The best kiss I ever got

The best kiss I ever got

Monday, August 15, 2011

#27 Where do we go from here

Where do we go from here? I hadn't been without Brooklynn by my side since the day she was born. I didn't know what to do, I was almost in a panic. For almost 11 years we did everything together, when I ate..she ate, when I slept...she slept, everywhere I went she was with me and now I would have to learn to live without her....but how?
That day after they took Brooklynn so many came to pay their respects. It was so nice to have that comfort of people who cared and loved her so much plus we were not to thrilled with having to be alone. We were all looking at photos of Brooklynn and talking when I heard the phone ring. Someone looked at caller id and said, "oh no, it's Jeremy".( Jeremy was the little boy I mentioned earlier who was in love with Brooklynn). I told them not to answer because I didn't know how I would break the news to him of her passing, little did I know I didn't need to. The answering machine came on and there was his little voice, "Hi this is Jeremy...I know where my Brookie is...she is gone to heaven." No one had told him Brooklynn had passed away, it had only happened a couple of hours earlier but God had let him know and allowed him to somehow understand.
I got out some letters and read them from Brooklynns classmates to pass the time. The news soon came on and Brooklynn again had made the top story with her passing. It was then I began to realize that not only had she changed our life but she had changed a whole community's life.
Soon it started to get dark and people began to thin out. All I could think of was how can I sleep without her. So finally I grabbed my Bible, gripped it as tightly as possible and cried myself to sleep and thats how I slept..not just for one night but for weeks and months.
The next day we had to go make funeral arrangements. Pastor Mark and some friends and family went with us. We wanted her service to be at the church because that is where she served and she loved it there. We had a friend put together a video of pictures of Brooke and the song we picked out was "take your candle and go light your world.". At the end of the video I had him to insert this, "Brooklynn took her candle and light the whole world....now what will you do with yours?" I wanted people to know that if she could serve God in her physical condition so could they. We picked out her remembrance cards and had candles placed on the front of them.
Now it was time for the hard part..the casket. I remember them opening that door and it felt like all the oxygen in that room had been sucked out. My knees felt like jello and my head was swimming. Pastor Mark held mine and Timmys arm and said, "I'm right here praying". I glanced over the room and I saw a sweet ivory and pink casket. I knew that was the one. We quickly scurried out the door to where it felt like we could breath again.
 Brooklynns layout was on Memorial day weekend so we would have to have a funeral on Sunday with a private burial that Tuesday. The next day the funeral home called and asked who we wanted to do Brooklynns hair. I immediately said, "I will, I did her hair for almost 11 years and now this was a day to honor her and I was not about to let her down.
My sisters and friends met me there.  I curled her sweet little hair...she looked like an angel. And I know what your thinking...how did I do that??  So many times I wanted to just lay down there beside her in that funeral home floor and die, I can't lie. It was all I could do to keep myself together, it was truly the grace of God that held me there. But all I could think was, "it's not about me, its about Brooklynn. This is her day to be honored."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

