Good-bye, Baby

(I did not post anything yesterday, due to a tragedy that happened to my family.  I’m not sure how this will effect the rest of my posts in the future, they may be somber or unusually cheerful.  Who knows?  Just please bear with me!  I wrote about what happened on Facebook, and decided to bring it over here, for it is, definitely, another “Footstep” of my life.)

I wrote an entry to start this whole process, so I’m going to write another one as it’s ended. And by “it”, I mean “she”.

My cousin Whitney, that so many of you have faithfully prayed for and cared about, died this morning. And I just want to say “thank you” to everyone. Ever since I told her story on Facebook (I also blogged the same story, here.) so many–and I mean SO MANY–of you were continually asking about her over many months.

Whitney lived to be 11 weeks and 3 days old, if I’m calculating right. Which is about 80 days of life. 21 of those days were very scary and spent at Mayo, but our family had 59 beautiful, happy and thankful days to cherish with her.

A lot of you maybe have questions, but I have no answers. I know little, except that she’s gone.  She spit up blood, was rushed to the hospital, was stabalized.  We thought everything was okay.  Suddenly, with her oxygen levels running at 50%, she died.  An autopsy is scheduled for Sunday morning. (today)

Once, again, my dad came to my room early this morning with the news that he and mom were leaving to the hospital (she was still alive at that point.) Why is it that bad things always happen at night? Every tragedy I’ve had in my life happened at night.

Anyway, I got up. I prayed, I journaled, I fell asleep on the couch, curled up in a blanket. And I woke to the phone ringing. It was my dad, with the bad news.

Now, I know Whitney was a very sick little baby. Every time you looked at her, you were reminded because of the tube in her nose and the gloves on her hands (to prevent her from pulling out the tube.) Every time you held her, you were reminded b/c you couldn’t hold her like you would normally hold a baby.

Despite that, I still thought she was invincible. She was such a tough fighter, had come through so much. Every doctors appointment brought excellent reports. . . how can she be dead?

With that one phone call, my dreams went up in smoke. Ever since my aunt got pregnant, I have literally had visions of coming home from college during vacations, running up the steps to her house, picking her up and twirling her around in my arms. I’ve drempt of helping her brush down her family’s horses, and lead her while she rides, I’ve drempt of playing catch and hide-and-go-seek and other fun, outdoors-y games. I was going to buy her clothes from my college and bring gifts . . .

I can’t believe she’s really dead.

But, do you know what I feel the most, right now? Fear.

Fear for the future. For my family–especially my aunt and uncle. Fear for all the little things that will change. Fear that, even though we’ll all recover–and I know that we will–no one will ever be the same.

Here’s another person I fear for: my great-grandma. She’s almost 90 and before Whitney came, she had all but stopped living. Her world, for many years, has consisted of sleeping and eating. With her eyesight and hearing so bad, she can’t do or enjoy anything anymore. She lives with my grandma, and my grandma started babysitting Whitney when my aunt had to return to work. The change in great-grandma was AMAZING. She opened up more, started caring about life more. . . she even started to get dressed in the morning, something she hasn’t done in years. I’m actually afraid that, due to Whitney’s death, who she counted on for life. . . she’ll actually die, too. That may be ridiculous and irrational, but it scares me.

And, most of all, I fear facing my aunt and uncle. Especially my uncle. I never wanted to see them as hurt as they were at Mayo, after Whitney’s birth. That tore my world upside down. I want to support them and I WILL support them, but the look in their eyes–which I have yet to see–will haunt me forever. My strong, generous, hard-working role models. Kind. Humorous. Loving.

I had mentioned to my uncle that my wish was to ride his fairly-new horse before I left for college. We’d scheduled to do it last sunday, but when they started combining, I gave up my dream. I’m a farmer’s daughter, I know how it goes. But on either wednesday or thursday night, I got a call from my uncle, telling me to come over. That it was the last night he’d have not in the field, and he’d sattle up Bits for me. It was 8:30 at night, a beautiful sunset. My aunt put Whitney in a stroller and came out and watched. The four of us laughed and talked . . . nothing heavy. He rode, she rode (her first time since having the baby). They took turns slowly pushing the stroller back and forth, because Whitney was fussing a little. We took pictures. (I don’t have any of Whitney, b/c she had a mosquitoe net covering her stroller). It was beautiful. Afterwards, I helped my uncle put the horses in. I fed them, brushed them. We talked. All was right with the world. Family. It was the way God intended it to be. No one rushed, just giving each other time, love and beauty.

I’m so grateful for that memory, now. I’ll cherish it forever.

Rest in Peace, Whitney. Let Jesus hold you close. I love you!

Love,
Emily

p.s. The picture of me in my “About” section is one where I am holding Whitney, if you care to see what she looks like.

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3 Responses

  1. […] public links >> whitney Good-bye, Baby Saved by spricket24 on Wed 05-11-2008 Precipice Lake Saved by Spiderlg on Mon 03-11-2008 And […]

  2. […] Watching my family heal after the death of my cousin, and realizing that we will all be […]

  3. […] story was my way of mourning.  To read the whole thing, click here.  That night riding horse is memorable for me because it was the last time I saw Baby Whitney.  […]

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