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  • Jillian Heilman

Too Many to Remember


A Facebook memory popped up today. It was dated April 22, 2014. The post read: "Halle's back in for her procedure and I have caffeine. Maybe not the best mix for an anxious mom." That was less than 15 months before Halle died and I cannot remember what procedure she had done. I have spent a good part of the morning looking through pictures and hospital admission records from around that time and I still can't remember.


How can I not remember something so important that required my girl to go under anesthesia in the last year of her life? The guilt hit me on this one. I keep staring at this picture and am just in awe at how absolutely at peace Halle is. She was comfortable afterwards. I do remember she insisted on holding her IV bag - maybe that was the "loopy" meds in her but she hugged it like it was her friend and patted it and said "you make me feel better." I can remember that, but I for the life of me can NOT remember what they did to my sweet girl.


Sadly, when having children that live with chronic illness, it becomes difficult to remember every single procedure (at least for me it does). Every ER visit. Every hospital admission. Every lab taken. Every specialist appointment or all those pediatrician visits. There are simply too many and they tend to blend together. I can justify my lapse in memory by reminding myself that I have 3 kiddos who are "frequent flyers" of our area children's hospitals and that makes it more difficult to keep each of these procedures and stays cataloged appropriately in my memory. But that still doesn't take the pain away from forgetting something about this special girl.


What I do remember, is Halle spent Spring Break that year in the Hospital trying to find ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort she was experiencing throughout her body. She couldn't walk without pain. She couldn't eat without pain. She couldn't sleep without pain. Her doctors admitted her to see if there was anything they could do. She had pain specialists, neurologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, gastroenterologists, and so many more experts reviewing her case, trying procedures, and simply wracking their brains for how to not only make this girl healthier but how to just make her more comfortable.


Perhaps this was when Halle knew she wasn't getting better. Looking back at this picture, that sense of peace I see on her face is not just from the comfort of IV fluids and medications but I believe it was the peace of knowing there is nothing more they can do. The peace of knowing they were going to fight to at least keep her as comfortable as possible. She knew what was ahead and that she would be going home soon and she was good with that.

I truly believe that she had this awareness. She told me so - in fact, 15 months after this picture was taken, as she lay in her own bed hooked to IV pain medications with Hospice nurses in the room, she told me that she was waiting for this time to finally let go. She had told me she knew she was dying more that a year ago and she was ready. She had just been waiting for us to be ready. Now that I look at this picture again...I think I caught that moment when she knew her body was letting go. This brave, crazy, embracing-the-burp, fun-loving, dancing-to-the-beat girl gave us one more year because she knew it was what we needed.


I guess the point to this post is just to remind myself that I am not perfect. I don't wear a superhero cape. I make mistakes raising these kiddos. And my memory sometimes fails me. But the love I have for my children never will.




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