Stuck on Saturday

11 Apr

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:

10 Responses to “Stuck on Saturday”

  1. Elle April 11, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    What a beautiful, touching post. My prayers go out to the Spohr family today. And please hug your sweet Madeline for me.

  2. Anne April 11, 2009 at 9:05 am #

    What a beautiful post – thank you for sharing this!

  3. queenofhaddock April 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    amazing post. crying again…

  4. Claire April 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    Oh sweet girl, I can only imagine how much more it would hurt to have walked there yourself.

    Good thoughts for this family rocked by their loss.

  5. ingrid April 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm #

    I’m so sorry to hear of their loss. Like you I was a mother who had to stand by and watch them poke and prod her tiny baby in hopes that it was all for the good. I am one of the lucky ones and we were blessed, my baby & his twin are turning 13 this summer.

  6. Debra Sue Oden April 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm #

    Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. My heart goes out to that family.

  7. Icy Blue April 12, 2009 at 9:29 pm #

    You so perfectly articulated what I feel most Easter weeks. I haven’t ever been able to say it so clearly, even in my own mind. I get stuck on Saturday. This Easter Sunday I have thought through the day that I still feel stuck on Saturday. I think your post may have brought me on the way to Sunday. Prayers for the family you write of, you on your journey, and for all of us really. Thank you.

  8. amy lozano April 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    The journeys and roads we have all travelled are hidden until, in the perfect time, we choose to share our struggles or our triumphs. Sometimes the stories are brief and others they could go on and on , volume after volume. Thanks for the glimpse into your past and the memories that must still invoke pain in your heart. I am grateful today for the triumph of your maddie, while at the same time I ache for the loss of the Spohr’s. Love you girl.

  9. Jane April 15, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    Thank you for such a compassionate reminder of how fragile and precious life is, and for tying it directly to the disciples’ having to wait for three days to begin to see The Master’s plan.

    We all need reminders like this when we are stuck on Saturday.

  10. Icy Blue July 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm #

    Just revisiting this post, makes me feel grounded and human to reread it. and it takes me a place of prayer and contemplation. I allow myself to be there and I thank you for getting me there.

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