Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Haze

As it turns out, I have very few memories between here and here.  Most of Lilah's life has been a haze for me.  Glimpses here and there, mostly highlighted in my mind by hospital stays.  And that's probably why I have no memory of the two years between when I stopped writing the last time and when she got 'really sick'...because she was pretty healthy and living life.  Of course this is relative--Lilah was, by no stretch of the imagination, "healthy".  But she (and we) enjoyed a really sweet period of health.  I think we actually went 2 years without a single hospital stay--or at least that's what I'm guessing since I can't remember the time between when Ada started walking running (summer 2012) and when Lilah's stomach ruptured (spring 2014).  That is amazing, and even as I type it, I hardly believe it.  She spent over 2 months of her first year in the hospital and the remaining years were peppered by days and nights at Children's Hospital.  At last count, she saw 15 specialists.  She had, what seemed, almost every thing wrong with her "earth suit" as you could imagine--so the memory of 2 "peaceful years" is astounding to me.

During that time, my parents retired and moved to Knoxville.  And we had the sweetest sitters angels that helped us manage the madness here.  Paul's brother and his family moved back from Israel.  My brother got married.  I started working because I needed to, mentally.  Garrett started kindergarten and Lilah did too.  She had the sweetest teacher, and the best aides, and the funniest bus driver.  I fed her "meals" through her G-tube, while I nursed Ada.  She went with us everywhere and Paul and I didn't have a real conversation in 18 months.

I do remember, during those years, that I would roll out of the bed and into my sneakers.  Not kidding.  #hitthegroundrunning  We were treading water.  Barely.  But I will always remember, even though I can hardly recollect, that those were the sweetest years of my life.  It will never get any better this side of heaven, and we knew it.  Our babies, our family, together.

I could write for days about the ways God prepared us to be Lilah's parents (I probably have written about it before).  And, looking back, He used those two years to heal us up from the 4 before--when she was always sick--and to prepare us for the two ahead, when she got too sick for us to care for her without help.  I am so thankful that we got to have Lilah for her 7 1/2 years, but I am especially grateful for the years free from nurses and hospitals...the years where she could sit up on her own, chuckle at an especially funny Elmo episode, and eat a few goldfish.   It was such a gift.  ...Let my life overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done (Colossians 2:7)  I am thankful, and I am heartbroken.  I am profoundly sad.  All of these things can be...at the same time.  Right now, I look in the mirror and know that the scale tips massively to the side of grief, but by God's grace I look forward to the day when those scales even out.  Even beyond that day, we covet your prayers and are so grateful for  the ways that so many people have come alongside of us, as we figure out how to live the next day without our sweet girl.


Marisa said...

Gina, you are an amazingly gifted writer! Your heart bleeds all over your words. Will continue to bring y'all before the throne of grace and beg Jesus to hold you tightly. 💕

Jessica said...

Gina these are beautiful words that I hope bring some healing. What a wonderful mother you are. Much love