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Posting withdrawals

I wish I could say that the Mac gods were kind and benevolent, but they are a cruel, teasing master! After calling to be sure my computer was ready, we went to the mall in downtown Tama…only to find that they were mistaken, totally and utterly mistaken…it was NOT ready! Why? Why toy with my emotions like that?

I got Cinnabons instead. Because I am all about the comfort food. I get to post this one from Peter’s computer.

It has been an incredibly long week and there is much to update about. Pete did a great job of keeping the posts up to date, he doesn’t do it much anymore, but when he does he smacks that ball out of the park!

Wednesday my computer hit the skids. On a normal day that would be distressing, especially to someone who is as internet-dependent as I am. I have websites to check on, email to receive and holy cow! what if Lindsay Lohan does something really stupid and I can’t receive the up to the minute blow by blow of her actions.

But on this day, of all days, it was a tremendous stress. Whenever a friend heads to the hospital, there are always calls of “what can I do to help?” It’s hit or miss on whether is there anything that can be done. But we are always looking out for each other to see what we can do to lighten the load. We got tons of help and wonderful visitors to make our miserable stay at the hospital better…plus, we had Zack and I want to stress how vital his family’s presence was to making the long week bearable. It’s just an understanding of how heavy the load gets and a desire to try and help in carrying it.

But then something devastating happens that there is nothing that I can do. There is no food to be brought or toy to bring a smile, there is no right thing to say or distraction to be had. It is an awful feeling of helplessness to know that a friend has lost a child, there is no comfort that we can offer, only prayers and love.

Then I was so happy when the Keslers asked me to make a video of photos of Sierra. I was just glad to have something to do, to be able to give something to the process, I guess. Mary Lynn, Sierra’s mom, and Katie, Angelo’s mom, came over Wednesday morning so we could go through photos and get started on the video that would play at Sierra’s service.

My computer goes kaput. Now, I hope you can see why I would start crying at the Apple store on Thursday when the tech tells me “we can’t fix it now, it’ll be at least 24 hours”. This poor guy had to stand there while I fell apart, telling him that I had to make a movie for a child’s funeral. I needed to do this, to do anything to help with this day. Good grief, I have nothing else, this is the least…and I can’t do it.

I think the stress of Peyton being in the hospital and two children passing just all got wrapped up in that moment, and I LOST it!

Fortunately, Cindy from the CCC loaned me her Mac laptop so that I could get the video completed in time. It took me forever because I had to keep walking away from the computer to just collect my thoughts and recompose. It was awful and beautiful and so so gutwrenching to look at her beautiful face, the pictures of her so happy with her family and know that these memories are all they are going to have of her now.

Friday was Sierra’s service. It was amazing to see the number of people who came to show this family how loved they are, how much Sierra’s life meant, what an impact they’ve had on the people blessed to know them. It is so hard not to sit in that room and see the grief and just pray and pray that it’s not us, that we don’t have to do this with our child. The day is not about us, it’s not about our struggle, but it pierces the core of my fears.

Another child with cancer dies and all we are left with is the wonderful joy she brought to the world, and the knowledge that our lives here are less with her gone. The words her mother gave me to add to her video were “We will see you soon”. Faith that we will all see her and the many others that have been lost in Heaven is all we have to comfort ourselves with.

We will see you soon, Sierra.

Peter came home on Friday night, partly to be here for Mother’s Day, partly just to see Peyton with his own eyes and see that she’s recovering, partly to be here for me when he knows my heart is hurting so much. We are both just exhausted. He’s been working and this is the third weekend in a row he’s driven the trip down here. I haven’t slept a complete night in over 2 weeks, between the hospital and the emotional upheaval. We are a tired household, but it’s just awesome to be together.

Today was so good for us. Peter got to spend some lounging time with all three kids while I went out with a couple of friends to look for costumes for a fundraising event for the CCC next weekend. Holly and Natalie and I hit the Goodwill to pick out a theme for our team for the Quest for Hope scavenger hunt and we had a blast. I needed to not think about what the past 2 weeks have been, to laugh and be silly with these friends. For a little while I was able to push that all away and just giggle with the awfulness of some of the dresses we picked, trying to decide on a theme for our outfits….ugly prom dresses, 70’s psychedelic, the Mormon cult with those hideous flowered monstrosities…we ultimately picked some cheetah print outfits. They are perfect, perfectly awful and we are looking forward to our time out.

