I am not all that joyful right now. My eyes and my head hurt from crying so much. Thankfully I did sleep, for 4 whole straight hours actually. My mind is swirling with all the details of our suddenly upside down life. I can't fathom that she's really not here anymore. Our Abby. No not really ours, she always has belonged to God and just as He gifted her to us for a few short years, He decided He needed her back.
She was our honeymoon baby, another sign of God's redemptive work in our marriage that had fallen apart. We found out she was coming to join us on January 16, 2010 just a few hours before Lowell's dad slipped into eternity. We were back together a mere month after an almost entire year of separation. I was overwhelmed at the time with the fact that I had 3 other children who were 3 years old and younger. She arrived on Sept 14 of that year and from the very start she was different. Our 3 older blessings topped the growth charts with their heights. She was barely on the chart. As a matter of fact the little purple swimsuit she was wearing at the time of the accident was size 18 months and tho it was a little snug she wouldn't wear the others I got for her. She was spunky from the start and more then made up for her tiny size with her massive personality. When she entered a room everyone knew it. She was a bundle of loud, darling, amazing energy.
We all kind of slept in on Monday morning as it was supposed to be a lazy day, one of my days off. I recently decided that due to the influx of clients I was seeing in my reflexology business, that I needed to schedule certain days and stick to them so I could focus on spending more time with my children. I can not tell you how very glad I am that I made that decision and followed thru. The last few weeks have been magical in that we did a lot of things together, moments I will indeed cherish forever and never forget.
Anyhow back to Monday. We were all excited about Kendal and Maria's wedding shower that evening and most of the day I was going to putter around getting ready. The children hadn't swam much this year yet as it has simply been to cold. However, on Sunday Lowell helped them fill the stock tank that we used as a swimming pool and they spent most of the afternoon splashing and playing happily. Mid morning on Monday they were all begging to go swimming again and I said they could. I helped Abby into her little purple suit and sent her scurrying out the door, glancing briefly to see where the other were at. They were all out there at the pool and I knew the splashing and giggles were already starting. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should dash out after her and remind them that she was there but thought about all the training we had done and the habits they always carried out. I quickly went to my office to finish some work I had started. I wasn't there for but a brief few moments when the door opened and I figured some wet feet would soon be scampering across my clean floor so I called out to see who was there. No one answered but soon the door opened again and Lexi says the words that will forever haunt me - "mama come, Abby drowned in the pool" I flew out the door and raced across the gravel with my bare feet and could see as I ran that Kali and Hunter were pulling a very limp Abby out of the water. When I got to her, she was limp. Her eyes were fixed in a straight ahead stare and white foam was coming out of her mouth. I grabbed her and screamed out to Jesus to please save my baby and raced to the porch. Kali ran ahead of me and brought me the phone. I dialed 911 and pleaded with the lady to please hurry, that my baby was dead. She walked me thru CPR which I knew but couldn't think thru. I finally remembered that I had speaker on my phone so I laid it down and continued working, following her instructions the best I could. Kali brought me my cell phone as she had called Lowell who wanted to know what was going on. I told him our baby was gone and to please come home quickly. Suddenly there were people everywhere. Air care landed out by the field. Friends and family were there and were holding me when my legs just didn't think they could stand any longer. The next hours at the hospital were some of the longest in my life. She had not been breathing for long enough they told us she had severe brain injuries and probably wouldn't pull thru but that only time would tell. They cleared a space on her bed for me and I laid there with her stroking her small face that was covered in wires and hoses. When I couldn't handle it anymore I would get up and leave the room and go chat with the many friends and family who were holding vigil in the family waiting area. Our pastors were all there. Pastor Leon and his sweet Jean stayed all night with us. Jean would stay right at Abby's bedside rubbing her little legs and arms and any other place that wasn't covered in wires. My dear friend Karma took off of work and stayed too. She was our valuable go between and with her vast medical experience was able to walk us thru a lot of the tough decisions like weather or not we wanted to gift any of her organs. Many other friends who I can't all name came and simply held me. Laura brought me my clean clothes and would walk back and forth to the ICU with me and held me as I sobbed over Abby's bed. She has a dear sweet 4 year old who was one of Abby's dear friends. Then my family arrived. Janice and Evonda came first. A few hours later my parents and Steven and Rhoda and my sweet precious nephew arrived. With each new person that came, we would make the trek to the room where the horror of the events really became reality. We cried and prayed and talked to her and told her how much we loved her. We sang as we could, singing her favorite Jesus Loves me and the song from her favorite movie, Frozen -Let it Go.
