One year ago today, we took sweet Lucy home from an overnight stay in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). It was her first and last trip to the ER, first and last hospital stay since she was born. It’s hard to say for sure what would have happened if we would have stayed in the hospital. Maybe we would still be there? Most likely it would have been the first of many hospital stays to come.
I don’t like holding onto dates in my head. I don’t like reliving some of the horrible things we endured last year. But I’m learning its part of this process. Part of this journey I am on.
And it makes me think of a conversation V and I had at the breakfast table one day, months ago. She is in a phase now where she says she doesn’t want to grow up. “I want to stay 4”. Wise words, really. When I stop to think about it, 4 is not so bad. If I could’ve stayed that age too, perhaps I would have. Maybe we all should!
Anyways, I said something to her about eating her breakfast so she can grow big and strong. “I don’t want to get big” “I don’t want to be strong”. And my immediate response to her was “I hate to tell you this, but you already are strong. And that is blessing and a curse my love,”.
And she is strong. After all, this August she stepped out the door, into her third school in one year. She is able to in one breath say “We miss Lucy a lot” and in the next breath crack a joke and make me laugh. She has experienced constant change for as long as she can remember, and she is the happiest one here.
Strength is a blessing. It allows you to do the right thing. Strength allows you to make decisions that you believe are right, even though they require you to experience pain.
Strength is a curse. It means that once you’ve made a decision, you stick with it. You go through whatever it is you’ve committed to. You never give up. You hold onto what is dear to you. And sometimes that means letting go.
Today I commend my husband for making, what I hope and believe, was the most difficult decision we will ever make in our lives. Today I commend my oldest daughter for holding her sister in her heart. Today I commend our dear family and friends that still stand by us. Today I commend the people that work in palliative and hospice care. Today I commend all of the physicians and nurses that have compassion for their patients and their families, and especially those that we met with Lucy.
And today I realize that the strength of all of those people and my own individual strength are a blessing.
My name is Lou and I am a mom of two girls living outside of Chicago. I never would have imagined this, but our oldest daughter is at home and our youngest is not. She will be in our hearts forever. Lucy was an amazing soul and we continue to learn lessons from her today.