Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Children Become Angels

Sorry in advance.  You probably don't want to read this, but I can barely breathe tonight, so I have to journal it out and whomever reads...well...I don't know.

I know too many people who have lost their precious little ones.  It's one of the really wrong parts of our broken world, and it's just not something any mommy should ever have to go through.  

I was introduced to Sicily Zeka about 5 months ago by blog when a friend said I should read.  See, she's had an 18 month battle with cancer, and about 5 months ago her older sister was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  I know what a huge deal that is, but when you have another daughter who's battling for her life in the short-term, I guess it barely becomes a blip on the radar.  And so, my heart just went out to them. The reason they found out about the diabetes was because they had just been re-admitted to the hospital to find Sicily's cancer, that had been in remission, was back.  When the grandma was staying at the house with the other children, she noticed the older daughter getting up at night peeing often and was concerned: thus diabetes diagnosis.  Diabetes is this massive life-changing event for a family, but somehow God seriously carried them through to where it has been barely noticeable.  

Anyway, I don't read a lot of blogs, and really didn't want to read this one due to the sad nature, but my heart just went out to them with the combined struggles with their daughters.  The girls and I prayed daily.  Sophie could of course identify with the diabetes stress and we had another friend who has lived through this same cancer that Sicily had, and so we found it easy and sweet to pray as a family for this family.  Joe and I pleaded with God for a miracle, because we know He's good.  

A few weeks ago, they were in the hospital for more chemo and found the cancer had spread everywhere and there was nothing to be done.  The family brought her home, accepted reality...believing for a miracle at the same time, and enjoyed the time they had left with her.  She was very tired and slept a lot in the last week or two, but still had much personality, like helping herself to her own drinks and saying, "I don't need any help."  Or just 2 days ago, her brother was sitting on the bed just watching her and feeling sad, and she opened her eyes and said, "stop staring, it's rude!"  And then last night as her mom was going to bed, she laid down beside her and noticed her breathing had suddenly changed and the end was near.  She picked her up and rocked her gently in the rocking chair, while her daddy told her peacefully that it was ok to go to Jesus now.  

And so she did....

And so I weep.

My girls caught me just as I had read the news.  They laughed, because kids don't know what to do with weeping mothers.  Norah kept asking "why'd she go die?"  I told her that we all die, and this sweetie was ready to be held by Jesus.  She said, "Oh.  Baby Jesus is cute."  

Sicily's mom has grown so much in the few months that I have read her blog.  She's gone from a woman with a background of faith from a liturgical side and who had a belief in God, to a woman who absolutely has felt carried by God and has a deep peace knowing Jesus is her strength and that Sicily's life has served a purpose in this short time by showing others that Jesus is the strength.

Sometimes I question why I read these things, and allow my heart to become so deeply attached to the outcome...someone I'd never met.  And though I think we could have an easier life not thinking about the deep pain others experience, I think we do the world a disservice by just being cozy and unaware or uncaring.  I have wept so much over the loss of this little one in the last 2 days and have even been a little depressed and distant.  She's only 6 weeks older than Jossie.  So, it's hard not to truly relate to the depth of their loss.

After she died and they had all taken turns holding her little body one last time, her mom laid her on the bed while waiting for the funeral home, and painted her finger and toenails.  Then her dad didn't want her taken out on a gurney and so he wrapped her in a Hello Kitty blanket and carried her little body out to the car. can I not cry?

And so I find myself really holding my babies close these last 2 days.  I find that I'm not as angry with their antics these last 2 days.  And I find I want to make my moments count with them. I want my words to be loving.  I want my tone to be gentle.  I want to express respect for them.  I want to bless them, and pray for them.  And I find myself staring at them when they're sleeping, praying for their protection and thanking God that they are in my life.

If you click on Sicily's name at the beginning of this post, it will link you to her mom's beautiful blog.  It's sad, but precious to see the transformation in a woman and a family.

Here are links to some others as well.

The first one is Joe's sister Christy's blog about the loss of her baby Phoenix.
The next one is a friend of Joe's.  They worked together at Hillcrest and they had a sweet boy with a very rare form of dwarfism.  His name was Mitchell Cupps
This one is a new friend that we go to Classical Conversations with on Fridays.  She has lost 2 of her 5 sons to a rare heart disorder, and her faith and real strength in the struggle is amazing.  Please read her journey here.

I wish those were the only ones we had to share, but like I said, we know too many angels.  I'll leave it at those, however.

Now, I don't include these links to depress anyone.  I think their stories are beautiful.  And I support their mommies and daddies desires to have their child's name not be forgotten.  To make the name of their child, the life of their child, to be significant to someone.  That their child will make a difference, inspire, encourage and bless you, even as their spirits reside with our precious Jesus.

The common theme with these blogs is one of inspiration.  The parents have been through the trenches with their faith and have come out on the other side with incredible trust in God.  They grieve.  As they should.  But, they know they are held by the Savior.  They know that good can come from their losses.

And for me they put life in perspective.

May we always feel ourselves held by the Savior in our circumstances.  May we always know He hurts with us.  May we know we are so deeply loved by Him and not forgotten or forsaken.

No matter what we face.


Jeanette said...

Wow Anj! Here I am at work Friday morning and crying like a baby. Smeared makeup, runny nose..... the works! You said this so well. I understand what you mean about why do we read these sad things. But what a cold hard world it would be if we didn't. Another story just developing is the story of Jeremiah Mitchell. The small boy who contracted menengitis from Oologah and had to have all of his limbs amputated. I heard his grandma on the radio this morning. Please keep them in your prayers. They still have a long long road to go and many challenges ahead of them.

Candy said...

Sicily's passing has hit me hard too, and it has been amazing to see her mom hold on to Jesus for hope and believe for her daughters healing. They are such a beautiful family. I wish I could have been there for the funeral. I was even amazed as her Aunt Bett would reach out to me on Ruthies blog, even after they recieved the relapse diagnosis. It blows my mind, but even when we are dealing with our own struggles we need to reach out to others, even in our pain. I believe in doing so we learn and God blesses our perseverance. We realize our strength is in Him and not in ourselves!!