Sunday, November 22, 2009

Give Thanks

I love the Fall!  

The beautiful colors of nature; the changing temperatures from hot and muggy to cool and breezy; the smell of crisp air; looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Part of my love of Fall has to do with not having it growing up in China.  The weather usually went from hot to cold, with no in between.  The 5 years I spent in Manila, Philippines, were even more disappointing.  School started in August Hot and humid, then went to hot and rainy and by Christmas it was just hot.  No fall weather at all!  I used to long for the refreshing coolness I remembered from my early days in Tennessee.

Many Autumn days have past since I returned to the US.  Now it has taken on new meaning for me.  The cool weather and beautiful trees remind me of the first several months Abby was in the NICU, fighting for life.  The drive from my parents' condo in Knoxville to the hospital took us through many colorful areas.  Each trip taking us back to face a new crisis for her.

It's amazing how all the senses grab hold of intense memories and cling to them until you experience those triggers again.  Smells especially.  I remember each and every race to the NICU with the back drop of Fall.

Right before Thanksgiving 2003 Abby had undergone one of many surgeries.  This one was to place a temporary shunt in her brain to relieve excess fluid.  We all thought she was strong enough to tolerate the procedure, even though only weeks before she had been gravely ill.  The surgery went well and I distinctly remember driving home weary from the day, admiring the fall foliage, looking forward to sleep.   

Then the dreaded phone call.  

Driving back to the hospital in a fog of exhaustion and disbelief we returned to give permission for an emergency surgery.  Her bowels had perforated, again.  The stress of the shunt surgery had proved to be too much for her body.

That night we stayed in the NICU with Abby and prepared to say good bye to her, again.  In the early morning hours the doctors took her back to the OR for yet another procedure.  Her body was fighting hard, her veins had shut down and they needed more IV access.  They put in a central line (broviac) for all the medications she needed.

This all happened days before Thanksgiving that year.  This is what I think of when we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving day.

I have so much to be thankful for!  Thankful that Abby no longer has her ileostomy bag, and is able to have mostly normal stools.  (sorry if TMI!)  Thankful that she doesn't need TPN anymore.  Thankful that she is growing into her 6 year old self, with attitude and sweetness.

So thankful for my boys.  My two, full term, handsome boys.  Thankful for all the laughter, smiles and tears of joy they bring.  

Thankful for my hard working, compassionate husband who has shared so many experiences with me, sad ones and happy ones. 

Thankful for a Faithful Heavenly Father who never leaves us, and never gives up on us.

Psalm 34:7-9

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.

Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing."


coriejones said...

Oh, I remember being called at home that day, I remember standing on my deck crying for you all and Abby! I will never forget that day and all of you who blessed my life so much for being in it! I learned so many life lessons from caring for Abby and I am so grateful that God blessed me to take care of Abby and to be around her wonderful family! I dont think you all will ever realize how thankful I am for you all!

Christy Younger said...

Wow, Corie, what an amazing friend you are. I remember that fall too. What beautiful writing, my sweet sis. I'm so proud of the woman you are, the Mom, the friend. I love you all so much!

The Ahmeds said...

Praying for you all! Thank God for not that happening this year( hopefullly)!

MaryM said...

Thank you Patty for sharing these memories. They are poignant and beautiful. You have allowed the Father to use all of these situations redemptively, as we are all pointed to Him through our precious Abby. We thank God for her and for all of you. We love your family!