The Final Days

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For the past 5 months God has given us a beautiful gift. He has given us the eyes to see so much good in an awful situation. This entire time although we have been overwhelmed with sadness, we cannot deny God’s work. Annie has changed people’s hearts. The Holy Spirit is moving in ways we’ve never seen, and it’s beautiful. There has been something weighing heavy on my heart these past few weeks, and it took someone else putting it into words for me to fully grasp what the feeling meant. I know my God is the Great Physician, a healer, a performer of miracles, but I truly feel that He has allowed us to see the good in this despair because He is using it in such an influential and undeniable way. Annie is making such an impact on the world exactly the way she is. I got an email from a trusted friend and advisor, and she relayed to me what she felt the Lord was telling her. I don’t want to botch it, so I am going to quote her.

“Annie was never meant to be a child of this earth. Her purpose was never to experience the trials of this life. She is a child of heaven. Yet, her life does have significance here. She is like the pebble thrown into my lake. The pebble so briefly touches the surface of the water before it disappears into the depth, but the impact of that brief contact creates impact ripples that spread across the surface until it hits the bank. Annie is like the pebble, she comes from her home with Jesus and briefly makes intact with this earth, but the impact of her brief contact will create impact ripples across the fabric of this life that will spread out until they hit heaven’s shores.”

I feel like this is exactly what I have been feeling but couldn’t bring myself to say. I can’t lie to you, I am not a huge fan of this plan. It sucks for me and for my husband and my family, but we aren’t privy to the entire thing. I do have a tremendous peace about it though, because I trust in a Father who feels my pain. He had to watch his son die in order for lives to be saved, and He knows exactly how I feel. I’m not trying to compare Annie’s journey to Jesus’, I’m simply saying that I feel God is showing us the magnitude of Annie’s impact if she travels the path laid out before her. The crappy part is that on this path we have to watch our daughter die.

We had our ‘for real’ last OB appointment today. My doctor told me that every option had been explored and they had secured an OB-ICU room for us on the day of delivery. This way, if they have to intubate Annie we can stay together. I felt a humongous weight lifted from me in that moment. I was terrified that Robert and Annie would leave me to go the NICU and I would miss precious moments with my daughter. We also discussed having one of my sisters “suit up” and be ready to come into the operating suite should Rob and Annie have to head to the ICU room before they are done with my surgery. Again, more weight was lifted off of me. I don’t have to be alone. The appointment ended with me looking into my doctor’s eyes and saying, “I’m ready,” he hugged me, and we left.

We took the checkout sheet up to reception and handed it to the clerk to schedule our 6 week post-partum visit. She looked at us and said, “post-partum visit! Next time you come here you’ll have your baby with you!” I started trembling, tears welled up in my eyes, and it felt like that woman punched me in the stomach. I took a few steps backward and hit the wall. I slouched down and then felt myself hunch over in pain. I have no idea how loud I was crying, and I don’t really care. I felt my husband’s arms cover me like a blanket and stroke my hair. I heard him whisper loving things into my ear. I heard him tell me to breathe. When I finally gathered myself enough to stand, she had made the appointment for us and we left (I was told she apologized numerous times and felt horrible). I was shaking so badly and breathing like I had run a marathon, so we sat in the corner of the waiting room for awhile until I was fully composed. We have been getting comments like that this whole time from strangers and even acquaintances who don’t know our story, and I’ve been able to shut down emotionally and fake my way through conversations. Not anymore. I’m done. This is happening in 7 days. I can’t hold it in one more second. I’m so, so crushed.

I want so badly to be angry at that woman. I want to scream at her. I want to scream at SOMEONE. But because I see the good I can’t be angry. I can be devastated, I can be confused, I can be emotionally shattered, I can be exhausted, terrified, disappointed, upset, but how in the world can I be angry when my precious baby is spending her entire existence doing the Lord’s work? She is doing more for His glory in her short time on this earth than I could have ever hoped for her. I’m not happy. I’m all of the emotions listed above and then some, but please believe me when I say I’m not angry. (yet, anyway…)

The main feeling I have in this moment is fear. I have described it as standing in the middle of the road with a truck barreling toward me. I can see it getting bigger every day, and no matter what I try to do I cannot move. I know it’s going to hurt like hell, but there is nothing I can do about it. I can see this day coming, and I know it’s going to hurt, but how do you prepare yourself for what it’s going to feel like? (seriously, if you know, please tell me.) I’m fearful of how great the pain is going to be, and I’m fearful of how we are going to handle it. I know in my heart that we are going to be ok. I just don’t know what the days in between now and then are going to look like.

