This Black Saturday morning, I find myself still, thinking of Heather Spohr, who will bury her beautiful Madeline Alice on Tuesday.
I don’t know Heather, had only begun reading her blog and following her twitter stream for a few days before her precious Maddie got sick.
But Tuesday, as she posted updates from the hospital, I found myself nodding and praying for this mom I didn’t know.
“5:49 – Maddie knocked out another IV, this time it bled all over me. Nurses tried four more times to get a new line in to no avail.”
11 years later, I can still see the resident’s face who had tried to get a deep IV line on our Madeline’s 5-week-old thigh, preparing for a second heart surgery. I can hear him say “we’re in.”
I hear Yvette, the PICU nurse tell him firmly but gently “no, you’re in an artery.” Remember him protesting she was wrong. Remember holding a tiny stuffed giraffe covered with blood spatters, closing my eyes and praying alone in a corner of the PICU room. Remember the defeat in the room when they pulled up a monitor on the line.
Yes, an artery.
I remember that resident’s frustrated, embarrassed “Damn it!” Remember our eyes catching, and then remember being startled by the grace that let me smile and say “It’s OK. I know she’s so tiny.”
“6:01 – They’re going to intubate her, I’m freaking out”
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” was playing in the background as I closed my eyes and prayed again for a mother I didn’t know, in a situation I knew all too well.
“Baby, I’ve been here before, I’ve seen this room, I’ve walked this floor…”
Our Madeline wasn’t early, but her heart was too small on the left side. A condition the cardiologist with the South African accent gently said was “not compatible with life.” Did we, they asked, want to pursue surgery or let go? I couldn’t fathom letting go.
Yet early Wednesday morning, I learned Heather had faced the unfathomable. Her Maddie was gone.
I flipped on Cohen again, praying for a mother I don’t know who faced a horror I’ve been spared.
“It’s not a cry you hear at night, it’s not somebody who’s seen the light. It’s a cold, and broken Hallelujah.”
Sometimes, it all makes sense to me. I see the promise of Easter Sunday, catch a glimpse of the Master plan, and can triumphantly proclaim “He is Risen”
But all too often, I am stuck on Saturday. The stone still blocks the door to the tomb. Soldiers still stand guard. There are hopeless tears wondering if this is all a mistake and I have trusted in a hope misplaced. The cold and broken Hallelujah is all I can manage.
And I wonder. Did the resurrection wait three days so I would know You understood that despair? Is this Saturday between a reminder that sometimes, there will be angry tear-filled moments, when we just don’t get it? Like the fiery furnace, the lion’s den, Mount Moriah, there will be times when we are asked to sacrifice more than we thought we were capable of?
I pray for the Spohrs this morning, for all of us stuck on Saturday, that Easter morning is not far off.
If you would like to reach out to the Spohr family, they have asked for donations to the March of Dimes in her honor. You can click on the link in my sidebar, or go here to learn more about ways to support the family: http://www.marchformaddie.com/2009/04/madeline-alice-spohr/