Archive for August, 2010

Well, I have been not looking forward to when the time would come to write this, but knew I would need to, since I wrote something up for Cyndi.

Just about a year ago, Cyndi had just been killed. We were in the middle of a frantic week of trying to organize burial arrangements and plan a memorial service for Cyndi. During that week Monique was just not acting herself. Her asthma was acting up and appeared to be generally under the weather, but nothing particularly wrong. During that frantic week, jenny took Monique to the doctor twice to see what was up. Both times the doctor did a flu test, which was negative both times. She could find nothing to treat, so Jenny just kept up with the usual asthma treatments. Cyndi died on Saturday 8/22. Her memorial service was Friday 8/28. Three days later on Monday 8/31, Monique still was not acting herself and still appeared generally under the weather. She did not really want to do much other than lay in bed. So Jenny took her back to the doctor that morning. Again the doctor repeated the flu test which came back negative. The doctor suggested that perhaps it was more emotional and Monique was depressed regarding Cyndi’s death and that Jenny should be more “forceful” in requiring her to move around and get out of bed. That same afternoon, three days after Cyndi’s Memorial service, Monique collapsed in the bathroom. While conscious, Jenny had to literally carry her out to the car and rush her to the hospital.

I get a call at work that Jenny was rushing Monique to the hospital. By the time I get the hospital, they have her admitted and the medical staff is busy working on her. They determine she is simply not getting enough oxygen. They repeat the flu test, and determine that perhaps the test may actually be positive. Given what was happening in 2009, they also make the assumption that it is H1N1 (Swine) flu but they send a sample off to the CDC for confirmation. Monique was in bad shape.

They admitted her to ICU. They put her on oxygen, and the doctor thought perhaps they caught it in time and they would not have to put her on a ventilator. Jenny stayed with Monique that night. Monique was scared, and Jenny held her hand the entire night. The next morning, Jenny’s mom (Monique’s Grandmother) relived her for two hours so Jenny could run home make arrangements for care of our other children. As it turned out, that morning was the last time we would ever talk to Monique on this earth. By the time Jenny got back, things had taken a turn for the worst. The doctors decided she still was not getting enough oxygen and need to be put on a ventilator. They had already induced a comma and had her on a ventilator.

I’m trying hard not to think you unkind

But Heavenly Father

If you know my heart

Surely you can read my mind

Good people underneath the sea of grief

Some get up and walk away

Some will find ultimate relief

For the next 13 days, Jenny and I took turns staying with Monique. Jenny stayed with her during the days, after work I relieved her and stayed with Monique during the night. When Jenny relived me in the morning, I went to work. During these 13 days there were ups and downs. Things would get better and they would try to reduce the reliance on the ventilator, and then she would get worst. It was very much a roller coaster.

The Army had flown both Andrew and Paul home from overseas because of Cyndi’s death. After about day 6 of Monique’s hospital stay, it was time for the boys to return to their stations overseas. It was about this time that the CDC confirmed that Monique had the H1N1 virus (Swine flu).

During Monique’s stay in the hospital, many people (friends, co-workers, long time doctors, etc) swung by the hospital. Your thoughts, concern, and prayers were very much appreciated.

Out in the corridors we pray for life

A mother for her baby, A husband for his wife

Sometimes the good die young

It’s sad but true

And while we pray for one more heartbeat

The real comfort is with you

It was during one of the up swings, that I remember my Program Manager asking me how Monique was doing. My response was “I think she might live”. But it was very much a roller coaster. The only way for them to ensure Monique was getting enough oxygen was to have the ventilator turned “way up”. As soon as they turned it down, she lost ground. So the ventilator was actually causing damage to her lungs due to the high settings they had to use. Due to the damage being done, they had to insert drainage tubes first on one side of the chest and then a couple of days later on the other side. This was to relieve the pressure in the chest cavity. Around day 10, the doctor informed us, that it was unlikely she was going to pull thru. He told us we should get the family together, she was unlikely to live another week. So Jenny again contacted the Army and requested emergency leave for the boys. In fact, Andrew had just arrived back in Iraq, when they told him to pack up and return home.

Day 13, Sunday, Sept 13, she actually was looking pretty good. We were actually thinking that the doctor might have been wrong. But it was over before Jenny really even knew something serious was happening. Jenny had relieved me. The nurses and doctor were in doing their routine adjustments of all the various machines and monitoring equipment they had on Monique. During these times the Ventilator would always raise alarms as it tried to resync after all the movement. However, this time it would just not reset properly. With a rush of activity they realized it was not a machine problem, and it was over in less than a minute. Monique’s heart had stopped.

Home Free, eventually

At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free

Home Free, oh I’ve got a feeling

At the ultimate healing

We will be Home Free

Andrew had just landed in the US and was waiting for his transfer flight to Huntsville when he got my facebook post: “R.I.P. Monique”. His resulting post to his wall pretty much captured our family’s feeling: “what a shitty year. my other sister just passed away in the hospital…please pray for strength for our family. thanks…”

We had just barely processed Cyndi’s death and here we are facing similar questions. Why God? Monique loved God! We loved God. We all believed in the power of God. Why God? And then the “what ifs” start again. What if this? What if that? Endless possible alternative paths. The world went wrong AGAIN, on September 13, 2009.

It was (again) the day the world went wrong, I screamed til my voice was gone

And watched through the tears, As everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain, As we awake to what remains

and sift through the ashes that are left behind

But in the end, God is God and I am not. I will trust him, for all things work to his glory. For those of us who know Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with God. We again believe God has shown us some of his Will in all of this. We will not fully understand until we are face to face, but we are at peace and I look forward to a glorious reunion with her in Heaven someday. (I get the first dance)

You’re in a better place, I’ve heard a thousand times

And at least a thousand times I’ve rejoiced for you

But the reason why I’m broken, the reason why I cry

Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face

If home’s where my heart is then I’m out of place

Lord, won’t you give me strength to make it through somehow

I’ve never been more homesick than now

As we move past the anniversary of Cyndi’s death and head into the month of September, it gets harder to not continually think about my little girl. About what might have been. About what should have been. But it is my over whelming joy to know that she is with God, with no more tears or sorrows.

Oh God, I know, it’s so much more than I can dream

It’s far beyond anything I can conceive

So God, You know I’ll trust in You until I see

Heaven in the face of my little girl

Song Lyrics from: Wayne Watson, Mercy Me and Steven Curtis Chapman

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