September 25, 2013, Evening
I have to be honest, the day did not start off very good...not sleeping well is very common for me (I think it has to do a lot with my age). Today, I woke up with that ache in my chest, just longing for Christian. I cried and prayed while in the shower. I knew I had to pull it together. Bailey was going to take her test for her “Learner’s Driving Permit” this morning. I got ready and had time to read a devotional and mediatation....felt better, but not great. I certainly did not want Bailey to feel my ickiness, but my feelings are not hidden easily. In order to get any type of driving permit in Ga, it requires a ton of documentation. Our recent temporary residence complicated this for Bailey, but Chris had everything organized and ready for her today. Thank goodness, I was there only as support and to drive her to school after. We walked up on the porch at the Dalton DDS and there were people outside with clip boards. There were also people inside sitting in chairs, I made the mistake of opening the door...one of the employees started telling me in a loud voice to get out they were not open yet. I responded with, “You do not have to be rude.” She had a come back, but I stayed quiet. Bailey was already nervous enough and I was adding to it...after we sat down, Chris said that I might need to wait in the car. I assured him I would not say anything else. Well, Bailey passed her test with almost no errors. Chris went to work and Bailey and I proceeded to GPS. She made it in time for most of her first class. Even before, we left home this morning, I was taking a very deep breath, I texted my sister and ask for extra prayer today...I have a lot on my plate and want it all to go well.
That leads me to the very special event occuring on September 29, 2013...Go Gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness. This is part of a huge event our church is doing...instead of going to church that day, we will be the church....Some of my anxieties related to our event were helped today by Dana, our Remix Minister of Music and the lead singer for the band “Calling Glory” and by Bailey. She has great computer skills and did a special presentation for this event. I also have a great person in the background helping me, Candance Eaton. She is a blessing to me and many others.
Tonight, as I was thinking about Sunday, I thought back once again to our journey.....Sunday, one of our volunteers will be Laura Wright Sanders. Laura was our neighbor since March of 1992. We recently sold our house and we are living in a condo across town while we build a new house.
I need to tell you all about Laura and her sweet daughter, Margaret Sanders. When Christian started school at GPS in Fall of 2005, I never had to worry about getting her to the bus, because Margaret and Laura always made that happen until Margaret was driving alone to school. After Christian was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia just a week prior to the beginning of her senior year...Laura was always there for our family. December 26, 2011 (early morning)...an ambulance was headed to our neighborhood for Christian (she was experiencing very severe stroke symptoms). I called Laura and let her know so she would not be alarmed. She immediately came to help. She knew our house and our family and our routines well...she was able to help get Chris quickly out the door with all of our needed hospital supplies minutes after I left with Christian in the ambulance.
As Christian got sicker, I knew Chris was handling things at home and I knew Laura had access to our house. She helped with our outside cat, and our precious outside dog. Bailey and Laura also had a very good relationship. Less than a week after Christian was admitted to PICU in April of 2012, on a crisis day, Laura was picking up Bailey from school, she had no idea when she got off the elevator that day that she was walking into a crisis...she handled it with grace. One of Laura’s gifts is she has always known when to give all of us (including Christian) our space. What I did not know until that awful day, when I first heard my child might not get better...was that Laura had a better handle on things at home that I ever could have imagined! I am so thankful for her...we lovingly called her “The Help.” During Christian’s last 42 days, she made sure everything was done at our house. My Mother and sister visited during that time and she made sure all was good for both of them. She allowed Bailey to stay with her whenever Bailey was willing. After Bailey, broke both bones in her left forearm, Bailey stayed with us in Chattanooga primarily, but she did spend a couple of nights with Laura.
When Christian died, May 26, 2012, Laura was not at home. When she arrived there were others at our house, she knew how particular I was about everything and she knew more than most anyone about our day to day lives during Christian’s illness. So, to those that may have been in my house, Yes, Laura entered like a Mother Bear, but she was “The Help” and had our permission to be in charge. We came home, Sunday Morning after Christian died Saturday morning....I had not been home in almost 2 months, so walking in that day was not good and I was in a very bad place....Laura was there and sweet Louis Fordham was there...I have to admit, I was not very nice! I really do not like dis organization, but my vehicle was full of stuff and the house was just not like it should be...no fault of anyone’s...but Laura took some of my verbal yuck that only close family or extremely good friends would normally hear. I am thankful she did not take anything personally. She is very much like I am about her house and she knew I had been gone a long time and my daughter had just died.
As my family arrived from out of town, Laura allowed my sister to stay with her and she loves my Mother so much. I love that they developed a bond. Laura will forever be part of my family and I will always lovinly call her “the Help” Laura, I miss you so much, but I am glad you will be there Sunday for our project....a little side note, Margaret Sanders, was one of the first to register to run the 2013 half marathon for Team CMB.
Last week, I talked about my roommates, there is another person that helped us get through everything, from May 2011 when Christian first got sick until her death and Celebration of Life..Rachel Freeman Smalley, you stepped out of your comfort zone often, I will forever be grateful for your support and organization skills at a special service! I love you dearly! Louis Fordham, thank you for helping Rachel write Christian’s obituary and thanks you to you and Donna for going with us to the Funeral Home to make plans. Lucy Bright Griffin, you are amazing! you just do what needs to be done. I am very thankful for our friendship prior to Christian’s illness and our long talks about “deep” things. I honestly do not know how anything would have happened as beautifully as it did at DFUMC without some of your help. Thank you for being there during some very difficult moments!
Robin L Lindsey, WOW, is all I can say. We are so blessed that you are still our minister and you were there for us through what continues to be a difficult journey. I am so glad we are finally ready to be back...I love my church.
Kenny Ott, I do not know you as well, but I remember you being present for some major moments during our journey with Christian...Thank You and Thank You for supporting our Go Gold project.
There are many others that were an important part of our journey, we are so thankful for each of you and all of you that continue to pray for us and the new friends that have become a part of our lives.
I am excited about Sunday’s event! Please join us in prayer for blessings and healing for the families we will be helping and more funding.
- Robyn Bryant