We were so blessed in that we got to attend our friends’ 4th annual Wings of Angels Auction this past Saturday evening. We haven’t been able to attend the past 2 years because Gabi has been sick or we’ve had tremendous financial stress that we literally didn’t have enough gas money to get to Milwuakee. But not this year!! We had the honor of attending this wonderful event and all the proceeds go directly to the CICU at CHW where Gabi has spent over 350 days/nights of her life.
Over 270 doctors, nurses, friends, colleagues and heart parents attended. Some of us heart parents are still blessed to be able to see our children’s faces and hear their laughter and be able to wipe away their tears. Other parents that I know and attended could only dream of what their child would look like today and what their laughter would sound like. My friend’s hold this benefit in honor of their sweet Carsyn that died in Sept of 2009. She was only 4 months old. They raised over $21,000 in her name! Absolutely amazing!!
Ethan was asked to say grace before dinner. Luckily he had time to have a few cocktails beforehand but he did a great job. He did such a great job. This is what he whipped together within a few minutes:
Thank you God for our hearts.
Thank you for the beats in this room and
thank you for the rhythm reigning down from above.
Thank you for the Buchmanns and their family of hearts that bring us all together tonight
Bless us, Oh Lord,
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
Sitting at our table was one of beloved nurse’s, (Katie) parents, the Buchmann’s pediatrician and his wife, Michelle’s college basketball coach and his dear wife and our dear friends, the Hartman’s. They have a 5 year old son named Jack with HLHS. He is doing OK, similar to Gabi. He has issues but he is certainly holding his own. We got a lot of sympathetic questions from our table mates.
There is a lot of emotion in this evening. I got to speak one on one with the head of the CICU for quite some time. She always asks about all the kids and always remembers all of their names. She told me that it was a tough winter int he CICU. They lost about 8 babies. MUCH much more than years past. She was really distraught. And all I kept thinking was a few things:
- It’s amazing to me how much the doctors care.
- How much pain those parents are in now
- How easily that one of those babies could have been Gabi.
So much raw emotion is surfaced on this evening. Those parents that have lost their children are facing the worst pain that one can ever imagine. Their child’s day to leave this place has already come and gone. I look at Gabi and wonder how many days she has left. Do you ever look at your children and wonder if they are going to be in pain when they die or will they die peacefully? When I kiss Gabi goodnight, I often look at her and pray that she go peacefully…. even if it’s tonight.
You see, their pain is constant, ours is a rollercoaster. Our pain is coming. Our pain is on hold. I know she will need a transplant in her future. Can I trust myself to see the signs of when she needs one? What if I miss a fatal sign? Will today be the day that I find her not breathing?
Before I was Gabi’s mother, I couldn’t even bear the thought of death. Myself dying or one of my children dying. I couldn’t go there. I couldn’t even think about it. Once I found out about Gabi’s heart condition, I was forced to confront the possiblity of death. My daughter’s death. Was I to plan a baptism or a funeral? These things didn’t happen to us. We’re all healthy.My grandparents died and my best friend’s mom died, but there were adults. They lead a good life.
But there we were begging for an explanation, begging for help. I thought I was a faithful person. but my faith was challenged. And today I’m better for it.
I started reading and praying and reading and praying. The past few months, I’ve been going through a lof of the motions caring for Gabi. I feed her via G tube and check her shunt. I check her sats and catch her vomit. But it’s good to feel those raw emotions again. It’s OK to hurt for her but it’s a slippery slope and I have to pray to climb myself out of that rawness because it could easily slip into a self-pity mentality. And I WILL NOT go there. Because Gabi is my blessing. I need no pity; I am honored to care for her and be able to pray for her everyday.
And my 4 other children need no pity either. When they run a get a puke bucket and have to forgo fun plans because Gabi is sick or can’t participate. They are better off for it.
We did get a night out so thank you THANK YOU to my awesome sister and my mother for babysitting!