We are spending the weekend before Annie’s birth celebrating the life of a great man. My brother in law lost his father to cancer this week, and it has been a challenging time for the whole family. I take such great comfort that in the time before his death, he talked to my sister about how happy he was that he could be in heaven waiting for Annie. This man was one of the most loving grandparents I have ever seen, and although my heart is broken for my nieces and nephews whose experiences with him were cut short, my heart dances thinking that he will be there to greet my baby. When I got the phone call about his passing, Dylan (my 4 year old) asked me why I was crying.

Me- “Your cousins’ grandpa went to heaven this morning. Remember how we talked about how great it is when people go to heaven? He isn’t sick anymore and he’s with Jesus. But we’re really sad because we’re going to miss him so much.”

Dylan- “Mom, that’s so great! There’s no more darkness.”

This girl. She has the ability to yank me back to reality regardless of where I am headed in my mind. Robert reads the girls a bible story every night from their children’s bible, and everything is put in very simple terms for children to understand. Jesus came and died for us to take away the darkness. How beautiful is that that my daughter knows, remembers, and teaches this?  

I’m also reminded that regardless of the outcome, Annie will be healed, and soon. Whether it’s through a miracle and she stays here with us or she goes home to her Father, she will be whole. Praise God.

Please keep praying.

If you would like to donate in Annie’s name to help unite a beautiful family, please do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/homesweethoma

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4 thoughts on “The Final Days

  1. Abbey and Robert, the greatest feeling that has been present throughout this has been love. God’s love, your love for your family, love from family and friends. This love has been the conductor of this journey, and fear has just been trying to jump on board. Your grief is not fear, and will not be from fear, but from a desire to love Annie’s precious time here. How do people handle this grief and loss? Many ways. When I lost my dad and we showed up at your house to stay for the service, you came up and hugged me. I mean HUGGED ME. You didn’t let go and I felt myself just melt and let the sadness come out. It was a hug of pure compassion and love and that is what I give you from across the miles, and that is what you will give Annie and what you will receive from your loved ones. You two have already endured an incredible emotional burden in order that God’s plan for Annie would be carried out and His strength will see you through this part as well. Love you all, Terri

  2. I remember after my son Tyson died they kept me on the maternity floor at first. Every time I heard the rock a bye baby song come on announcing someone else gave birth it was like (what I imagine) being shot. And later that day a new nurse came on duty and started to talk to me about breast feeding versus bottle feeding. She rambled for a minute or two and then I not so calmly took her clipboard from her and threw it across my room. I WAS angry. Incredibly. I was mad at myself, God, my loser boyfriend who I blamed for getting me into this mess. I was mad that my friends were picking outfits for senior pictures and I was picking out tiny caskets. I was angry at everyone around me. And it ate me up inside for many years. I say all this because I can’t tell you how glad I am that you’re not angry. I wouldn’t wish the loss of a child on anyone, and I most certainly wouldn’t wish for anyone else to be as angry as I was. Even if the time comes (and it probably will) where you are angry,I know God will bless you with peace for not wavering in your faith in him. Sorry for the novel. Love you Abbey and family

  3. Abbey, you don’t know me. I don’t know you. But, your story was mentioned to me by two different friends of mine who have no connection to each other. Odd, don’t you think? Or, just God working. Pretty sure it’s the latter. Your story is inspirational in so many ways. You show me how my faith is weak, how my problems are not really even problems, and how God’s love is ever present in the worst of situations. I am praying for you and your family.
    Never doubt God is using you and Annie in ways you don’t begin to know about or understand. Peace and love to you.

  4. Abby I pray for your family everyday, your story has been soo hard to read and I can’t help but to cry. I admire your strength and your husbands. Annie is such a beautiful soul, who can’t help, but to make you fall in love with her. I believe God has lead you to share your story to not only witness to others but to teach us not to take life forgranted. Although Annie will never physically walk this earth she has left an everlasting mark that can only come from the faith you have in God. I can only wish you peace as your due date approaches and pray that God gives you and your family peace as you hold your little girl on her birthday. Know that she will forever live in the children who are oh so lucky to be recipients of her organs. You and Robert have been so selfless with your decisions. I know God has an everlasting plan for you and your family.

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