One year ago, Sophie and I loaded up and headed home after almost a month inpatient. We had no idea that the next 7 days would be the last days she spent at home, walking, talking, and being herself. Little did we know, her tiny body wasn’t responding to the chemo we’d been pumping into it for 12 weeks and her chest was slowly filling up with cancer filled fluid. Our ‘new normal’ was about to be shattered and changed yet again.
One year later, I’m sitting and thinking about our triumphant return home on this day.
I was by myself at the hospital and Dr. Slone came in to say “Her counts are at 460! You can go home!” Sophie was PUMPED to get to go home and see Daddy, play with her toys-especially her “chichin” (play kitchen) and sleep in her bed. I started packing the room while she bounced in the bed watching a movie. (It was probably Sing.) Thankfully, my mom had just taken a huge load of toys and supplies home for me the day before so I had less to pack. Our sweet nurse Callie carried Soph so I could take the piled up wagon! Callie sat with her on a bench watching the iPad while I went to the parking garage, loaded the car, checked the car seat, and drove around to the front of the hospital. Then I loaded up my baby and we said BYE FELICIA to the hospital.
I’ll never forget getting home that day. We had really been struggling to get her to eat. Her steroid chunkiness was pretty much gone and her little legs were so skinny and weak from being cooped up. But literally the second we got home, she started demanding all food. Grilled cheese, tater tots, “chetchup”, milk, yogurt, chips, rice, grapes….. guys…. she was a bottomless pit of food and we gave her everything she asked for!
It was a good day.
And now, one year later, she’s gone and we went to the hospital to remember and honor her then…we went home. It was a much less triumphant return home. No play kitchen waiting. No Sing on the tv. No Sonic trip. No tiny bald head and skinny legs. Just the two of us, coming home again without our baby.
But yesterday did feel a little different. It wasn’t as crushingly sad. We were able to see a few of our favorites and walk down those familiar hallways. I offered to go change a dressing, give some meds, and sit and do some charting for the nurses but, they said no. 🙂 We hugged necks, told stories of sassy steroid Punkin, shed a few tears, and ate in the cafeteria-Chicken quesadillas, tater tots, and our favorite strawberry water. I even got to pet BLAIR!
On the way home we talked about Sophie, our time at the hospital, and just how amazing she was. Jonathan even commented how, for the first time, leaving wasn’t unbearable. The hospital didn’t feel as much like “home”…which I think is a good thing. Hospitals aren’t supposed to feel normal and homey. You aren’t supposed to have to ask God to give you the strength to walk down the sky bridge and get in the car. You aren’t supposed to long to just sit at the nurses station and talk with your friends. You aren’t supposed to miss sleeping in those hard beds. But we do. We miss it all but, at the same time it’s hard to believe it all happened.
Even so, I’m thankful.
So thankful such a place exists because without it, we wouldn’t have gotten those 7 and a half months with Sophie. While it was hard and horrible…we got to love on her, care for her, watch her be brave, and touch so many lives. I’m thankful for the hundreds of people we’ve grown to love because of her. Doctors, nurses, techs, therapists, child life, dogs, cancer families, other kids, volunteers, church friends, new friends, grieving friends, online friends…..so many people that we never would’ve met without her and without cancer. I’m thankful for a place that we can still “see” her, walk where she walked, and hug people that loved her and witnessed firsthand what she went through.
I miss her so much….but I’m thankful.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18