#26 Her last day on earth

In just a few minutes Monica was there. The morphine had increased from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes. It was also becoming more and more difficult for her to swallow. I was mentally and physically exhausted. My legs cramped up from dehydration where I had cried so much. Monica told me that if I would lay down there by here and take a small nap that she would wake me in 15 minutes when it was time for her meds again. About 4am I fell asleep and at 5am I woke up in a panic. I was sure that I had forgotten her medicine but sweet Monica had given it to her just like clockwork and written down the times for me.
My sisters called all of our family and friends to let them know that she only had hours to live. My dad who was a hermit but was absolutely crazy over Brooklynn was on his way there. He became so overwhelmed in fear and panic attacks that he had to turn around and gone back home. I was so disappointed that he wasn't there but just in a few minutes he made it there. That meant so much for me because he truly was a hermit. He was very nervous around people and seldom ever left his home. I knew it took alot out of him but he did it because he loved her so much.
With her oxygen turned as high as it would go and morphine every 15 minutes to keep the seizures down Brooklynn just slept so angelically. The presence of God was so strong there in her room. It was almost like you could see heaven begin to open up and angels surround her. I have never experienced anything so spiritual in my entire life. With only me, Timmy, Tab, Dr Fackler and Monica by her bedside I held her hand with tears barrelling down I began to sing in her ear this song...tenderly lovingly Jesus is calling, calling for you and for me...come home...come home.. I wanted her to be at peace. Now don't get me wrong I wanted to kick scream fight and beg God to make it stop but it wasn't about me. It was about Brooklynn and this was her time not mine. I began to feel sick so I stepped into our master bath and leaned over the commode when I heard that sweet little girls voice say "Bye Mommy". I rushed back in there and she took her final little breath. She was now in the presence of her sweet Father who was about to give her everything I couldn't. I would imagine that her crown was so big that it barely fit her sweet head.
Our Pastor stepped in to say his goodbyes. When he stepped back out Monica told me to step out and her and Dr Fackler would clean her up and dress her then everyone could come in and see her. I immediately said no. I would clean her, dress her and fix her hair. This had been my responsibility for almost 11 years and I was not about to let her down today.
I got her ready and if you ask anyone that was there that day they will all tell you the same thing...that she looked like a sleeping angel. She had her earrings in, hairbow in, her limited too on and her matching blanket that had Brooklynn embroidered on it. After a couple of hours it was time to call the funeral home to come and get her. When the caretakers arrived (Richard New) they were the sweetest men I had ever met. He asked us all to go outside to the back of the house and he assured me without me having to ask that he would not cover her head up. Everyone left but we stayed. I couldn't bare to let her go without being there. As they rolled out of the driveway we stood there just holding each other. Although Brooke was no longer there  it was as if they were taking her away. All of a sudden someone poked their head out of the garage. It was our Pastor. Brooklynn was his baby and he had hid in the garage and watched just to make sure they treated her ok.
Oh and remember the rose, well, Brooklynn was taken out the front door just past it. By that evening, the dying rose began to bloom. And the story doesn't end here. There will be a few more blogs as God continued to do more things through Brooklynns life and her Funeral.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#25 The day before

After seeing Brooklynn and begging for strength I knew we did not have long with her. If you ever want to feel Gods presence in a way that you have never felt before go to the bed of a christian who is about to enter Heaven. I promise that it was like God himself was in that room. There was such a sweetness in the midst of the despair.The only way I know to explain it is that it was almost as if you couldnt be sad because you could fill the joy of heaven. Our friends and family began to call other friends and family members to let them come see Brooklynn. We had a lot of visitors that day and most all of them said the same thing, that is was the most peaceful thing they had ever seen. She simply just slept.
We gathered some photos for a video that one of our friends was working on for the funeral. It reminded me of how many good memories we had. We had so much fun and just had lived every day just like there would be 1000 more. I never woke up and thought "what if Brooklynn dies today." I can honestly say up until these past few weeks the thought of her dying had never ever entered my mind and I'm so glad it didnt. Because if I had woke up with those glooming thoughts every day we would not have had those pictures or those memories. Brooklynns life would have been lived in a bubble. She would have never heard the sounds of the ocean, felt the sand in her feet, rode on a merry go round, swung at the park, made friends at school, greeted at church, or touched any lives. Noone would have knew she existed all because of fear.
We all sat by Brooklynns side, holding those sweet little hands that had now turned completely grey and remembering what a good life we all had together and being so thankful that God had blessed  and honored us to be her parents.
After a little while I walked outside on the front porch to get some air and think. As i sat there looking around I noticed a singe rose beside the porch. I thought it was funny that it was there since the year before my husband had tore it down. I remembered that one red rose meant I love you and due to the excessive heat the rose was black and dying. I thought to myself, that rose has some meaning that God is trying to show me. I didnt know at the time what it was so I just placed it in the back of mind.
God blessed us with such a good day with Brooklynn but that night she took a turn for the worse. A about 7pm or so the seizures came back and were violent. The one thing that we didnt want to do we now had to and that was give her morphine. We started out giving it to her every hour but that wasnt enough. We soon had to give it to her every 30 minutes. Monica her Hospice nurse and Dr F who had been there all day helped us give the meds.  A little while after that they went home. Brooklynn progressively grew worse but I hated to call Monica because she had spent so much time with us and away from her family. Finally at 2am I called her. She picked up on the first ring. I said," I am so sorry to wake you" and she said you didnt wake me God did and I"m dressed and on my way, he told me it was time.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#24-The Last Days

