January 27, 1999. Before 3:00 am. Horrible screams as our 6 month old daughter's right mid-cerebral artery ruptured in a massive ischemic stroke. Her tiny brain began to swell, her skull expanding - ultimately saving her life.
It was fifteen hours later when the grand mal seizures began and we were sent to the emergency room. Fifteen hours filled with doctor's visits and medications for vomiting. And nearly midnight before we are put into a dark, cold pediatric intensive care unit room surrounded by beeping machines, creeking rocking chairs of tired moms and the muted bustling of nurses.
I will never forget the loneliness as I watched from the PICU room window as David walked across the street from the emergency room to our car and left for home - wanting to be there with Chris when he awoke and assure him things were going to be okay.
Ten years. Three surgeries. Countless seizures and numerous medications. Bad diagnosis after mis-diagnosis. Tears, celebrations. Fears. Pain. More medications. Blood work. Therapies - physical, occupational, speech.
And many smiles. Little girl laughs. Giggles as her brother helped her walk. Laughing when we realized she was caring her walker instead of pushing it. Rejoicing as she skiied for the first time. Cautious fear as she climbed her first moutain with her quad.
Garth Brooks sings a song that so wraps up the life of having a child with a disability: "I could have missed the pain, but I would have had to miss the dance."
Father - I hate the pain. I hate feeling responsible. I hate the tears in the middle of the night. Watching her struggle to crawl and walk and run. The sense of loss of what could have been - should have been. What was stolen from her.
But Father God, I have loved this dance! If you took her home tonight, I would celebrate the beautiful dance of her life - the smiles, her love of children and music and camping and people and her family.
Lord, help me celebrate the dance above mourning the loss.