|Halloween weekend 1993 at Fred Hutchison- Swedish Hospital, Seattle|
Today I helped at the church for the service for a 5 year old who died of a mitochondrial disorder. I didn't plan on actually attending, just hanging out in the reception area during the service to make sure everything was ready. I watched about 2 minutes of the slide show and their pictures of central lines, hospitals, and normal kid stuff with medical equipment was too close to our pictures of life with Taryn; I just couldn't watch anymore and went into the office to call my friend Mary Linda. You see, she's been there done that too.
I grew up knowing that children die, I remember hoping I died before my 12th birthday because I thought that grown-ups wouldn't have as much fun in heaven. My mom's baby sister died in about 1963 of a Wilm's Tumor (now one of the most curable childhood cancers). When I was little my grandma always seemed sad, recently I realized that it had only been about 10 years since Terri died. Taryn died 17 years ago and there are days that it seems like yesterday. When I was 7 or 8 my aunt's baby boy died from a birth accident (I still don't know exactly what happened). 3 boys from my class died our Senior year. I knew people who knew people that lost babies to SIDS but it never personally touched me. When I was pregnant with Nathan a couple from our Bible Study lost their baby boy, Matthew, from placenta abruptio. At his funeral it devastated me to think that they were going to have to leave their little boy on Guam when they transferred back stateside.
When Taryn was diagnosed with leukemia at 6 months, they told us she probably would die that night or that first week. We had 18 months more months as a precious gift. That first night I held her in my arms, rocking and nursing her and mourning all the things she'd never be able to do and all the firsts I'd never get to see. I got to see her crawl, walk, talk, potty-train herself, I got to see her personality develop and learn her likes and dislikes. When she relapsed and died it was hard but it wasn't devastating- I knew that day was coming and I knew that I was letting her go to be healed perfectly.
2 years ago when Ahvri died the hardest part was that we didn't have any good memories to balance out the sadness. We never got to know her, she never became "real."
A week after Taryn died I got a phone call that another little girl had died at Children's. Nathan came in to the kitchen where I was crying at the table, overwhelmed by sadness. He asked me, "Why are you crying, mom? Don't you know Quinn is in Heaven with Taryn and Scotty?" He wasn't even 5 yet, but already understood, this world is not our home we're just passing through. We're not promised a perfect life, we're promised a Perfect Saviour and our job is to live our life to his glory. Just because we are Christians doesn't mean that we are sheltered from the results of our fallen world- we live in a world of sin and death and decay.
I guess maybe what I am trying to remind myself is that every day is precious. I get caught up in the everydayness of life and forget to be thankful for the little things, like the 5 boys and the little girl that God gave us because He has a sense of humor, for the healthiness of the kids, for the individuality of each of the kids, for the chance to be their mom. They are who they are because they were each especially chosen for me. When children are little and cute its easy to celebrate the firsts, everything they do is new and wonderful, it's just as important to mark and celebrate the firsts as they enter their teen years.
|2008- just before Nathan left for the Army|
So, tomorrow I'm sending Jonah off to his first Boy Scout camp, his first week away from me other than with grandparents, his first "big" boy event. Isaac is going as the big brother and the one responsible for the spending money and seeing that Jonah's okay. Monday I'm letting Rush drive us to Eastern WA and I'll try not to freak out too much. I'm letting Arin grow his hair out for Locks of Love even though its in his eyes and driving me nuts (Ryan's having a harder time- long, greasy hair reminds him of working at the prison).