The next couple of days seemed to creep by slowly. Our home was filled with dear friends, family and the sounds of Jeremy Brooke's little friend calling and leaving messages on the answering machine that rung out through the house. He would say in his little Forrest Gump voice, "Brookie, this is Jeremy. I was just calling to see if you were feeling better. I'm building us a log cabin and I'm going to take you fishing when you get better." It seemed like everyone just froze and listened when he called. He wanted to come see her and the teachers had asked numerous times to bring him but he lived with his grandmother and she was very old and backwards and was scared to let him go with anyone.
Timmy and I just stayed by Brooke's side, holding her hand, letting her know that we were there with her. Our hospice nurse stayed right there too along with Dr Fackler who had cancelled all of her patients to spend Brooke's final days with her. We were setting by Brookes bed talking when suddenly Brooke sit straight up in the bed. Brooke could never sit up alone so we all jumped up. She was having a seizure. One so violent that it had threw her straight up in the bed. I leaped on top of her and began to pray as hard and as loud as I could. Finally after what seemed like a good 10 minutes it stopped. We then realized that all of the swelling had gone out of her legs and feet and had traveled to her brain. We propped her up in the bed to reduce most of the swelling and prevent anymore seizures.
I could never ever express the pain I felt to think that Brooke would ever have to suffer. So far up until now she had just slept, she had no pain, and def no seizures. It was as if she was fighting so hard. Becky was there with us and I was expressing all of this to her of how she continued to fight and immediately she said, "Millie, that is all you and Timmy have ever taught her." I said "what do you mean." She then began to remind me of all of the times I had told Brooke to fight, and how strong she was, and how God did'nt teach her to swim to let her drown, and that she could do all thing through Christ who strengthened her. She said "Millie, she doesn't know how to stop fighting." That hit me like a ton of bricks. She was exhausted, her little body was wore out..and yet she was still fighting. Not for herself but for us.
Timmy and I knew what we needed to do. We sat down by her bed and held her little sweet hands. Hands so sweet that they looked like they were lightly covered in pearl dust. I began to tell her how that I knew I had told her all of her life to fight but now she could rest. I told her she didn't have to fight for mommy anymore because I was a big girl. I would be fine and Jesus would take good care of mommy and daddy. It was time for her to just rest.
That night we had very little sleep. My husband who as you know by now is a big jokester took the stethoscope we had used to listen to Brookes heart and put them in his ears and placed the other end on the bible. He said, "I need to hear from you Lord maybe this will help." About 5am, Timmy woke me up. He said, "Mommy Brooke woke up and when she looked at me I heard her say that she is tired." I jumped up out of the bed, looked at her and her little eyes were circled in black. Her hands were dusty grey and her lips the same. The selfish part of me wanted to just scream as loud as I could NO!!! You can still heal her Lord! There is still time... but looking at that little girl who had fought all of her life and was so tired...all I could say was God please have mercy on me...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#23 Our last Mother's Day

