Monday, February 24, 2014

Yet, another kind of JOurneY

Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

When I started this blog a few years ago, it was with the intent to share our grief journey with you.  And that I have done.  From the toughest moments to some of our sweetest moments, you have read about them all.  Tonight I am continuing to write but about a new journey we are that started October 4th, 1999, the day I became a Mom. 

A Mom...I had wanted to be a Mom since I was a little girl.  God blessed Mike and I with Quinci over 14 years ago.  I was devastated the day we found out she would have struggles throughout her life because of spina bifida.  She has brought us all so much joy.  We know this wasn't God's plan for her life, but we do know that He is our Healer and Rock through it all.  Lately, Kevin and I have been boldly praying for Him to bless her with a miracle, the kind of miracle that most Christians only think happened over 2000 years ago.  He is the same God today, yesterday, and tomorrow.  God makes miracles everyday and many go unnoticed as a miracle from Him.  I have always known that Quinci would touch people in ways that were extra special.  I can see her having an amazing testimony to share someday!

So, I tell you where we are now and why.  Because of spina bifida, she has a limited sense of feeling  in her legs.  Three weeks ago, she was taking a shower using her hand-held shower head and noticed the water was too hot.  Instead of turning it to cooler water or turning it off, or even getting out of the shower, she called for one of her sisters to turn it to cooler water.   She placed the shower head down by her legs (she sits in the shower on her knees so the water pooled around her) and waited for her sister to come in which took a little while because she was using the other shower.  Anyway, Quinci continued on by finishing her shower and called for me to help her get dressed.  And, that's when I discovered a sight I never want to see....two precious legs burnt from the knee down.  The water was so hot just running along side her legs that unfortunately she couldn't feel it.  We took her to the ER and followed up with her pediatrician everyday for the next week and then twice a week for the next two.  The burns weren't healing as fast as he would have liked so he referred us to the University of Iowa hospital burn unit.  The burn doctor examined her and immediately explained that she needed skin grafts with a 7 to 10 day hospital stay.  Once again, I was blown a fog.  Kevin and I  had been caring for them for three weeks and they were healing, but because of compromised circulation, they weren't healing fast enough and they needed grafts.  We made the trip the very next day for skin grafts taken from her upper thighs for her lower legs. 

The biggest blessing of  all...she is not in pain from the burns or the donor sights.  Usually, skin grafts are very painful.  We do realize, however, that IF she could have felt the hot water in the first place, we wouldn't be here.  We can't look back, so for now we are counting this as a blessing.

This is a new journey for us.  A journey that Kevin and I haven't traveled before.  One that he knew he would probably be on at some point being her dad, but not one either one of us had wanted. We knew she was going to have some expected surgeries coming up for her independence, but this...a complete accident.  Kevin has been amazing through it all.  He helped me with wrapping her legs every morning before work/school and every evening before bed.  He helped her transfer in and out of her wheelchair (she hasn't been able to wear her leg braces and needed extra help) and he helped her get up on her bed.  It's not easy transferring a young adult, in fact, it's a lot of physical work at times.  Everyday I thank God for Kevin for so many reasons but lately I realize at what perfect timing in our lives He blessed the girls and I with Kevin.

While  I stay at the hospital with Quinci,  Kevin travels daily (3 hr round trip) to see us while his parents pick the little girls up from school, feed them dinner, and help with the nightly routine until Daddy gets home for tucking in at night.  I have so many things to be thankful for through these past couple of days.  The Lord continues to show up and amaze me with His love....even when I wonder "why are we here and why are we going through this?"  I learned through grieving Mike's death to ask God "why" is to question Him, and if I am questioning Him, am I trusting Him?

Monday, December 30, 2013

My Grandma Goes Home

You may not understand much when you are hurting and the pain of loss is ripping through your soul, but know and hold on to this one truth: God loves you, and He has a future for you. Hope in Him and trust Him to turn your mourning into JOY.