It’s hard to even get in the mood to go out and try to have fun, but we NEED to. I have to find that joy because right now, it’s hard to hold on to. There is a lot of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. I have to find my happiness in the now. I have to follow my own advice that I can’t let the uncertainty of tomorrow steal my joy of the NOW.

Having some really special time with the kids and enjoying their craziness is so healing for me. I love to hear the things that come out of their mouths, watching the things they do because these children are my purpose and my reason. God blessed me, gifted me with these amazing little people and I am so excited because Mother’s Day is less about them celebrating me as a mother and more about me wrapping my heart around the gift of them making me a mother.

I pray that each of you that are mothers remember the feeling that you’ll have on this day, this appreciation and devoted love. It’s not just one day to say “You’re cool, mom”, but one day to remind you to embrace the responsibility, the joy and gift that God has bestowed upon us. We get the miracle of carrying that baby under our hearts or accepting a child that we didn’t birth, but who holds our heart so completely that we don’t know the difference….we get to be the arms that God uses to wrap our children in comfort when they are hurting or fearful…we get a chance to guide these children, to help grow them into the people they are going to become…for however long the Lord grants us time with them. I am so thankful for each and every moment I get with them, they are my greatest gift. Every day should be Mother’s Day, not for what we get, but for what we have.

Happy Mother’s Day.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

Ps. I guess as how this site is supposed to be about Peyton, you’d probably like an update on her as well. Counts on Thursday were lousy, but not as lousy as when we left the hospital on Monday. We head back to the hospital on Tuesday, she is supposed to get her Vincristine and start her steroid pulse. If her counts are still low she’ll get those two meds, but we’ll hold the Methotrexate and 6MP that she takes orally at home until they come up. She is still on her anti-viral and stool softener. Her body is starting to feel better from all the poop issues. She’s not 100% on that one, her tummy is still hurting and her booty is still sore, but she’s evening out and complaining less with each bowel movement. Her pain through this process has been hard to withstand for both of us, but it is getting better every day. Each day also brings more energy and smiles, so there really can’t be too many complaints. She still looks terribly pale to me, her hair is so thin, but I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be home and on the mend.

Oh, and I have to add this little conversation between Rachael and Peyton in the van tonight.

Peyton was listening to her IPod, singing loudly (Beyonce and I’m in the Lord’s army, interesting playlist she has there) and having a blast. Rachael was trying hard to not listen when she’s finally had enough.

“Turn the volume down.”

“The volume IS down!”

“The volume in your mouth!”

6 Comments on “Posting withdrawals”

  1. #1 Marie
    on May 11th, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Oh thank goodness you found a computer to update from, I was going through Mayhew family withdrawls! (I may need to look into a treatment facility for that one.) Glad to hear Peyton is on the mend and driving Rachael crazy.

  2. #2 Dawn
    on May 11th, 2008 at 3:37 am

    Welcome back!! And Happy Mothers Day. What a lovely description of what Mothers Day should mean to all of us Mums.:SMILE
    Have a great weekend together.
    With love,

  3. #3 Karalyn
    on May 11th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Happy Mother's Day Anissa!

  4. #4 Lilly
    on May 11th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Happy Mother's Day Anissa! I've been stuck in my studying hole and not keeping up with the posts. Hope your day is fantastic and restful… you deserve it! You have three wonderful kids … thanks for the opportunity to hang out with my awesome buddy! :SMILE

  5. #5 Patti Albritton
    on May 11th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Happy Mother's Day, Anissa! Enjoy the day with your family all together! Great job making it down Peter!!! You Rock! =)

  6. #6 Jennifer Rivera
    on May 11th, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    LOLOL!!! Oh Rachael's comment is so funny! Here I was sitting reading your post and just crying my eyes out for Sierra, and then comes the Rachael story. You are so good at bringing the light to the front when things seem so dark! That is a gift of yours you know!

    Happy Mother's Day my friend!