The days were narrowing down. Brooklynn was barely drinking any liquids, I would try to get her to drink by taking a medicine dropper and giving her sips of Pedialyte. Her little chest sounded so rattly. I've often heard that before people passed away they would get what is called a "death rattle" and despite numerous patches placed behind her ears it was undeniable that was what we were  hearing. Other than that she just seemed to peacefully sleep. Our concerns about her getting bedsores began to grow. We got her up and bathed her everyday, turned her every hour but the lack of nutrients in her skin from not eating was breaking it down and would soon cause a bedsore. I've always heard that they are very painful often exposing the bones, a horrifying thought for a mother who's child was in Brooke's condition.
With our sleep schedules going in shifts days seemed to run into each other. Saturday was almost over and I realized that Sunday was Mothers Day. Not only was it Mothers Day but for me it would be my last Mothers Day with Brooklynn. I began to pray and ask God to please not take her from me that day. To please wait and let us spend that day together and being the good God that he is he answered my prayer.
At 3 am Brooklynn woke up. It was Timmys shift to set up with her and he was ecstatic to see those big brown eyes. He immediately grabbed the camcorder and began recording me a Mothers Day present, one that i would cherish for ever. There she was with those little brown eyes sweet as can be staring at the camera. Timmy said, "Brooklynn lets tell mommy happy mothers day". With all of the strength she could gather up within her she tried to smile and it was precious. A little time went by and she was off to her sweet sleep again.
Sitting by her bed that Mothers Day gave me lots of time to think and I had so many thoughts racing through my mind. It was like the devil was on one shoulder and an Angel on the other. I would think, "next year I'm going to have to spend Mothers Day at the cemetary mourning over a grave" but then I would say to myself  "Stop! You cant think that way, yes you will be a the cemetary but Brooklynn will be in heaven with JESUS! She will finally be healed. Dont deprive her of her reward!" I told Jesus when Brooke had her stroke that whether he chose to take her or let me keep her I would serve him no matter what. He had more than lived up to his end of the deal and now it was time for me to live up to mine.
The thoughts went on and on. Then I thought of all of the good times and there were soooo many. Brooklynn didn't talk,  but God had such away of allowing us to communicate with each other. For instance..I would wake up in the middle of the night from an intense dream of Brooklynn and I having a conversation. The strange thing was...she would be awake looking at me too. Then there was the time when her hip trouble had began and she was having to sleep propped up on the love seat, I slept beside her on the couch. It was the middle of the night and I heard a little girls voice wake me up and say, "mommy I'm sick". I woke straight up, looked at Brooklynn and she vomited everywhere. But the time I will never forget is when we were in the parking lot at Wal-Mart. I had been in deep conversation with God on the way there about Brooke. I said, "Lord, I love her so much, I've never in my life loved anyone like I do her. Is there anyway that you can let me know that she loves me to." It was a silly request I know but non the less it was a desire of my heart and God says he will give us the desires of our heart. I parked the car there at WalMart to do my Saturday shopping, got her stroller out, went around to her door, lifted her out, placed her in the strolled and all of a sudden she looked me straight in the eyes and in that same little girl voice I had heard so many times before in my dreams the words, "I love you mommy" came. They didn't come out of her mouth but I heard them as if they did and I wept like a baby. God had answered my prayer. I knew that day there was more heartache to come but there was also much to be celebrated. It was once said it was better to love and loss than to never loved at all and how true that is.
Our last Mothers Day together was such a special one. Timmy bought me the sweetest gifts, Tabetha made me the most awesome scrapbook ever, my sister sent me cheesecake packed on dry ice, My sister in laws and sisters bought me several gifts but the best gift of all was holding her and having her there with me. What more could a mother ever ask for.

