Monday, October 31, 2011

3 Years ago Today ...

 Photobucket


I love Halloween. I really do. And honestly, I have no idea why either. First of all, I am a super scaredy-cat. Ask anyone. I have been known to sleep with various tools/ kitchen items, under my pillow or bed, when Mark has been gone. Been doing that since I was a pre-teen. I absolutely so do not watch horror movies, and as much as I love a good action packed thriller, I definitely do not like a slasher film. But October comes and I am beyond excited. I swear, my Halloween decorations are beginning to rival my Christmas ones. I look forward to making chili and goodies that night and I love handing out candy. I love seeing all the kids dressed up and I even love the big kids. The teenagers. As long as they make an effort at a costume and are polite, it's all good. I remember all too well that year that I crossed the threshold and became "too old" to trick or treat and I remember vividly how very bummed I was.

So, I am thinking that you get the point about me and Halloween. And, I am also thinking, that you would imagine that seeing Zoey began chemo 3 years ago on the 31st, my love affair with this holiday would abate, but it hasn't. Maybe it's because the place where we stand today, is filled with such beauty and grace. Perhaps if our path, or rather Zoey's path, would have taken a different direction, I would venture to guess I would feel completely different about this day, without a doubt.

Three years ago, at the tender age of 19 months, my little love began her fight against leukemia. I remember waiting for that liquid gold to arrive in her room. I was exhausted and terrified and absolutely felt like I was living someone else's life. I sat in that crowded, sterile hospital room, holding Zoey, trying to take deep breathes and quite frankly, in the end, it all was so anti-climactic. The bottle with the skull and crossbones, yep, the bottle really does have that on it, well, it was brought in and hung and the IV drip began and so began Zoey's 8 month fight. Those early days were filled with such uncertainty and fear. And although, as time has passed, the level of fear and uncertainty has diminished,  but I have to tell you, as I write this, I know, without a shadow of a doubt that the fear and uncertainty of the future, will never, ever leave me. Not ever.

I remember trying so desperately in those first few days, to be present for all the rest of my children. Emotionally more than anything else, since my days were spent almost entirely at the hospital. I promised myself I would pause and answer the phone for the big girls when ever they called and I promised that I would  try to not allow them to sense the fear in my voice when I did talk to them. So it was, not 2 weeks into Zoey's treatment, that my phone rang. I remember that Zoey's room was unusually packed. She had broken out in this weird sunburn rash. Her g-tube had a raging infection. People were standing over her crib trying to figure out what course of action to take. Mark happened to be there and well, it was busy. But I answered the phone and it was Caitlin. She asked if I had a minute, which I really didn't, but I said yes. After some catching up on Zoey, she finally said she had something to tell me and I said go ahead and that is when she told me she was having a baby. I remember saying" No,no, no, no!" And she will tell today, that she thought initially my reaction was of course directed to her but I quickly followed with, "So is this how God is going to do it? Am I going to lose a child and be given a grandchild?" That is what I thought in that moment when my older daughter needed me most. I could only fixate on the life and possibly the death, of my youngest daughter.

I think of that moment and those words often. Especially when I watch my little wonder with her sweet little niece. I  think of that moment as I watch Charlotte ever so gently move Zoey's  hair out of her face. Or as I listen to Charlotte say, "Down syndrome. Fragile. Help", when asked about Zoey. And I am reminded, in an instant, how very blessed we are to be standing in this amazing moment. Look at how far we all have come in the last 3 years. I look at the photo above and cannot believe, on this crazy little holiday, that I have such a blast on, that I am able to spent it with these two precious girls that I love so very much. How is it, that  I came to be so absolutely lucky in this life?

15 comments:

Finding Normal said...

Love this post. Absolute perspective! "I know, without a shadow of a doubt that the fear and uncertainty of the future, will never, ever leave me. Not ever." And that is your answer--how you got so lucky. Because even though it really sucks to have that always in the back of your mind, it also serves to heighten awareness and appreciation for the little things. Even this silly "holiday". Have a great day!

Cammie Heflin said...

Can't believe it's been three years! You have been in my life that long too :) I remember seeing a Pray for Zoey button on someone's blog and I found you! Isn't technology great when it brings together good friends!!!! So thankful for ALL of your family! Hugs!

The VW's said...

What a difference 3 years makes! What a blessed difference! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

wow Heather what a post! Feeling sooooo many emotions reading your words. - First is joy at the photo - beautiful beyond words. Then as I read on, remembering those terrible words "Zoey is starting chemo treatments" brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.
But here you are 3 years down the road holding your 2 precious little oned, everyone with a smile.

Also very touching are Charlotte's words about her aunt. "Down Syndrome,Fragile, Help" I believe Charlotte was God's special gift to the Needham family in a time of uncertainity, sadness, terror. Baby Charlotte arrived to "help" everyone. Mission accomplished!

Aunt Bluebelle
Enjoy those ghosts and goblins tonite Heather - the boys must be "over-the-moon with excitement.

Shelly Turpin said...

Oh Heather, I think as a mother if my daughter told me she was pregnant as Bella was fighting for her life, the words, "No, no, no." would not be the first ones out of my mouth. :) Again you astonish me with your grace.
I absolutely love the picture of you and the girls - precious!

MADISON'S NANNY said...

WISHING ALL YOUR HALLOWEENS TO BE EXCITING AND SPECIAL AND GLOWING WITH LAUGHTER AND SMILES AS YOU ENJOY THE HOLIDAY WITH YOUR DELIGHTFUL FAMILY PREPARING FOR YOUR DOORBELL TO RING AND ALL THE TRICK OR TREATERS!!!!

Lacey said...

I love that picture!! I think it makes Halloween all the more special, knowing what you went through and whats now behind you. We are going to come visit some time this week. Let me know what a good day is!

Rochelle said...

No luck sister. God has blessed you tremendously. LOVE that pic of you and the girls. So thankful Zoey is healthy and can enjoy Halloween with the rest of us.!

Kristin said...

Yay for a happy, healthy Halloween this year!!

Elizabeth said...

That just gave me chills -- not the Halloween kind but the sweetest kind.

Beautiful little girls, beautiful mother and grandmother.

stephanie said...

left a comment yesterday but I did something and it disappeared. Probably because again I was crying!! anyway I can't believe it has been three years. I know I met you after Zoey started her treatments, but not too long after.I was a stalker for a while:)

look at her now H, three years later and shinning like the sun!

Melissa said...

I can't believe it's been 3 years since Zoey started treatment! While I didn't know you then, it seems like so long ago, and yet like yesterday too.

I love the picture of you and your girls!

colleen said...

Such a beautiful post.... not too many kleenex left. Despite all the normally hard stuff you make look easy, trying to be aware and available to your other children while undergoing such horrible stress with one, is what I am most impressed with. Great story. We're renovating and the roof is now off my daughters room - nothing I can't handle after reading your story my friend! Happy Halloween from the snowy northeast.

thepiersolfamily said...

Wow. So beautifully said, Heather. I love this post.

Angi said...

I tried to comment the other day...my brain couldn't remember my google password....duh... Loved the post! Love you- one of the luckiest people I know...really :-)