He Was There

Bit by bit I’m learning and changing and giving myself grace and understanding when I think about Laila’s death.  Every now and again the enemy tries to come in and plant doubt or guilt and I battle that with God’s word and the Truth.  I’d like to share a recent experience that helped….

I was sitting in church a few weeks ago and happened to sit next to a friend who also recently lost her daughter.  She noticed my struggle through worship and uncontrollable crying, even though I try to hide it.  A few days later I received a message with information regarding a therapy called EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).  I had a few other friends who had done this kind of therapy but I didn’t really understand what it was or how it helped.  I’d like to explain my experience to you.

I arrived at Rose Wierzba counseling and was met with a smile from a familiar friend who knows the pain that I have been through.  She knows the pain all too well.  She knows what it is like to care for a child with an illness and then to eventually lose that precious child.  I’m not thankful for our circumstances but I’m so thankful for someone I felt comfortable to share this hurt with.

Rose and I talked for a few minutes about the trauma that I have been through and a few scenarios in particular that still cause me anxiety and pain.  I decided I was ready to process the night Laila died and let her help me with the intense memories that were still haunting me.  She explained to me that I would be holding these little buzzing handles in each hand and that would help to stimulate my left and right brain to work better together and create new connections.  Though that might seem weird to someone else, this made perfect sense to me.  I have learned so much about the brain through fostering and adopting and having two special needs children.  It is truly incredible the way God made our bodies and all their parts work so closely together.  When stimulating the nerves in the hands with the vibration, it stimulates the brain.  So very cool.

The point I couldn’t get past when thinking about the night Laila died was when I panicked when I realized she was actually gone.  Even just thinking or talking about it I would feel my chest tighten and a small amount of the panic returning.  I also struggle with the guilt of how I scared Jackson and made him go through watching me like that.  I did write about it here if you would like to know more about that night…

Rose had me hold the buzzers and go back in my memory to the part that I was struggling the most with and step by step let the Holy Spirit remind me of each thing…..

I’m laying in bed with Laila and watching the oximeter rapidly decline as her heart and lungs were stopping

I stare at Laila in the longest instant of unbelief that she was not going to take another breath

I hyperventilate and scream and beg her to breathe again

I see Jackson’s panicked face, he is also begging me to take a breath

I rip out all of the tubes that are connected to Laila and scoop her up into my arms

I won’t let anyone take her from me

………..Rose has me take a pause, take a breath and tell her where I am in my memory because all of this is being done in silence as I process my memories privately.  But then after a break we begin again…….. (this happens several times throughout our session)

I realize that I am literally sweating from holding Laila and the high fever she had right before she died.  I find the strength to scoot off the bed and hand her body to Jack.  He is sitting in the recliner.  I cover them with a bright white sheet and watch Jack hold his baby girl.

Jack holds her awhile and then the funeral director arrives.  I take her from Jack and lay her back in her bed

……We stop again.  I tell Rose “I did that.  I actually got up and handed her to Jack and then I laid her back in her bed.  I did that.  I had the strength to do that.”  I was beginning to see more than just my panic from that night……

We left Laila in her bed and came to the table to talk funeral arrangements for awhile

When it was time for them to take her, Andy offered to carry her to the stretcher but I said “no, I can do it.”

I carried her to the stretcher and laid her down one last time

I stood behind each kid as they leaned over and said goodbye to their sister

…….We stop.  “I was able to to that.  I was able to be the one to carry her and lay her down.  I was able to be strong for my big kids as they said goodbye…..”

As she was being wheeled away, I couldn’t watch.  I couldn’t handle it so I went to my room for a moment alone.

When I came out Tammy and the hospice nurse were disposing of all of the medicines and cleaning things up in Laila’s room.  I didn’t help them.

…….We stop “I did what I need to do to take care of myself that night and that is good.  I finally found the balance of mother/therapist/nurse/doctor and was able to just be me…”

That night when I laid down in bed I sobbed and worried that I might never sleep

Jack put his arm around me and we slept the whole night.

……. this was the end of my memory of that night.  I was able to see so much strength I had that night that I had forgotten about and not just what I had done wrong and what had scared me for so long….. but now is where the good part comes in……

Rose then asked me where I thought Jesus was through all of it.  She asked me to go back through all those memories of that night again slowly and picture Jesus in them.  Everyone always says things like “Jesus is with you” or “He was giving you strength” but I had never physically pictured Him there.  So she gave me some time and when I was ready, I went back through the whole thing again and I would like to share it over again with you.  I know that this is getting long but believe me, it’s worth it.

 

I’m laying in bed with Laila and watching the oximeter rapidly decline as her heart and lungs were stoppingJesus was standing next to Laila on the opposite side as me.  He touched her chest as she took her last breath as if to stop her heart and put her at peace.

I stare at Laila in the longest instant of unbelief that she was not going to take another breath

I hyperventilate and scream and beg her to breathe again Jesus is standing next to Jackson looking at me with him, His arm around Jackson

I see Jackson’s panicked face, he is also begging me to take a breath

I rip out all of the tubes that are connected to Laila and scoop her up into my arms Jesus is still standing next to the edge of the bed looking at me and waiting.

I won’t let anyone take her from me

I realize that I am literally sweating from holding Laila and the high fever she had right before she died.  I find the strength to scoot off the bed and hand her body to Jack.  He is sitting in the recliner.  I cover them with a bright white sheet and watch Jack hold his baby. Jesus places His hands under Laila and cradles her with me as I scoot off the bed and hand her to Jack.  Carrying her weight with me

After Jack holds her awhile and then the funeral director arrives.  I take her from Jack and lay her back in her bed As Jack holds her, Jesus has His arm around the back of the recliner, leaning in and staring at them both.  Then He holds her weight with me again as transfer her from Jack to the bed again.

We left Laila in her bed and came to the table to talk funeral arrangements for awhile As I sit at the table talking, I have my hands folded in front of me and Jesus has His hands cupped around mine like a friend sitting and quietly supporting me.

When it was time for them to take her, Andy offered to carry her to the stretcher but I said “no, I can do it.”

I carried her to the stretcher and laid her down one last time Again He carried her with me

I stood behind each kid as they leaned over and said goodbye to their sister As each child leaned over and kissed their sister goodbye, Jesus gently stroked their hair back in comfort

As she was being wheeled away, I couldn’t watch.  I couldn’t handle it so I went to my room for a moment alone. Jesus stood there with me, watching me gather strength

When I came out Tammy and the hospice nurse were disposing of all of the medicines and cleaning things up in Laila’s room.  I didn’t help them.

That night when I laid down in bed I sobbed and worried that I might never sleep

Jack put his arm around me and we slept the whole night. As I laid crying I watched Jesus pick up Jack’s arm and wrap it around me.

 

My memory has changed.  I can never again picture the night Laila died without picturing where Jesus was in those very difficult moments.  It’s simply beautiful to me that in my mind He touched us each in different ways.  Why don’t we do that?  Why do we just talk about Him but not picture him?  And the EMDR was stimulating my brain connections that whole time so that this is the memory that my mind will hold onto and overpower the old memory.  Was it still a traumatic event, yes.  Does it haunt me anymore, no.  I’m in awe of the fact that in a one hour session, God was able to change so much in me.  I’m so beyond grateful.

Thank you Rose.

 

Thanks for letting me share.


About Angie

My greatest desire in life was always to be a wife and mother. As I try to do these things to the best of my ability some days I pull my hair out, some days I cry, sometimes I laugh until my stomach hurts and EVERYDAY I thank God for giving me the desires of my heart in His timing and His will and ask Him to give me the strength to do it His way.


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