The year, 2009, had been the absolute worst year of my life. I think that I can very safely and honestly say that.
The end of 2008 was blissful at worst. That sounds cliche, but I was happy. My life had rounded itself out to be very pleasant, and the end of the year is my domain anyway. Autumn lasted longer than normal, leading into a fresh and cool Halloween. For my anniversary, I got to see "Into the Woods"- one of my favorite productions, and had a glorious evening at The Melting Pot wrapped in an authentic Chinese style silk dress. On Thanksgiving, we spent the day snowed in at my mother's house, the smell of baking and turkey with all the trimmings warmed the house faster than any glowing fire could have. My husband teased my youngest brother and sister, while I got to know my soon-to-be sister in law over a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle. She and my brother were married in early December, and Christmas was much the same with presents until noon, a storm to die for (in the GOOD way) and dozens of friends and family.
I should have known back then, that 2009 was going to be horrible. We ushered the new year in with a masked ball. I was a swan in a silver ball gown adorned with white feathers and wings, and a black feathered mask, my hair in solid ringlets about my neck and chin. And I was severely depressed.
In high school, my crowning achievement was that I was an editor of my high school literary magazine. It is a spectacular magazine called Chasms, and it was 3rd in the nation for best high school published works. It goes without saying that we were good writers. And not just for being kids. We had a stellar teacher who understood us (or at least tried), who accepted us (without fail), and who pushed us to always be better. This man is my hero to this day. How he managed to put up with so much whining, desks affixed to the ceiling, Latin words written in white out across his walls, dirty jokes about classic nude art, and flat Dr.Pepper in place of his usual morning coffee is beyond me. I would have never made it. Oh, how intense those days were. How invigorating. How lonely. How exhausting. How numb.
On December 31, 2008-January 1 2009, I was numb. Numb enough that it brought back those waves of memories. The intense highs of teenage angst. The lows so low that you felt like dying. Around me, the music raged. My friends embraced, scandals were started when a girl and a boy who didn't 'belong' together kissed at midnight. And I wanted to be sucked into a dark closet and stay there. I was so numb, that I couldn't feel the air sucked into my mouth, even with wet lips. I never wanted to cut myself. But I could see why people do it. Because they just want to FEEL something.
My own depression and numbness was fairly short lived. We received our tax return early in January because we filed as soon as was humanly possible. We bought a house in 2008, so our 7500.00 went directly to our financial advisers and they invested it.
But darkness fell when I found my mother and father unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning in mid-January. My youngest brother and my sister were awake, but sick. They all recovered quickly in the ambulance, but my mother was intubated at the hospital. She was in a coma for nearly a week after that. (http://www.iswendiok.blogspot.com/) Doctors didn't tell us much at all. Many friends and nurses and doctors who cared for her in her comatose state told us only the best things. We didn't know until after she woke up, finally, that they didn't expect her to survive.
On the Autumn Equinox, September 21, 2009, which, by the way, was a spectacularly cool day, and I could see the red leaves starting to bleed onto the mountain side. The air was crisp, and the wind was sharp. I spent most of the day euphoric and mostly pretty patient with my children because my excitement made for high moods.
After dinner, my children, dressed in pajamas, retreated into our basement to their playroom. I stayed in the kitchen to clean up dinner. And I heard a deafening crash a few minutes later. I knew what it was before I got there. My youngest little one, had pulled a television and a dresser down on herself.
Obviously, I panicked, and I picked her up. There was no blood at first, and so I thought she was just out of breath. But then a crimson stream came pouring from her right ear and her nose. 911 was dialed, the bishopric was called and Priesthood blessings were given.
From the ER, they life flighted my baby to Primary Children's hospital. My husband was already there, as he was in class at the University of Utah when it happened. But I couldn't get on the helicopter with her. The hour drive to the hospital, was excruciating. I called my mother and asked her to come. One of my best friends escorted me there, driving so that I didn't have to.
Upon arrival, I found my baby in the midst of a CT scan, screaming for her momma. I could have vomited. She did. Mostly blood, and her undigested dinner. I blamed myself, of course.
Later, while being poked and prodded with IVs and lights and blood pressure cuffs, my little daughter was given a teddy bear, who she promptly named "Pink" (and no surprises there. She has a bunny, 2 kitty cats, and several more assorted bears by the same name) and a blue blanket that she called "soft". One doctor let her curl her little fingers around his, and winked at her. She giggled at him, and tried to mimic.
We learned from the CT scan that she had a fracture that went from around her left eye bone, around her head and through her right ear. She had a broken bone in that right ear, and she was leaking spinal fluid from it. She also had a nerve that was damaged so she had some paralysis on the right side of her face. She also had an artery in her neck that was corrugated by the impact and pinched. Blood was still getting to the brain, but they worried about a stroke.
We spent the night in sleepless tears in her room. But upon waking, we heard a tiny voice say "Pink fish. Blue fish." On her ceiling, above her crib, was painted a pink fish and a blue fish. That day, she went in for another CT scan and some x-rays of her neck and back. She kicked and screamed and bit at the nurses until they were done with her, and then jumped off the table into my arms. One of the doctors said "Well, I guess she doesn't have a neck or back injury."
My girl is a fighter. She had to be.
Over the next few days, she improved phenomenally. We were moved to a new room, where she didn't need to be on wires, and she didn't need the brace. She liked to take rides in her wagon with all her baby dolls the nurses brought. Every day she received a new Priesthood blessing from my husband and her grandpa or uncles. Heavenly Father was ever present.
On Wednesday night, September 23rd, I spent the night in her room in a state of only semi-unconsciousness. Neither asleep nor awake. Scarlet had come through almost every single one of her worrisome hurdles just fine. I was finished blaming myself, because it didn't help her get any better because I felt that it was my fault. And I couldn't be an effective mother if I kept trying to do so. I knew my baby was going to live, so I was past praying for her survival. She was completely herself. She was as sass-mouthy and attention demanding as she had always been, and she proved that her nickname "Trouble" (which is what we call her at home) was well earned when she tried to climb a television stand to push play for the 40th time on Monsters Inc. Obviously, she hadn't learned her lesson.
But her nerve was still obviously having trouble.
So that night, in my unconsciousness, I begged and begged and begged the Lord for just one more miracle after thanking him for all the ones that had already happened. If he would just give Scarlet ONE MORE, I would NEVER. EVER. ask for another miracle again. The Lord told me in both a sense of genuine understanding, and of Fatherly reprimand, that that idea was ridiculous because 1. It's a false promise. Of COURSE I was going to ask for another miracle. This is not likely the last time one of my children has a serious accident. And 2. Why in the world would my Father, who wants everything GOOD for me and my children actually WANT me to STOP asking for miracles? He told me to ask away and let my faith prove him true.