A mere 7 weeks ago we were in the PICU as my daughter fought for her life. I wrote then, all I wanted was to hear my baby girl cry. Crying is the universal language of a baby, and I hadn't heard hers in weeks.That was then. Now Miss Ellis doesn't hesitate in using said language. To the fullest. When she's not happy about something, she lets you know. Loudly. Her volume level about double the amount her big brothers ever was.
The other night I was exhausted and just wanting some sleep. Ellis was not wanting to go to sleep. Every time I would put her in her bed, she cried. When I picked her up she'd stop, and smile. Sleep? She wasn't having it. This went on for hours, and in my exhaustion I thought "I wish she would just stop crying!" My mind immediately raced back to the moment where I was begging God to hear her cry. How quickly I forgot.
This week I had the honor of taking a dear friend to her chemo infusion. Her diagnosis was shocking as she is a healthy and vibrant woman. Yet here she is, like so many others, battling this horrific disease. As I sat with her, memories were swirling through my head of when this was me sitting with my husband. I remembered the hours sitting in the chair, waiting, waiting, waiting. I remembered the exhaustion he felt as the drugs started to take effect. I remembered the nervous energy that so tangibly filled the room. I remembered how it felt to be surrounded by others whose stories broke my heart. It was only four years ago. How quickly I forgot.
Our mind is an incredible thing. It has a way of helping us remember the lovely moments, yet forgetting the brutal ones. The ICU stays of both my husband, and my daughter, were some of the most traumatic experiences of my life. People tell me stories I was a part of during that time, I have absolutely no memory of. I've found there's so many holes, moments my mind has deemed too horrific to let me keep. I try to force myself to replay the loop, the sounds, the smells, the emotions of it all. I want so badly to remember. Yet, how quickly my mind is willing me to forget.
I always want to hold close how it felt to hurt as deeply as I have; what it was like to be so afraid. Though it's not easy, there's power in it. Because of what I've lived, I get so many things. I know what it's like to walk through the desperation of infertility. I know what it's like to battle cancer for your life. I know what it's like to prematurely lose a spouse. I know what it's like to nearly lose a child.
None of those experiences were pleasant, yet each changed my life. And in their own ways, each made me a better me. Able to love others, understand and empathize. To have an appreciation for the things that matter and to disregard the things that don't. Opened my mind, softened my heart.
Every painful circumstance, gave me that gift. And as hard as it can be to remember, how I never, ever want to forget.
In the spirit of remembrance, I recently found an old video my husband and I made of a normal chemo day for him. He was the bravest. To view that video click here.