Monday, June 6, 2011

#22 Preparations

Every second of every day that we had left with Brooklynn was counted a gift. We kept our same routine, every morning she would get a bath, get dressed, and we would accessorize with her matching earrings and hairbows. And every minute those big brown eyes would open we would try to do as much with her as we possibly could. We would set her up in  her wheel chair and roll her to the front door and let her watch as her daddy planted flowers for her. Or sometimes we would just open the bedroom windows and let her look outside and listen to the birds. But there was no denying that she was become weaker by the day.
Her heart rate would go from 55 to 145. It was very sporadic and I know it was wearing her out. Sometimes she would wake up shaking almost convulsively and we would cover her in warm blankets, then 10 minutes later she would be sweating so bad that we would have to turn the temperature down low and put fans on her.
One thing that she would always do is look around the room as if she saw something and she would follow the objects with her eyes and smile. Her nurse said she was sure that she was seeing angels and I fell the exact same way. There was always so much peace in that room as Brooklynn  just laid there in sweet sleep. With time narrowing down Timmy and I had some tough decisions to make. Decisions that no parent ever wants to make. We had to decide where she would be buried. We had no idea where to begin to look. After reeling the ideas over and over in our minds we decided that she would be buried at Lakeside Memorial Gardens. It was so nice there and she loved to go to the lake so it was fitting that she be there. When we called to check on the lots the owner said that we both would have to go there so that we could sign all the necessary paperwork. Goldie stayed with Brooke while we went but before I left I informed Brooklynn that mommy and daddy had to go purchase some lake property but if it ended up that we didn't need it then mommy would put her real estate sign on it and sell it. She just smiled.
When we got to the cemetery the man took us out to show us the available spots. It was so hot that spring, unseasonably hot. I stood there at the end of that cemetery and just gazed across. Everything looked so dry. I remember thinking over and over that I didn't want to be there. As I stared at the dry crisp grass I thought why cant I just lay down here, it isn't natural for a parent to out live their child. Why do I have to go on? Just then I looked straight ahead and there was a large white angel with her arms stretched out. I asked if there were any lots near the angel and he said yes so that's where we decided she would be.
Later that day it was time to pick out her burial clothes. I had climbed those stairs a million times at our house but this time honestly felt like slow motion. I can remember every single stepped as I felt like I was marching to my doom. It was as if I was spiralling down hill and couldn't stop but...at the same time I felt God was holding my hand. It was as if he couldn't keep me from the pain but he would be right there with me and carry me through it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

#21- The suprise party

Time flew by so quickly those last four weeks. But one thing that seemed to stop time was a holding Brooke. I can never explain the way it felt to hold her. It was as if time did literally stop and you knew that moment would have to be a memory that would need to sustain you the rest of your life. Brooklyn steadily grew weaker to the point that she needed to lay in her little hospital bed almost all of the time. She had never slept alone so that was quiet an adjustment...for me not her. She probably loved the freedom but me being mother hen parked the bed right next to mine and set a chair between them. We would take turns sitting in the chair spending time with her and watching over her. I sent Timmy to Wal Mart to get her some Dora sheets and a comforter because she was her favorite character.
It was truly the most peaceful thing I've ever seen. She simply just slept. While she slept we sat with her and visited with friends and relatives who came and went. A couple of our good friends Carson and Becky literally moved in with us and what a blessing we were. Becky brought so much laughter into that room. At bedtime, we all piled in the bed. Some of us slept, some laughed and some cried. Timmy is such a jokester, he said he had never slept with so many different women in his life.
One Saturday morning was a little different. I looked up and there was two big beautiful brown eyes staring at me. She was awake! And suddenly the thought struck me... she wasnt going to live to see her birthday so today would be her birthday! I jumped up and looked at Goldie and said, "I cant believe you didnt tell me Aunt GO GO." Goldie just glared at me like I had lost my mind. She never knew what to expect with me. When it came to Brooklynn I would climb the tallest tower just to see her smile. "Told you what", Goldie said. "You forgot to tell me that today was Brookies Birthday!" "Oh it is?" she asked. "Yes, and if you will sit here I will be right back." I jumped in my car and made a 5 min trip to Walmart. I ran through that store as quickly as I could clearing out every piece of Dora Bday supplies they had. Then I swung by the deli and grabbed a big birthday cake. I was about to have an anxiety attack waiting in line praying so hard that she would stay awake.
I came through the door and there were those big brown eyes. I shouted Happy Birthday Brooke! My brother in law and sister in law had just came in the door. I said you are just in time for our party. They knew it wasn't really her birthday but neither even blinked an eye and just jumped right in and played the part. I hung a banner up over the door that read "Happy Birthday" in bright letters. We lit the candles and we came through there like a small parade blowing bubbles singing her favorite song..Happy Birthday. The smile on her face still is fresh in my mind. She opened all of her presents, smiled the biggest smiles and just as if God had wakened her from a coma for just a short time...peacefully back off to sleep she went.