One year ago at this time I was setting up camp with my family in the ICU waiting room of the Florida Hospital in Zephyrhills filled with two conflicting emotions-fear and joy. The morning of January 9, 2013 my cousin and his wife gave birth to their first born…a baby girl named Ruth. So happy for them and thrilled for my family to have a new little bundle to love and spoil. I never imagined a few short hours later by lunchtime my world would be turned upside down and has yet to be righted.
While teaching I received a text that my aunt was at the hospital with pneumonia. I told my mom, who at the time worked with me, so we could rearrange our schedules and she could go up after school. Just 15 minutes later, I received another text that stated that they were putting my aunt on life support. I was in told shock. My mind filled with so many thoughts…tell my mom, make sure she gets to Zephyrhills safely, get my daughter taken care of so I could go up after school, get a hold of my aunt who was in a meeting, and this CAN’T be happening…I NEED my aunt.
Days passed as she was in a coma with her lungs bleeding and filling with fluids. I would work and go up and sit in her room holding her, talking to her and trying to be so strong. A few times we got some positive news but it quickly would vanish as more despairing news would come.
Then came the time I had to let my little 6-year-old girl know her Nana was “really sick” and may be going to live with God. This was not a new concept to her as she dealt with the death of her Papa Richard, the man who took care of her since she was a year old, when she was in kindergarten. She of course wanted to see her Nana. I was unsure…do I take her to see Nana filled with tubes and wires…do I not so she can remember Nana camping, playing, swimming, loving her, etc.
Finally progress was made and the ventilator was able to be removed, she was moved to rehab, and even made it home. She even was well enough to attend the baby dedication of Ruth.
Although so thrilled that she was able to be there, a sense of peace never came to me that her illness was resolved and she would continue to improve until she was back to where she was previously. I have never really been a glass half full girl.
My greatest fears came true this past summer when we received the news that there was no cure for what had happened for her lungs and her only chance for a bilateral lung transplant.
My heart broke. Yes her title maybe aunt, but to me she is another mother. I was so blessed that while growing up she and her family lived only 15 minutes from us. Our families did EVERYTHING together. God had blessed her with a son but not a daughter so I got to fill that spot. In fact back then and even now if we are together other often think we are mother and daughter because even though she came into my family by marriage we look sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much alike.
And then it broke again as I talked with my little girl letting her know that Nana needed a new pair of lungs but I know I had to…I believe in being honest.
As of now we are still waiting for a set a lungs, we have had one close chance…but that is for another post.
As a family we have been there to support each other and we all have are ups and downs as we travel this path…but one thing we all know for sure it is in God’s hand and we can rest in whatever he does as his perfect will.
I love you my precious aunt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!