The waiting game is hard especially when it's your precious child's life hanging in the balance. As Tuesday morning dawned bright and clear, it looked like we would probably be there another 24 hours or more as she showed an ever so slight activity in her EEG. We planned to gift her heart so we knew the process could get long. The rest of my family had arrived about 7:30am and she seemed to be about the same. We were out in the waiting room chatting and milling about when I had the sudden urge to go see my baby. As I arrived at her room I saw several doctors and nurses standing there watching her screens closely and soon they were all there at her bed and more machines were being brought in. The doctor looked at me and point blank asked if I wanted them to keep resuscitating her. I looked at him in shock and said absolutely not but that I needed Lowell to make sure he was ok with that. Some one ran to get him and just like that she was gone. We had enough time to get some wires off of her and move the bed from the room so I could sit in a big chair and hold her. We wrapped her in a pink and purple blanket and I sat there one last time with my baby cradled in my arms. Her breaths were short and shallow but I could still feel her small heart beating. We kissed her and told her how very much we loved her and told her we would be joining her up there in Heaven and that she should go on ahead and that Jesus would be waiting to twirl and dance with her. I have no idea who all was even there but all to soon the doctor came and gently informed us that her heart had stopped. They turned off the ventilator and announced her time of death as 8:30 am. I don't know how long we sat there and held her. Family and friend poured in and held us and cried with us. Lowell took a turn holding her and then it was time. Her little body began to stiffen and her lips began losing their color and the stench of death tickled my nostrils. I kissed her sweet cheeks one last time and smoothed back her hair.
Then we were walking out of the hospital. Our Sis in law Jannea had brought the children up to say their good byes and so it was just the 5 if us. It was surreal. I kept expecting Abby to come dashing out around as usual. I always walk along behind keeping a watchful eye on all the brood and she wasn't there. Then we were home and people, food, phone calls and emails came flooding in. Every time I open fb there are more messages and friend requests then I can comprehend.
We can feel the prayers. It is what gives us the strength to put one foot in front of the other. It is what helps me breath even tho I feel like there is something crushing my chest.
And we have hope. We know where she is-- in the sweet arms of Jesus and we know we can join her there.
Does that make this any easier? NO! Do we have any idea how our world will ever be set right again? NOPE!
Right now we are clinging to moment by moment trust that the bigger picture will look prettier then the pain we are currently facing. We are holding each other a lot more and saying I love you more and we tell our friends to hug their precious children because life is but a vapor.
Abby's name meant Father's joy and while she truly was that her on earth we know that is one big reason she needed to go. Her heavenly father wanted his joy home with him.
I never dreamed I would have to plan a funeral for one of my babies. Picking out caskets and pall bearers and who will preach and who will pray was exhausting. We tried to plan a service that represented her vim and vigor for life and all the things she loved. With such a small casket, 4 pallbearers is all we needed to pick. We chose people she loved to carry her to her final resting place, her cousins Chase and Nolan and our dear friends Kevin Kemp who she decided was her Kevin at VBS just a few weeks ago and her little friend Leah's daddy, Dallas who farms the land we live on. He was always teasing her and calling her Betsy to which she would respond with some loud retort, usually "Mr Stinky Pants". She just asked me a few days ago if I knew why she liked Dallas so much? I told her I had no idea to which she responded "because he is sooooo silly".
Thank you for letting me air out the jumble in my brain and for your continued prayers.