Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Difficult Conversation

I'm not sure if I've written about Faith on my blog before, but she had a special place in my heart. She and Drew had very similar beginnings. They were born about a month apart, both with interrupted aortic arch and 22q. They both had their first surgeries at UCSF and actually had a bit of an overlap there. Through the years her mom, Shelly, and I kept in touch about what was going on with our kids. We attended 22q conferences, support group meetings and sent Christmas cards and prayer requests.

Faith had the same surgery that Drew had, a one and a half ventricle repair, at UCD on March 31st. She spent the past two months in the hospital fighting for her life. Unfortunately after a strong and courageous fight, Faith passed away on Monday afternoon, in the arms of her mother who had been waiting two months to hold her again. I can only imagine the depth of the pain that Faith's parents are feeling. When I heard the news I sobbed...and have been thinking about them constantly. How strange it would be to leave the hospital that last time, without your child. What would it be like to go home and do the normal things you have to do, like eat dinner and go to sleep, but know that your life has changed forever? And how difficult would it be to deal with your own grief, but also to help your children who are grieving over a lost sibling? My heart goes out to the entire family.


Drew knew that Faith was in the hospital and that I had been going to visit her. We would pray for her at night and he painted her a picture to hang in her room. I wasn't sure if I would tell him that she died. I thought at the very least, I won't tell him unless he asks about her. Yesterday in the car, this was our conversation:

Drew-Why is Faith still in the hospital?
Me-Well (getting choked up)...she's not in the hospital anymore. She's in heaven now.
Drew-(starting to cry) Why is she in heaven? Was she very old?
Me-No honey, she was very very sick. So Jesus took her to heaven to be with him.
Drew-But I wanted her to come to my house.
Me-I know. But she's not sick in heaven. She's happy and playing.
Drew-Why does Jesus take kids to heaven?

I don't know how much he understands about death and heaven, but I do know that he was sad that Faith was gone. I told him that we are sad because we will miss her, but she is happy in heaven. I was dreading having this conversation ever, but I think it went pretty well considering.

Now if only someone could say something to me that would make me feel better.

Drew's picture for Faith


Marvina said...

awwww this made me cry! Hugs to you Andrea. Hugs to all of you!!! Wish there was something I could say to make you feel better.

Jessica said...

Ugh. My heart goes out to him. So much pain for such a little person.

Samantha said...

There is nothing I can say to make you feel better. I have tears streaming down my face for you all! I am so sorry for the loss of Faith. Drew's reaction was so sweet and sad :( I love his painting that he made for Faith...such beautiful art. I am sure that Faith's family would love to keep that.

Many hugs and prayers for you all.


Anonymous said...

You did post a note about Faith a while back. It was through that post that I began to follow Faith's progress. For the last few weeks, I've been checking every day. I was devasted by her passing. I never met Faith, but through Shelley's blog, I became somehow connected to this brave child and her terrific parents. It's been two days now and I cannot stop crying when I think of her. I also read the post on Hearts of Hope; there is a collection for Faith's family, perhaps people should know that. Faith touched my life; I didn't physically know her, yet I will never forget her.
PS. Drew's picture looks like heaven...

The Smith's said...

Thank you for sharing about Faith, and about YOUR faith, and how you are passing that on to your children. I think it is so good for our kids to see our real emotion over the loss of a loved one. What a sweet boy you have with such a tender heart.

I know our journey with CHD has given us a closer look at death than maybe we would have ever chosen, but my husband and I often talk about how maybe that's not such a bad thing ... I think I look forward to Heaven more than I ever have and appreciate the gifts I have here on earth at the same time.

Thank you for your honesty and we will be praying for Faith's family.


Jennifer Herring said...

Like everyone else has said, there's nothing I could say... I'm praying for you, Drew, Faith's family, and everyone else she has touched.

Amy said...

I'm sorry andrea. Even though Faith is no longer in pain, I know that doesn't make it any easier.

Michelle Maddux said...

Andrea I sit here with tears streaming down my face for all the loss. Sweet Drew has such a loving heart, and he got it from you. There are so many conversations that are going to be difficult as we journey through life with our little children, and death is one that is so difficult. You handled the situation with tenderness and compassion, you should be proud of yourself. Not only are you teaching Drew about death, but about caring for others which you do so deeply. Your post was sad, but also beautiful.

Amber said...

Andrea...I could completely hear your I read your words. I am so sorry that you are having to explain this to sweet Drew.

You are right...there is nothing that makes it "better"...there just isn't. I'm thinking that Drew's painting for her is...beautiful and that she is surrounded by all of those colors and many more that we have never seen and can't even dream of!

I've thought of you often the last 24 hours...I know this is so difficult for you.

Lesley said...

The first thing I see when I look at Drew's painting is heaven. Its a beautiful painting. Children are so honest and can perceive things we do not, I wonder what was going through his head when he painted it. Andrea, know that you are being prayed for as is Faith's family. Its devastating and incomprehensible. As said by others, my life has also been touched, and I didn't even know her.

Love, Lesley

Drew and Ava's Grandma said...

Andrea, you handled that conversation with Drew better than I ever could have imagined. I'm so proud of you.

Justin and Victoria Nelson said...

im so sorry to hear this news. i am praying for the Lord to comfort your heart...Drew's heart...and of course, Faith's family.
and i agree. Drew's picture does look like a piece of Heaven.
so much love going your way sister.

The Portas said...

We had been praying so hard for Faith, and we will continue to pray for her family. I cannot imagine the pain of such a loss. Your conversation with Drew broke my heart.

I think Drew's painting for Faith speaks a million words!! xo

Laura said...

little kids' insight is always amazing to me. drew has always been such a sensitive and thoughtful boy, that a conversation like that was bound to affect him. i think you handled it amazingly well, even though you were dealing with your own pain. good job, momma. you are an amazing mother AND friend!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Parenting Andrea!
You all are in my thoughts and prayers!

Chez Family said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Faith. My heart goes out to you, and her family. I cried as I read this thinking about how hard it is to leave the hospital without your child and how it is to be back at home and trying to help your children understand. I pray that the Lord comforts the family and your heart as well.
You did a beautiful job talking to Drew. God always breathes the words we need to say, continue to trust in him. It's so hard for children to understand, but the beautiful part is it opens the door to talk more about Jesus.

One of my favorite books that I have read after Gracie passed was "Safe in the arms of God" by John MacArthur. It is a beautiful book and does bring some comfort. Just wanted to share.. Prayers to you all.


Vanessa said...

My heart is aching after reading this post. I'm so sorry to hear another angel was called to heaven. I think you handled the situation with Drew perfectly.