It brings me closer to Christ. It hurts. It has beautiful aspects, if I allow it. And it will probably take a long, long time for His weaving to reach my outer edge of blue. Not because He can't do it quickly, but because it is part of my mission to endure. I still have blue!! I still have happiness! How grateful I am for that! I truly have so many things that bring me joy.
It is helpful to keep in mind that often when a person hurts, they reach out during a time when they are hurting, not when they are feeling good. So to the outside world, it may seem that they are always hurting. Take, for instance, my posts (not that this always has to be about me, but I can pick on me without getting my feelings hurt :). See the days between my posts here in January? January 3rd and then January 14th...many of those days in between were happy and productive and even joyful. Just remember we are multi-dimensional. If I blog about my grief, it is not the only thing that defines me.
If you read this far, you deserve a medal. :)
Today was a good day. A Happy, Blue Day. Heavenly Father surely is mindful of us, and I am grateful for His peace.
Thank you for caring. I'm including a link to Elder Scott's full talk, as it has wonderfully beautiful points....including my favorite,