Roughly six weeks ago, my family changed. My (maternal) grandma had a stroke.  This stroke made it difficult for her to walk, eat, and eventually talk.  She was so active until this stroke, she drove anywhere and was even a caregiver for a 99-year-old man, two days a week!   Kevin and I visited her in the hospital, and at the time, she was talking to us, leaving us much hope for her recovery.  Unfortunately, the stroke(s) continued and she had to be moved to a nursing home.  A nursing home...the last place my grandma EVER wanted to live.  She talked about NOT wanting to ever live in a nursing home.   And there she a reclined wheelchair, not being able to move her body like it once had moved, or talk to her loved ones who she loved so very much.

I knew I didn't want to take our girls to see her in this state.  God opened the door up for Kevin and I to visit her last Friday, (writing this on Monday) and I am so glad we did.  We no more than arrived at the nursing home and it was time for her physical therapy.  We decided to go with her to therapy, I talked to her quite a bit at first, only finding a glazed look back at me.  Kevin suggested I take her hand and kneel down to I talked and held her hand, the biggest smile came from her.  She recognized me!  It was like a baby recognizing his mommy for the first time.  No words spoken, just a big smile!  A priceless smile that brought tears to my eyes!  She could hear us, we knew, but for her to respond was so exciting.  When we left the nursing home that day, I told Kevin that I would be praying for God to take her out of this state.  No matter what that meant...His will be done.  Early this morning, that's exactly the answer to prayer I received. She has gone on to be with the Lord.

I learned a lot about grief and finding strength from my grandma.  Two husbands, two male companions, and two children preceded  her in death.  I remember thinking to myself when Mike died, my grandma has been through this so many times, I can surely do it once.  She loved her family more than life itself.  The reunion with my grandma and my Aunt Kim (who died at the age of 26, 17 years ago in a car accident) in Heaven, makes me smile, just like the smile my grandma gave me last Friday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Our JOurneY Continues...

I lift my eyes to the hills-from where will my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

 Grief has filled my heart more over the past few weeks than it has in a long time.  I have been weary at times when the thought of Mike would pass through my mind.  I didn't have a "reason" for this, I just thought it would pass rather quickly and be gone.  But, days was still happening. I would find myself crying at times.

The other night while praying, I asked God to "reveal to me" what this grief was about and what needed to come to the surface to be healed.  I knew in His time, it would and He would heal me once again from these feelings of grief.  The very next night...He did just that!

Kevin and I were discussing the girls starting a new school year and all that this year would bring.  We have 2 eighth graders, 1 fourth grader, and a Kindergartener!  I have always been a stay at home mom and now, I would be at home with no kiddos.  I would have time to myself and time to do the extras that for years have got past over.  Sounds all good, right?  Well, not really to me.  My life mission was to be a mom and to be needed.  My grandma tells the story of me telling her when I was a little girl that I "was going to stay home with my kids when I grow up."   Now, I would be home and no one else would be.  I was feeling very "un" needed and wondering what I was going to do.  

After our talk, I rolled over to go to sleep, but found myself sobbing...hard and uncontrollably.  Kevin was concerned and as we talked, God answered my prayer...He was revealing to me where the grief had been coming from the past few weeks.  My baby girl was starting Kindergarten and her daddy Mike wasn't here to share it with her.  Kevin reminded me how Mike has never left her side and would be there with her.  I know that and understand it, but I still found myself feeling bad for her.  She hasn't said a word. Kevin is her daddy and Mike not being here for her starting school hasn't crossed her mind.  It's all been me...   I love how God answers our prayers.  He is such a good God!  

Kevin is the best husband to me and daddy to the girls, but nothing will change what our past holds.  It still holds memories of Mike and grief.   Kevin understands it and helps me through it in times such as these. 

When Kevin got home from work the next day, I was greeted by him with a dozen red roses.  He spoke the most amazing words.  He explained to me how important I am to this family, no matter if kids are home with me or if they are at school.  He loves having me home and knowing that I take such good care of our family.  I know this is will be a great year for all of us, I find myself truly humbled.  I am so blessed with a healthy family and an awesome God we serve!