Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Tapestry

It's been just over three months since I last wrote. In that time, my life has changed dramatically. Two major events shaped the last 12 weeks, both of which will deeply impact the rest of my life. The beginning of one life and the end of another. A joyful and happy beginning and terrible and painful ending.

So how will I remember the last three months of 2010? On the one hand, my daughter, Cara Grace, was born. She is perfect. Beautiful, happy, easy-going. A complete joy. On the other, my dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer.) It was agressive. Nasty, horrendous, awful. A devastating disease. The diagnosis came a short three weeks after Cara was born and I was still in the midst of the postpartum hormonal roller-coaster. Needless to say, I was an emotional yo-yo.

The cancer advanced rapidly, almost as fast as my precious baby grew. Every day she would do something new, and every day they discovered a new way the cancer had grown. As my daughter grew healthy and stronger day by day, my dad got sicker and weaker.

By mid-December, less than three months since we first heard the word cancer, Dad was completely incapacitated. He had total kidney failure and had to be on dialysis three times a week. He had fluid around his lungs so he had to be on supplemental oxygen. He wasn't able to walk because he had several tumors on his spine. He was in pain all the time and had lost a lot of weight including all of his body fat. His body had failed him.

By mid-December, less than three months since we first laid eyes on her, Cara was sleeping 12 hours a night and cracking us up with her crazy expressions and baby smiles. She had healthy, glowing skin and grown pudgy and dimpled from her high calorie breast milk diet. She was cooing and gurgling with glee at the everyone who spoke to her. She was a picture of perfect health.

Christmas week. Cara experiences her first Christmas morning. Dad goes into the ICU and ends up on a ventilator. Less than 24 hours later, we are called to the hospital and have to make the dreadful decision to end life support. We sit with Dad until the end. After four excruciating hours, it is over.

The worst three months of my life and the best three months of my life. Life and death woven together to create a beautiful, tragic tapestry.


my name is celina baldwin said...

Becky, I am so sorry about your dad. I loved everything you said at his memorial and honestly, I left there wanting to be more like him. My dad died 9 years ago, and I always, always remember him. Sometimes even now, I'll think, "oh, I need to call my dad and tell him so and so." But..he already knows :) You were a much loved daughter and I believe (not sure theologically how this fits in) that your dad is now with the 'great cloud of witnesses' that cheers us on. Anyway...keep pressing into HIM. Death wasn't on His agenda, but I promise, as I have seen it in my own life, He makes the best of the worst in our lives.

silly eagle books said...

beautifully written---I'm so sorry for your loss, yet so grateful for Cara's life.

Amber said...

Beautiful post, Becky. We've been praying for you all.

Carmen said...

Praying for you. So sorry for your loss. From what I knew about him, your Dad was an amazing man and leaves an amazing legacy.

Anonymous said...

I love you friend. I was moved to tears by your post. You are a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing your heart.~Barb

Juli Jarvis said...

So sorry for your loss. I also lost my mother-in-law on Christmas Eve several years ago, and my mother just weeks after her first great-grandchild was born; both from cancer. So I understand a little of what you're going through. I love the way you wrote this post. You will never stop missing your dad, but the pain does lessen a bit as time goes on. I still think of (and miss) my mother every day, and it's been nearly ten years now, but I promise God will be sufficient for all your needs and the pain will lessen.