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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Emma's last breaths

The days that lead to Emma's passing were difficult. She fought so long and so hard until the very end. It pained me to see my precious doll suffering so, fighting for each breath. We didn't sleep much from the time the pneumonia settled in her lungs until she breathed her last breath. I remember lying next to her frail little body trying very carefully not to move her. I'm sure her entire body ached from lack of movement and exercise, much like ours do when we have the flu or something else which causes us to stay in bed for days at a time. Any time we accidentally touched her too firmly or moved her arms or legs to change her diaper or whatever it might be, her expression was pained. No mama wants her babies to hurt, and when they do, we want to do everything we can to make it better. It was so hard being helpless. So, we would lie next to her and gently stroke her cheek or hands and sing to her. We would tell her how wonderful heaven was and how Jesus was waiting to take her in his arms and make her body she didn't need to hang around for us, we would be okay. I guess I lied without knowing it. I thought I would be okay. I had grieved losing the adorable, spunky Emma I knew for over a year. I couldn't imagine the grief being any worse. I really thought I would find some relief knowing she was in a better place. I was wrong. The mind and the heart do not always agree. I digress. Emma's pneumonia settled in on a Thursday. Our big kids spent the weekend with friends or my parents or someone, if I remember correctly (most of the time I don't nowadays.) On Sunday evening, Kelvin and I really thought Emma would cross the finish line and be finished with her race here on earth. Around midnight we decided to let the big kids come in and tell Emma good-bye. So we did. To our shock and amazement, the little doll was still with us Monday morning! We decided it would be best if we kept the kids' schedule as close to normal as possible, so we sent them to school that Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday, and even the next Monday! I could not believe how long our fragile little angel held on to life. For the next week, we tried to figure out the best way to keep Emma comfortable. We gave her medicine, suctioned her, whispered and sang to her, prayed over her, and begged God to spare her the suffering. I think I was also begging God to spare us the pain of watching her suffer. I'm not sure if that's selfish or not, but it's true. Then on Monday afternoon, a week and a half after she got sick, I was sitting in the den talking with my mother-in-law or playing with Cora or something, and Kelvin called me into the bedroom. He knew something was different. And there was. Emma was releasing her spirit to God. I think she wanted us to help her. She was making noises I had never heard her utter before. They weren't sad or painful like we had heard so many times the past year and a half. They were almost like she was trying to talk or sing. I'm not sure what she was trying to say, or to whom she was trying to say it, I'm just glad I was there to hear it. It was so precious. And for the next several minutes, Emma had her mommy and daddy right by her side ushering her into the arms of Jesus. One second she was breathing, and the next second her body was still. And then I cried and cried. It was almost as if Emma knew all of her immediate family was here. Kelvin's mom had just gotten back to our house after going to her house over the weekend. Carleigh had just gotten home from school, Luke was on his way home from my friend's house, and my parents had just come over to visit and take the big kids to their house for Monday night spaghetti. We took Carleigh into our room and told her Emma wasn't suffering any more. She cried the sweetest big sister cry ever. Our parents grieved for us and for Emma. Luke was glad she was finally racing with sweet and innocent. (He did finally cry at the funeral.)

I grieve now that she is gone because she is gone, but also because I never got to see what she should have been. I know she is loving life now. I thought about her in church this morning. I felt a connection to her knowing we were both singing praises to our Father in Heaven...she was just doing it face to face. I struggle every day. Some days I am saddened that there just aren't enough memories to carry me through this lifetime without her. I don't want the sad to overshadow the happy, but I'm afraid it does a lot of the time.

"He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair." Isaiah 61:3
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