I didn't try to remember this day. It just popped in my head last night as I prayed. Some memories are just burned so deeply that they appear without any effort.
June 24th, two years ago, was the day I stopped trying to keep my little girl alive. It was the day she had an emergency scan done to see what was happening inside. She was scheduled for an MRI, but her vital stats kept crashing so the anesthesiologist and radiologist called the oncologist and got permission to do a CT scan instead. A 15 minute scan instead of 60.
It was the day we officially started hospice, although it had been discussed before and the process had slowly begun. Twenty-two incredibly-lengthy days of watching her die, after her six months of prolonged deterioration after her two year battle.
June 24th was the day my already shattered heart clung tightly to the Lord's promise that He would bind up the broken-hearted.
There is an acronym I came across frequently in the cancer world: NEGU. Never, ever give up. I never really liked that statement. Not saying it's wrong, it just wasn't for me or us. We never gave up on Abigail, because we never gave up on the Heavenly Father. But there came a time, June 24th to be exact, where we had to choose to stop doing something and instead start doing something else. That is not giving up.
On June 24th, I stopped looking at the 2 page chart that listed the 40-50 supplements, pills, and drops that I gave Abigail daily. Her regimen simplified really, really fast. Pain medication and stool softener. Setting her chart aside and abruptly realizing "I'm not trying to keep her alive anymore" would have killed me if not for the support, peace, and strength God himself was providing us.
Instead, on June 24th, we started the last part of her mortal journey with acceptance. I have pictures during those 22 forever days, and I'm smiling in them. When I first looked at them, a couple weeks after her death, I was appalled that I was smiling. It hurt so badly that I was smiling. I didn't understand. And then He gave me understanding. I was smiling because I was at peace and because Abigail needed me to smile. I would do anything for her, and that was the last thing she needed from me. Ironic that it's probably the same thing she still wants from me. And here I sit crying while I remember June 24th.
There are many absolutely agonizing decisions to be made when you fight for your child's life. The decision to let them die ranks up there in pain. Actually, the decision to let her die was easy---her body desperately needed to die. But the physical separation we knew would happen…that was the killer. Is it really time to start saying goodbye? Aiyaiyai. And it couldn't happen that she was spared more pain once that decision was made. I don't know in detail what cancer molecullarly does inside the body, but whatever it does, it is painful. I was hurt time and time again each time Abigail's strong--very strong--pain medication wasn't covering her pain. Every day was a day my faith in God was tested and purified. What an unwelcome finale to an unwanted journey.
|June 30th; To help prepare the children, Aaron took them to see the casket Grandpa had made for Abigail.|
I remember writing in Abigail's Carepage many comments such as "Thank you all so much for your prayers; they are sustaining us." Combined faith truly does bless lives. To this day I still cannot express my gratitude with adequate words for the love, prayers, fasting, and faith that was given on our behalf. I remember Elder Bednar's comment "Do you have the faith to not be healed?" Yes, faith. No wonder that it is one of the first principles of the gospel.
Faith, for whatever comes.