Gratitude and Grief

I’ve learned, once again, the things I hope and pray for aren’t always presented the way I’m expecting. You’d think I’d understand by now that I don’t always get to choose the path or call the shots, but damn, how life and God and Mother Nature and the universe continue to surprise me.

My hope for 2019 was some relief from my deep grief, with focus on gratitude. I had journaled about it just a few days before Addy was admitted to the hospital on January 4th. Little did I know that my “relief” in grief would come through a shift in my focus during a 12-day hospitalization, for the very serious illness of our Biggest Love; and the moment that shook us to our absolute core (again) – when doctors sat us down on January 10th and told us they suspected that she had a fatal illness in her vessels, caused by the clot that had formed in her jugular vein secondary to the size of the infected lymph node in her neck. (Note: She DOES NOT have that fatal illness! – there’s that focus towards gratitude!!!)

We were faced with hours of dread, and fear, and pain, and, literally, physical illness over the possibility of losing another child; of losing Addy. My faith and my sanity were tested; both of which didn’t seem to exist during those hours, because I was so confused and shaken (again). Once again, I heard myself loudly weeping and begging to be woken from yet another nightmare. I cried out asking why this was happening to us again?! What had we done to deserve this?? I was avoiding going in to her room, for fear of her seeing me in that condition; making up every lame excuse possible as to why I wasn’t in there with her. My daughter needed me, I needed her, and yet here we were. Again.

But even through some of the worst moments of our lives that day, Norah was there to shine her light on this frightening situation, again (hello, gratitude!), as she had been showing her presence the entire time – (in one bright star outside of Addy’s hospital room window when she was first admitted, in a random streak of a rainbow that showed up over the river the morning of her first surgery, in the brightest rays of sunshine very early in the morning when I stepped into the sunroom area outside of Addy’s room, for coffee and prayer and meditation, in the tiny “baby feather” that “randomly” floated down from Addy’s hospital room ceiling).

I believe that Norah and God must have had a plan to really grab our attention this time, though…

After Addy’s diagnostic CT scan to determine whether she had the fatal illness, we were placed in a holding area of the radiology department. I was certain that we were being held there while doctors quickly read the scan to determine the need for an emergency surgery – this was all something I had devised in my own head. I guess that’s just an unfortunate part of PTSD. After waiting for a few minutes (that felt like a few hours) an elderly woman walked over to our bay and said, “Is your name Addison?” Addy confirmed. She kindly spoke again and said, “My name is Nora and I’m going to take you back upstairs to your room.”

What?! Could this be happening?? At that moment I was shaken back into reality and my faith was instantly restored. I began to cry and told Nora our story. She said she felt as though God put her there with us.

Before leaving Addy’s room, Nora asked if she could hug me. As we hugged, she whispered into my ear, “God is with her, she’s going to be ok.” At that moment I felt so much peace and hope. Thank you, Nora!

Thank you, Norah!!

As hours unfolded and prayer chains had linked around the entire world while we waited for answers, Addy’s frightening physical symptoms mysteriously – no, miraculously – disappeared. Everyone stood at her bedside, confused and surprised, wondering what had happened.

But I knew what had happened.

Final results of the CT were given to us. Negative!! She was going to be OK.

God had answered prayers. We believe that a miracle had occurred right in front of our eyes. We would wake up joyful and relieved the next morning, 1/11 (111 – Norah’s days here on Earth, her number, the “angel number”). My deep, intense connection with my Littlest Love, and all of my loves, was confirmed AGAIN, as was my faith in God.

Norah was there to see Addy through hurdles, as the doctors and nurses provided the care, as Hank was her coach and cheerleader, as I was her advocate, and as God led the way for all of us.

I am so grateful to have experienced something so rare and so beautiful, even through the grief of losing Norah and during the fear of losing Addy.

However, I am now also facing the aftermath of being spared from losing a child, only to wake up again and again to the reality of having already lost one.

Good things can happen, really good things, even during bad times.

This life is a constant battle between gratitude and grief.

4 thoughts on “Gratitude and Grief

  1. I knew as soon as I read the nurse’s name Nora that you were being given a gift from God! Thank you God for sending signs from above to comfort this beautiful family.

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  2. This is amazing. Brings back memories of my Mom being in ICU one times. She had a blood infection. Also the doctors said she had gall and kidney stones. The wanted to do an MRI to see how bad and what they could do. Cause the treatments she had taken made her immune system deficient. When when the results of the MRI came back. The dr came in to my Mom and said I dont understand it. We cant find anything. She looked at the dr and said prayers do work. Pray to God and the Blessed Mother and your faith will help you out so much. He didnt know what to say. So glad Addy is doing much better. Continued love hugs and prayers

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  3. your story needs to be a book , there is so much love and compassion in every word . I always say we are angels unaware , I met mine in a elevator when my mom was in hospital passing and you met yours through Nora in the hospital that is a beautiful story of faith and hope that so many more need to see . God bless you and yours as you recover from all you have been through .

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