One year ago today, my daughter was discharged from the hospital. Leaving the hospital should be a happy time but instead it was a tough one. Tillery had had a fall that caused a brain bleed. In order to allow room for the swelling in her head, doctors had to remove the bone on the right side of her head. That bone was put in a freezer to be replaced months later. So, you see, when we left the hospital, we didn't take home a whole and healthy child. Instead, we left with 95% of her and a piece of her would remain with them.
When we left the hospital, we crossed the street to a place that had been our "home away from home" for a little over a month, 350 miles from a place that we called home. We were thankful to be out of the hospital for Thanksgiving but we knew that it would still be a hard day. On a day with so much hype for traditions and family and being "home for the holidays", it was hard to find joy in eating a meal that wasn't made by my family, in a place that was still unfamiliar, surrounded by people we didn't know well. We did have some amazing family members who came to celebrate the day with us and everyone did the best we could to make the day happy.
The ugly truth was, I was not at peace. I was not thankful. Instead, I was terrified.
Tillery's fall hit me hard. It was the first time I really thought about what it would be like to lose her. It was more than I could handle. I started having nightmares. I would stay up really late at night, just watching her and when I finally had to close my eyes, my head was filled with sadness and loss and horrifying images. I would wake in a sweat with the memories of my dreams haunting me.
Finally, one night, I had had enough! I was tired of living in fear and being controlled by these visions. I prayed that God would end the dreams for me, that He would push Satan out of my head, out of my room, and out of my life, and that I would find peace in the way things were. Then I found this verse:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
I realized that God was with me. Not only was He with me, He was working for good. I also realized that as much as I wanted her to come through this all and as much as that was going to be my prayer, if she did not survive this, God was still going to work for good. He would see me through. I prayed that I would remember this and that I would hold on to that faith that He was in control and that He would always work for good.
And then I had peace.
Then I slept.
On Thursday, we will be at my parent's house. We will eat a meal that my mom will prepare, filled with our family's cherished recipes. I will be surrounded by my family, including a whole and healthier Tillery. I am thankful for where we are a year later. I'm also thankful that even if we weren't in this same place, God would still be working for good.
*To my friends who lost children this year, you are always in my prayers. I'm thankful for your children and what they taught me. Remembering Levi, Easton, Parker, Eliza, Dominic, Rana, and Bennett. Thank you for sharing them.