reminiscing…

I think I am going to go to be early-ish tonight. I am plumb exhausted after a very busy weekend and not much sleep. For some reason I have been waking up in the early hours and thinking. On top of that I still haven’t recovered from going to bed at about 3am on Friday night and getting up at 7 am the next morning. I need my sleep, I tell ya!

Friday night was a very special church service. It ended late since almost the whole church got up at our pastor’s invitation to share about what we feel God is doing among us. We all agree as a church body that change is in the air and our pastor will be taking some time off to be alone with God and seek direction about where we are to go next. It is exciting!  Our church is such a special and unique place and we truly are like a family. I am so blessed.

I got to school a bit late today because the youngest has an infection in his belly button and was dragging this morning. He had been seen by the doctor over the weekend and I thought he’d be fine at school today but I was hardly there for a few minutes when I realised I had made a mistake. The boy was in pain and was tired and just wanted his mommy. He perked up noticeably when his teacher sent him to me so that I could take him home, which confirmed my belief that at least some of his ‘dragginess’ was a bit embellished. Still, we came home and I am glad we did. I was quite worried about him.

I decided to take him to a nearby emergency room (since I STILL don’t have a pediatrician for my kids) for a second opinion. Taking him there though, brought back a flood of memories.

Exactly a year and four days ago, little miss Jenna was running around nakey in my bedroom shortly after a bath. I was on the other side of the room, taking out clothes for her to wear, when she tripped and hit her mouth on our bed frame. HARD. I panicked as I saw the blood on her mouth and her four front teeth, bent all the way back in her mouth.

I remember dressing her in a red shirt so the blood wouldn’t show too badly, and being very flustered (so NOT like me) as I told the oldest to get his brothers ready so we could go to the ER. He had to remind me that he was old enough to stay home with his brothers (he was babysitting for us often by then) and we needn’t all go. I really wasn’t thinking straight.

I met up with hubby on the way, and as he drove I sat in the back of the car, next to Jenna’s car seat and read If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I was worried because she seemed so ‘out of it’. She kept wanting to go to sleep, which I attributed to shock, and it was hard work keeping her awake.

I can’t remember ever having better treatment at a medical facility. The staff were superb and so gentle with Jenna. Though they normally close at 7, they stayed open until around 10 pm, treating  her. The muffiny talked only when she had to, and only in mono-syllables. Her large eyes expressed her pain, yet every now and then, a comment from a kind nurse would make them soften into a smile. The doctor waited for advice from a maxillio-facial surgeon before proceeding. For a while they thought we might have to pull her teeth out, but they decided to attempt straightening them. Jenna was given a drug which would place her (in the doctor’s words) in a ‘twilight zone’, she seemed semi-awake but was not aware of them working on her. The doctor said it felt like snapping lego’s in place. (Ewww).

We waited around for a good while for Jenna to emerge from her drug induced ‘zone’. It was scary seeing her like that. The whole time we were there I lay on the bed next to her, first watching tv with her and talking her through everything, and later trying to talk her back from the half-asleep zone she was in, to our world. When Jenna seemed fairly awake and with us again, we left, with many thanks and the doctor’s cell phone number. He was going to sleep with it next to his bed that night, in case we wanted to reach him, something his nurse said was a very unusual thing for him to do.

Months later, when Jenna had gone to heaven and I was desperate to remember every little detail I could about her I called the medical facility to ask for her weight at the time she was treated. “Oh,” the lady replied, “we remember Jenna fondly. How is she?”  They had no way of knowing that she had gone to Jesus and were totally shocked. We received a sweet card from them in the mail a week later.

So today I visited the place again. I had dropped off some thank you flowers at the front desk a few months ago, but today I was taken back and shown into a room with my son. As he lay down on the bed and the nurse handed me a remote, pointing out the tv mounted in the corner, memories came flooding back. I was glad the nurse had left at that point, because I was tearing up. I remember laying on the bed with my muffiny while her daddy sat beside us and channel-surfing with those same remotes while we waited for the doctors to see her.

We happened to see the same doctor who had treated Jenna, and he remembered me. Once again I was grateful for his careful examination and excellent bedside manner as he looked my son over. As we left I had a glimse of the room where we had lain with Jenna and I held the tears in long enough to reach the car. Then I explained to the boy that I was missing his sister, and allowed myself to just cry.

The days after Jenna hit her mouth were trying. She was grumpy. She refused to talk. She didn’t want to be alone. She didn’t want anything near her mouth. I was worried she’d get dehydrated because she wasn’t even taking in fluids. Out of sheer desperation, I used empty spray candy containers my boys had collected to spray electrolyte solution into her mouth. Since the spray candy thingies spray miniscule amounts of liquid at a time, it was a full time job just making sure Jenna was getting enough fluids. On the third day she started drinking Pediasure. Out of a cup! The next day, she started eating Rice-a-roni. It was all she’d eat.

