Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reilly: A Thanksgiving reunion

For my 3 friends who are not on face book but who might check this blog...This is a great story.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Reilly: A Thanksgiving reunion

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

15 Years

This is a post about this day 15 years ago.
15 years ago today was not a relief.
It was not what I prayed for.
It was hard.
And sad.
My heart broke in ways I had not expected
And I was angry that she was gone.
Angry that she had to live all bottled up in that body that didn't work for 10 years.
Sad that people who saw her didn't really understand.
They didn't, no they couldn't, know her.
She couldn't easily show how smart and funny she was.
You had to invest in her first.
You had to be with her and give up what you expected of this little girl.
At first glance it seemed like a hopelessly unbalanced relationship
and it was.
But not in the way I expected.
Being around her I was privileged to learn her quiet truths.
She loved deeply and was loyal.
Her wicked sense of humor was so real and present that I had to laugh
despite the crazy circumstances
or occasional foul smells
that came with being around her.
I knew then,
but not as much as I do now,
that I was one of the lucky ones.
No not lucky,
just very blessed.
Not many got to lay lulled beside her singing songs,
playing with strands of golden hair,
praying she was falling asleep,
only to be jolted to the reality of her sudden escape
by the harsh onslaught of water beds waves!
Or while feeding her
Look away for just a second
and be reminded how fast she was
as bits of food
flew across the room.
Time with her was seldom boring. 

A better example of a Godly family
could not be found.
I got to see it up close.
Truly blessed I tell you!
I don't think everyone knew how much love
her mother poured into her
or how much sleep she lost in the process.
But that Mom was a constant fortress,
standing tall to meet every obstacle
never considering how much easier it would have been
to sit a few battles out.

Not many saw how her brother struggled to love
in the face of the injustice of
his baby sister's condition
and all that her struggles meant for his life.
Smart, cool, quiet, very competitive
easily embarrassed.
He tried to look bored or annoyed,
but he loved her so much that
he couldn't help but show it.

Her Daddy loved her intensely.
When he looked at her I often wondered if he noticed
that she had "issues."
He was fun, loving, and sincere.
Did he realize how damaged his daughter was?
He treated her like she was
the greatest little girl
in the world
and he was content with her.

And then there was the baby.
Oh he was a joy! Born in the thick of it.
Made his Mama lay in bed for months,
which was harder on her than anything.
He was a mess at times, but overall
he was a happy, smiling,
toe head boy who had no idea that his sister
or her circumstances
should be any other way.
Everyone loved that sweet boy!

They were a great little family and they made me,
and many other sitters who came to help,
feel like we were a part of the family.
I loved being around them.
I loved their little girl.
And then, she was gone.

Her death should not have been the shock it was to me.
Given her circumstances, most expected death.
I didn't.
It had been bad before, really bad,
but she got better.
That day she didn't.
I knew it was serious.
I only left to take an algebra test
I had to take it,
I called to check on her from school
as soon as I left class.
The nurse told me that she had expired.
Before my brain could recall what it meant
to medically expire, I blurted out
"Will she be OK?"
That poor nurse didn't know what to say.
She just told me to get there as soon as I could.
Then it hit me.
I don't remember hanging the up the phone,
or driving to the hospital.
I do remember standing in the hospital elevator
thinking that the nurse had to be wrong
until the steel doors opened to

Even after seeing her parents tell her lifeless body goodbye
as she lay in the hospital bed,
I still didn't get that she was gone.
The shock set in,
but the tears and pain didn't come until later
that night
at the funeral home.
Out of habit I instinctively reached
to feel her forehead for fever.
I was shocked at the cold and firm tissue I encountered.
In that unforgetable horrible moment,
I knew she was gone.
Fighting the pain that suddenly ripped my heart open
I fought not to jerk my hand away from her.
Tears streaming I mouthed the words I felt her mom needed to hear.
I didn't lie.
She did look beautiful and peaceful,
but it wasn't Megan anymore.
She wasn't there.

A few minutes later a well wisher
who didn't really know her,
but knew of her and how hard her life had been
suggested to me that we were all better off.
The pain gave birth to an anger so intense
that it strained all my 24 years of will power
to keep from popping her in the jaw.

I had never felt grief and anger so intensely intertwined as I did that day.
My anger reached past the woman at the funeral home all the way to Heaven.
How could he take her?
She was only 10!
She wasn't supposed to go!
How could he do that to her parents and her brothers?
If it hurt me, a sitter, so deeply,
what would it do to her family?
How could he let her slip away from us like that?
On a Tuesday?
Before Thanksgiving?
I had unknowingly
and unwillingly
entered that unearthly process we call grieving.

15 years later, I'm not angry anymore. It's still so sad to me what happened that day, but time has tempered the sadness with love, gratitude, and maybe even a drop of wisdom.

That family is still incredible.
Before my very eyes I watched as God slowly but steadily stitched their broken hearts back together with the steel cables of his love and grace. They are stronger and more in love with Him than ever.

The older brother is a young father in love with his sweet wife. The hospital visits, doctors, and medical equiptment that were such a part of his childhood because of her must have had some bearing on the path he choose for his life. He is a doctor, a healing man of God.

The baby is a young man who continues to capture the hearts of those who know him. He was in an accident that could have killed him a few years ago. After the accident, memories of that painful day we lost his sister came rushing to the surface reminding me of how real the pain of loosing her was. But the baby who had grown into a fine young man fully recovered. He is still a joy.

The Mom.. what an incredible woman she is! She became a teacher and continues to weld her true grit woman of God strength into all who are blessed enough to sit at her feet. I have not been able to see her much but when I do see her, I am amazed at how she is still so young at heart and full of love and life. I am blessed to have known her.

The Daddy with the broken heart is a preacher. Always was. I don't know how he did it those first years. But he shared his grief and blended his love for his daughter into the message of God he had always carried. The message just became more real and undeniable to those who heard and continue to hear him.  My husband ans I were truly honored and blessed when he agreed to do the honors at our wedding. Again I don't get to see or hear him regularly, but I keep up with him through the world wide web and am never surprised when I hear God words to me come from him.

Over these 15 years God has taken the bitterness of losing her and laced it with the joy that special girl brought to those who knew her and the blessing of knowing how one small broken girl could come to mean so much to so many.

In 15 years I have seen that He can speak through one with few words.
He can give through one with  many needs.
He can mend through one who is broken.
He can heal through the sick.
He blesses me in ways I do not deserve
and loves me in ways I can not fathom
while assuring me that we are each worth it all.
I love Him more for bringing that sweet crooked smile into my life
and for all he has done since he took her back.
Today I smile at the memory of that sweet girl as my heart silently screams THANK YOU towards Heaven for all He has done through her.
Love you Megan!