I make myself a checklist of meals because in moments like this...it is easy to forget.
When Ryan's dad died, we had to visit him in the hospital before we took him off of a life support. Those first moments of walking into the ICU and seeing John with all those tubes and wires..will remain forever implanted in my mind.
When baby Ryan drowned, I wasn't able to travel to see him until several weeks after the accident. When I did arrive on the 7th floor of Denver Childrens Hospital, I ran to my sister and held her in my arms. Then, I walked over to run my fingers over baby Ryan's face. To see him in so much pain, with so little control over his body, caused me to cry out to God, "Why?".
As a little girl, who struggled with a slew of health problems, both with my lungs and then with my heart, I spent many late nights wondering if my battle would ever end and if I would have the strength to keep going.
Our sweet big sister is in a hard state right now. It seems as if there has been damage to her brain...and we don't know when she will wake up. I wish I could tell you a clear prognosis, but even the doctors and the nurses don't know. Mike is doing better today, but he isn't out of the woods. They both have a long road ahead.
The night before I left Austin, I got a horrible case of the hiccups. This was an unusual on two fronts.
One: I rarely get the hiccups anymore...I haven't had them for at least two or three years.
Second: My sister, Pam, taught me her fool-proof way of getting rid of the hiccups when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Her method of placing a spoon in a full glass of water and pressing it against my head as I took long gulps has worked every time.
So when I tried it on Sunday evening, I was dismayed when my hiccups didn't go away. Of course! I felt like screaming. Of course, my sister's trick would no longer work. I wanted to take that empty glass and throw it against my floor, angry and confused about how unfair life can be.
But then I remembered Pam. Her steadfastness, her ability to stay calm under pressure, her stubborn determination to keep on trying no matter how difficult the obstacle might be. And so, I poured myself another glass of water, pressed that spoon to my forehead, and drank gulp after gulp.
When I sat the glass down for a second time, I could sense that my body had calmed. The hiccups were gone, and I wept for my sister and all the words and moments we've shared.
Susanne and I are going to Houston this weekend to help Joshua acclimate to this immense change. His Aunt Pam and Uncle Tripp are going to move into the Brown's house temporarily so that Josh can go to school. Thank goodness for family. Pam and Mike will be in Florida for the foreseeable future. Members of my family and Mike's family will be by their sides over the coming weeks.
Please continue to lift my family up in your prayers. We still can't believe that Jeremy is gone. We are still praying that we won't lose Pam or Mike.
The outpouring of love we've received has been monumental. After each tragedy, I find myself feeling the presence of God through the hands of friends and strangers. Thank you donating money to help with travel costs. Because of your generosity, I'm here and will soon be in Houston. Thank you writing me emails, calling me from foreign countries, sending texts and leaving voicemails. Without your love and support, I would be crumbling. Instead, I feel bolstered by the hands of hundreds.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
PS. I am sorry I haven't been able to personally respond to so many of you...please know that your words and thoughts and prayers are deeply felt.