I thought I would not have to write this blog for some time, but life turns on a dime. Our family is hurting deeply right now. As I write this, my 10 year old sister-in-law, Grace, is in her final hours of life. She entered Hospice care about 3 weeks ago. Originally, everyone thought we had more time, but she took a turn for the worst on Wednesday.
I met Grace (and Sam) long before Sam and I were dating, and she became my sister-in-law. I was doing my clinicals for college. The sleep lab I was at did studies on pediatric patients and adults. Grace was the first pediatric patient I ever hooked up. Sam actually brought her to the lab that night.
As a student tech, who’d never worked with pediatric patients before, I was scared. Grace was all smiles during the set up. I learned later that this was not uncommon for her. It was that night that Sam mentioned she was going to go to school to be a sleep tech as well. She would graduate the year after me.
Grace had to be about 2 or 3 years old when I did that first sleep study. She had her share of medical issues then and over the course of the last 8-9 years, she has had multiple surgeries, procedures, and hospital stays.
When Sam’s parents adopted Grace, they knew it would be a long road ahead. They did everything and anything they could to make sure Grace received the proper medical care she needed. Believe me when I tell you that she needed a lot!
Grace is just shy of her 11th birthday. She has been a fighter every single day of her short life. As you can imagine, all that fighting can make a body tired. She is tired.
Family and friends have been coming and going since Wednesday to say goodbye. It was then that the family was told that she only had a short time left. Sam went over this morning and things changed very quickly this afternoon. So she is staying there as long as necessary.
When I worked on the radio, we did radio-thons for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It was founded by actor Danny Thomas, and it has done so much for children with cancer. Danny once said, “No child should die in the dawn of life.” I couldn’t agree more. Grace is still in the dawn of life.
The time ahead is going to be very difficult for all of us. My heart aches for my wife, who has a very close relationship with Grace. I cannot imagine the hurt her parents are feeling, not to mention her brothers and sisters And our sweet Ella, oh, how she loves her Aunt Gracie. We don’t even know how to explain this to her.
To say that Grace is loved by many is an understatement. The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, teachers, and others has been amazing. Her smile always made others smile and I believe that just the thought of her smile will continue to bring smiles.
If you would be so kind as to keep my wife, her parents, her siblings and our family in your prayers, I would be forever grateful. While we will miss her, there is a great comfort in the words of the Bible. Here, we say our earthy goodbyes, but it isn’t really a goodbye for us. We believe that there will be a reunion.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4:
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
What a comfort those words are. The heavenly reunion will be with Grace and those who have gone on before her. This brings a sense of peace, however, there will be a painful void for us when she leaves. While we deal with that, we rejoice that she will be pain free in heaven.
We love you Grace. You will never be forgotten. We will miss you every single day! Until we see each other again, dance with Jesus, sweet girl.