Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Rest of Friday

We kept her body with us all day on Friday.  The only down side to a c-section, and I do mean the only down side(just my personal opinion), is the amount of time you have to be in the bed after the procedure.  I understand that this is absolutely necessary, I just don't like it.  But, I have a major problem sitting still.  Our original thought would be that we would call the funeral home pretty quickly after she passed and go ahead and send her body to them.  However, because she passed so quickly after surgery we changed our plan a little.  My Dad, and let me give a public thanks to my Dad, and our entire family for that matter, they've done a lot for Chad and me over the last few days.  We wouldn't be able to function without the help or our family.  Anyway, Daddy contacted the funeral home and let them know that Johanna had passed, and when I would most likely be leaving the hospital.  Because of the amount of time before we would be able to have her funeral, the funeral home would have to seal her casket without us seeing her again. Knowing this, I decided that I wanted to dress her in her beautiful burial dress.  I knew that I couldn't sit up much at all for quite a few hours, so we asked if it would be OK to keep Jo's body with us until I could sit up just enough to do the honors of dressing my baby girl.  We decided to do this around 4pm.

Soon after she passed, my Dad took all the pictures that I've posted, and so many more.  We took our time taking pictures, making sure we got absolutely everything.  I also spent a lot of time trying to memorize all of her physical features. I don't ever want to forget one part of her.  So, we took pictures of all of her.  We changed her a few times so we had pictures and memories of her in a sleeper and in a really cute pink dress.  We took pictures with Chad and me, and also with our entire family.  We tried to get a few pictures with Clayton and Johanna together, but he was having no part of it.  I imagine the whole situation was a bit confusing to a 20 month old, so we didn't push the issue.  There will be a time in the future for us to teach Clayton about his little sister.

After we got all the pictures we thought we would want, we told the nurses that we were ready to head to our room.  They got everything together and off we went.  Johanna's body right with us the entire time.  After we settled into our room, I noticed that it was nearing noon, and that I was in fact quite hungry.  I didn't realize we had spent that much time soaking up all things Johanna.  We obtained some lunch from Chick Fil A, and just kinda had a relaxed and laid back lunch with my family.  I had asked my MIL and SIL(Jamie) to take care of Clayton for the day.  I knew that he needed as much normal as possible considering the situation.  I am very close to my parents, brother, and SIL(Amy), so I asked them to stay with us all day.  I needed that for me.  At some point, the boys left for a little while, and the 3 of us girls just layed around and gabbed.  That's what the 3 of us do when we're together.  We talk(imagine that).  It was so very therapeutic though.  It's helpful to talk with other women, even if it's about absolutely nothing.

At 4pm, Chad's parents, with my Clayton, came back to the hospital so we could dress Johanna, and say our very final "see ya laters".  We called the funeral home and told them to come ahead, and began to prepare ourselves.  Johanna's burial dress was made by Ms. Beth Gilliam.  She is the wife of Evangelist Tom Gilliam.  I have had the privilege of being acquainted with this very sweet couple for quite a few years.  I have also had the privilege of sitting under Bro Tom's challenging preaching many times.  He preached our spring Revival back in May, and Ms. Beth asked if she could do the honors of making Jo's dress.  I of course agree, and was honored and flattered that she would even consider doing such a great thing for us.  Bro. Tom had just finished a meeting in our area, and just so happened to still be in town on Friday, and came to see us.  They just so happened to come see us at 4pm on Friday.  You gotta love how God has His hand in every little detail of our lives.  He saw fit to send Bro. Tom and Ms. Beth to us at the precise time that I was dressing Johanna in the dress that Ms. Beth had made.  Amazing.  They didn't stay long, but Ms. Beth was able to see JoJo in her beautiful dress.  Bro. Tom prayed over our family before he left.  I don't remember what he prayed, but I remember feeling God wrap His arms around me at that moment and provide a peace and comfort like I had never felt.

We finished dressing her and then everyone took their time saying their individual goodbyes to this very special little girl.  Once the rest of our family was finished, Chad and I asked for some time alone with Jo's body to say our final goodbyes.  Those were very emotional moments for Chad and me.  Chad said something to me that will forever change how I view things.  While we were alone he said, "It's easy to preach what you don't know".  I later asked him what he meant by that.  He said it's easy to preach about God's comfort in time of trouble, but it's a totally different thing to actually feel that comfort and receive that sweet peace when you need it most.  We wept over our daughter's body, with the same sorrow and intensity that we had wept over her earlier in the morning.  But again, we were weeping for ourselves and not for her.

Once we felt we had enough time with Johanna, we allowed our family back in the room.  I snuggled my baby girl's body until the funeral home arrived for her.  In another amazing moment, a gentleman from our church works for the funeral home we had chosen, and thankfully he was the one dispatched to pick up Johanna's body.  I couldn't have asked for anything different.

After Johanna's body was gone, it kinda felt like the air had been sucked out of the room for a few minutes.  Clayton went back to his Mawmaw and Pawpaw's house to play, and spend the night.  And soon after that, all of my fam went home for the day.  It had been a very long day, both emotionally and in the number of hours that we had been at the hospital.  Everyone was tired and needed to rest.

The rest of the evening was uneventful.  Chad and I napped for a few minutes, then he headed out to get us some dinner.  I was able to get out of the bed on Friday evening.  I wasn't expecting to be able to get up until Saturday morning, so I was thrilled.  It was nice to be out of a hopsital gown, and into my own pj's.  As soon as I was up and changed, we ate our dinner.  I honestly think I fell asleep while eating.  We were both just worn out.  As soon as we finished dinner, we both went to sleep.  All in all we rested fairly well that night.  It is a hospital so you don't get a lot of rest.  Pain meds and vital signs every 4 hours kinda cut in to the sleep time.  We did have the most courteous nurse.  She was very quite and respectful every time she came in to our room.  She did everything within her power to make sure we were comfortable and that we were getting as much rest as possible.

God provided much grace, and showed that His grace is indeed sufficient.  Without Him and our family, I know Chad and I couldn't walk this road.  We had many, many miracles on Friday.  They would seem small to most, but to me they were huge.  Mountains were moved.

Stay tuned......................more of Jo's story to come.  I imagine I'll be writing her story for a long, long time.


Monica said...

Jo's story is so beautiful. I am still praying.

Connie's Confessions said...

Thank you for sharing Johanna's beautiful story!

Carrie said...

Nikki, thank you so much for sharing Johanna's story. I have wept reading the past few updates and have been praying for you all. What a blessing that sweet little girl is. My daughter's name is Josie, and we call her "JoJo", so it makes me smile whenever you call Johanna that too!

christina said...

:) you are heavier on my heart today than the past couple. I will be writing you separate from the blog shortly. Strep is still rampant here, but...i am checking in daily to catch up and live this wit you. i am amazed at God allowing me to feel some of this with you. muah.

Holly said...

You're definitely right. Their stories don't end with their lives here on earth. I'm glad you got to dress Johanna. Her dress sounds beautiful.

Anonymous said...

How touching this story is..seems to be just what I need everyday..proof of Gods amazing love for us. I will continue to read this beautiful story of such a beautiful baby girl..
God wrap your love around us all and keep us forever..Amen.
Johnson City, TN

Emma and Company said...

Another beautiful story....I am glad there were little "odds and ends" that were taken care of by God for you. He certainly takes care of us! I am glad everyone gave you the love and comfort you needed-from your family to the doctors, nurses and funeral personnel. We are continuing to pray for you. In Christ's Love-Andrea