Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Emm took her last breath, I was forever changed. I had never seen anyone die before. I would not have wanted it any other way, but it is still difficult to think about. There are three moments that are the most painful for me.

1. Hearing the words, "She has a mass in her liver".

2. Telling her she was going to pass to the other side soon.

3. Watching her take her last breath.

This is the week she all of a sudden started sliding down the hill toward death. We could have stopped her from sliding, but at what cost? About 5:30am the nurse came in her room to take her blood pressure. There wasn't one. All of a sudden there staff in her room moving faster than I had ever seen them move. Unplugging devices. Within minutes she was in the ICU. There was a doctor barking orders to six or seven others, like a drill sergeant. I was asked several times, "Do you want us to do everything possible to save her?" Two times I answered back, "yes." After a few hours our answer would change, when we found out how bad things really were.

Intubating could have killed her. They said her heart could have been permanently damaged and it was only functioning at 10% capacity. We decided not to do anything, but let nature take it's course. She made it though the day and the night. The doctors did not expect that. Why was she still fighting? She wanted to be home to die. She hated the hospital. The hospital arranged an ambulance to take her home. We rode with her. The doctors said there was a good possibility she would die in the ambulance. Not Emm, she was tough and patient. She waited till we arrived home. I carried her to her favorite place in our house, the couch in our front room. Twenty minutes later she took her last peaceful breath. She was gone.

My little Emmalee,

I miss you so much Emmalee! I think about you every day. I look at your friends and see how big they are getting and I always wonder how big you would be. I know you know how much I miss you and I know you miss us as well. At the same time I know you are happy and are close by and that makes me feel so good. I look forward to the day that we will meet again. It feels good to write this to you because I can get my feeling out. I don't cry often, but writing allows me to express myself more openly. I am so happy that you are out of pain. You have inspired so many people and I know you will continue to do so. There is a hole in our family that will never be filled. We are still learning to live with it and walk around it. You will never be forgotten. We miss you asking, "What's for dinner". Seeing you in our front room watching TV or playing your DS. I miss you telling me that, "girls rule and boys drool". I miss holding your hand, while walking you to your school class. I especially miss picking you up on Fridays after school. I miss your love of food and wanting to try all sorts of new foods. I miss your smile and your positive attitude. You faced death with courage and grace. There were so many who admited you for this.

Thank you Emm for coming into our life.



Wednesday, September 07, 2011


The summer before Emmalee died my parents came over to our house. We sat on the front porch. Emm was inside, sitting in her usually favorite place on the couch, watching TV and playing her DS.

The tone off my conversation with my parents started with the normal superficial pleasantries. We talked about Emmalee and how she was doing, the tests, scans, chemo pill she was taken and how she was emotionally handling having cancer. The conversation quickly turned serious. My parent are not the type to beat around the bush. My mom cut to the chase. "Could you accept it if Emmalee died?"

October 17, 2008 was the day she was diagnosed with liver cancer. When we were told she had a mass in her liver, I vividly remember flashes of the cemetery, where we actually ended up burying her, burst in my mind along with many other images and thoughts. I don't believe there has been a term yet coined for the powerful force that hit me in that moment.

Thoughts of her dying were like a heavy shadow that hung with me constantly. It is not as if I had never thought of her possible death before, but this questions made it real. Could I accept it if Emmalee died? In that moment my strength even shocked me. I calmly responded. "If it is God's will, I can accept it." What in the world was I saying? She is not going to die. Even in that moment, after I said those words, I wondered if I really could accept her death. If she did die what would it really be like?

October 1, 2009 was the day this reality hit. There is no way to prepare for a loved one's departure. It hit me with such a surprisingly powerful force. What was worse the diagnosis of cancer or her death? They both had a sting that will never go away. I can say that I accept God's will but the hole that has been left is something I continue to side step every day. I miss her but know her death has reason and purpose beyond my understanding.

What difficult things in your life do you need to accept right now? I am curious what things people are having difficulty accepting and why. I wonder what the barriers are to accepting something difficult?

What does acceptance really mean?