Our flight to South Africa was booked for 6 days after the accident. By then the muffiny was eating, albeit in a very picky fashion, and she was still as grumpy as all-get-out. Hubby said she was starting to act like a prima donna. She was not a happy camper on the flight and I remember I was not either, I must have slept all of an hour on the 16 hour flight.

But I run ahead of myself and this post is getting long. I don’t know why I am even writing this and how it could possibly be an interesting read. But tonight I am reminiscing – big time.

I happened to make Rice-a-Roni tonight because it was quick and would go nicely with my chicken stir-fry. The smell again reminded me of those post-mouth-injury days with Jenna where the world stopped and all I did was tend to her.

I’m posting a picture I took two days after her fall. I’ll make it small so you don’t have to see the detail if you don’t want to. It should come up larger if you click on it. Her lip is quite swollen and lacerated (she needed stitches in her lip too) and it is definitely not a happy picture of the muffiny. The picture is dear to me though because those eyes express a million words.

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In the pictures that I have of Jenna after her fall it is obvious that her teeth aren’t quite straight. They were perfectly aligned before my bed changed it. My bed still wears the scars – there are little Jenna teeth marks in the wood which I stroke lovingly every now and then. Just another little reminder that she was here.

My youngest son is doing fine, by the way. The antibiotics are kicking in and he had a much better end to the day to make up for its’ bad start.

And just because I don’t want to end this off with such a sad picture of Jenna, here is a happy one – with her crooked teeth:

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15 responses to “reminiscing…

  1. Sumi, thank you for sharing your heart with us. It, of course, makes my heart ache with yours, but it also makes me feel like I know a little more about your sweet Jenna! She is so beautiful and would be even with no teeth at all. 😉 I pray these coming weeks are gentle with you and that the Lord would draw so near you that you wonder if it’s His breath on your cheeks.

  2. You bring your memories to life. Thank you.

  3. Starting my day weeping for you Sumi. Thanks for sharing this story.

  4. What a sweet, beautiful story. I was so moved by the sovereignty of God peppered all throughout it. Your heart is such a treasure, Sumi, and you express it so well through your writing. I first discovered your blog right after Jenna went to be with Jesus and I’ve been reading it continuously since. I’m incredibly blessed by your journey and all God has done in your life through such a tragic loss. Thank you for vulnerably and courageously sharing your heart with all of us. May God’s sweet favor surround you and your family today.

  5. I always enjoy your “shares”, my heart hurts for you.

  6. That was a beautiful memory, Sumi, even if painful. Thank you for sharing it.

    I hurt as I know you are hurting.

    Big HUGS.

  7. “she was here” such painful words.

    Thank you for sharing these memories of your dear little girl.

  8. I cried along with you….you share your heart so openly…that is a gift. I’m praying fervently for you in these coming weeks (and of course past this time as well).

    Our church is also going through a change and our Pastor (and the congregation) are all excited! God is moving among His people!!

    Love you!

  9. Reminisce all you want and in that find healing. Also, know it touches the heart of every reader and heals wounds in us as well.

  10. I know this wasn’t exactly the point of your post, but how do you get an infection in your belly button??? hmm, boys.

  11. Reminiscing is good. No matter how long it has been since we lost a loved one we still miss them and sometimes just need that time. I ran into a photo of my Gram the other day and it still hurts that she is not here, she is my mother for she raised me and didn’t abuse me like my birth mother did. She has been gone for over 18 years. I’m glad that the boy is feeling better. I’m sad for all of us who have lost loved ones that are dearly missed. Hugs

  12. i will never forget your jenna! and i will weep for you often. i might go to uganda with our church this summer; i know that isn’t “south” africa but i am thinking that i will think of her even more often while there. if i am fortunate enough to get to make the trip, i will try and think of some little something i can do while there in her sweet memory! jan

  13. Hi Sumi,

    I just read your comment on my post. I’m glad you and hubby “got it”. :o) I’m not sure how many others would, though, so I decided I had best just edit it out. But, you KNOW what I mean. We no longer fear death. Death means Hannah, you know? We don’t want to leave our earthly family, but we know the Monkey will be awaiting us and that is truly divine. :o)

    Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I find I’m so much more sensitive to these things than I ever was before losing Han.

    HUGS!

  14. Just sitting here missing a little person I did not know! i am weeping and praying for you. May God wrap His loving and strong arms around you today Sumi! Thanks for sharing your sweet memories.

  15. I loved reading about your memories. This mother’s heart truly feels for yours. You’re such a beautiful lady, Sumi.

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