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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunrise

It isn't often that I'm up early enough to see the sun rise. And if I am, I'm certainly not paying attention to it. But this morning I did.

Ella woke up early and with my husband out of town and no nursing, I had to get up with her. After getting her settled I stepped out to the back patio to sip my day old coffee that had been reheated in the microwave and noticed the sun rising. It got me thinking.

A sunrise doesn't quite hold the same romanticism as a sunset. You always hear about watching the sun set. A sunrise doesn't seem to get the same credit.

Lots of people witness the sun rise every day, and in theory it's the same beautiful occurrence, but we don't typically take the time to stop and enjoy it in the same way. Everyone is busy rushing off to work or school or wherever they need to be.

On our honeymoon my husband and I went to Key West. Anyone who has been before knows what a big deal "sunset" is there. We were told of a great location we had to go to see the sunset, on top of a hotel, so at the end of our first day there we made a plan to go. We didn't allow ourselves enough time and I remember us running through the streets trying to get there but when we arrived at the top of the hotel, it was pretty much over.

The parallel to our life is obvious to me. Having a typical child is like a sunset - it's romantic; more people notice and appreciate it. Our first pregnancy, before Ella, ended halfway through and, like our experience in Key West, we got a glimpse of the sunset but missed the big show that everyone else experienced.

Instead, we got a sunrise with the arrival of Ella. It's different. Not as many people rush to see it or appreciate it, but it's ultimately just as beautiful.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where do we go from here?

***Warning: This post deals with the difficult subject of death.

I've been thinking about this post for several days now. Those of you who know us personally are aware of what has transpired with Ella's health during the last few weeks. For those who don't, to sum it up, we almost lost her on January 19th. As I write this we are still in the hospital but planning a discharge next week: we've been given a second chance.

When you're the parent of a medically fragile child, it's understood that they're mostly living on borrowed time. You never now how much longer you have left and the reality is that you will likely outlive your child...not something any parent wants to think about.

As the realness of what happened has started to set in following the fog of shock and disbelief I lived in for the first week or two, there are so many emotions running through me - gratitude, relief, sadness, and fear to name a few. The rollercoaster is moving so quickly now that I am constantly nauseous. How do I make it slow down?

I imagine it's just going to take some time, but I don't see how we can go back to normal. Things look so differently now.

It's always been in the back of my mind the very real possibility we will outlast her, but I've tried REALLY hard to not think about it too deeply. It's always been "down the road". I was not prepared for coming so close to losing her at such a young age or having to let my mind really explore the possibility...What would her funeral look like? What songs would we play? What pictures would we show? Where would she be buried?

Have I been too nieve thinking we had so much more time? Should I be preparing more both mentally and physically?

I want to give myself enough time to heal, but I don't want to dwell in it either. I think it's going to be a fine line. When I was pleading with God for more time with Ella, I promised Him that I would take whatever it was He wanted me to from this situation and use it in a positive way. So now I'm trying to figure out what that is. The sooner I do, the sooner I can start moving forward.

One of the moms in my online special needs parents group put it this way - our children are on loan to us from God until He needs them back. I guess all any of us can really do is love them as much as possible while they are here. I'm just not sure how I could love her any MORE than I already did.