|Dawn waving good bye with our dog Baby|
Those who have followed my blog over the past year know that my daughter has been seriously ill. I've been so thankful for the prayers and cyber hugs from you all.
My daughter's diagnoses was not good from the get go and the best we could have hoped for was extra time beyond the original time frame we were given (which was about 6 months). Our daughter initially responded well to chemo, and she was able to come out here to CA for a week though the Jack and Jill Foundation. They provide vacations for terminally ill parents with children so they can make happy memories. Dawn chose coming out here and we went to Universal Studios and Sea World.
|Dawn & Donna this summer|
We were so hopeful at the time, but that ended this fall and the cancer came back and while they tried different kinds of chemo, nothing seemed to work and in the end only made her weaker. So about 6 weeks ago they stopped the chemo and after Christmas she was put into hospice care. I was lucky to have 2 day with her to myself while we waited for a bed through the ER and then stayed with her in her room. We cried and laughed and I was there to help her anyway she needed. Then had another 2 days with her with my husband, which again we stayed in the ER with her waiting for a room. Hubby doesn't do ER waiting well, but I've learned to be more patient and was able to enjoy my time with her.
Since coming back home, Dawn has slipping into a coma and the nurses say it's only a matter of time now. My husband is there with her so she is not alone. Her sisters and brother will go tomorrow to say good-bye and various other aunts, uncles and cousins have been coming by as well. I'm not sure I will get back again before she passes, which is hard. I chose to use up all of vacation and sick time and then time off without pay while she was well enough to enjoy our time together last spring and over the summer. Then after my surgery in November once I got clearance to fly. I'm a believer in sending the flowers while they can be enjoyed, or in this case my time off from work.
|left to right - Sara (my youngest), Avis - cousin, Dawn|
Dawn is my child, she is my daughter even though I didn't give birth to her. I've known her since she was 6 and she has lived with us since her mother passed away when she was 10, which I thought she was younger than that, but finally sat down to figure it out.
|Dawn & her Dad playing tug-a-war with Donna|
I won't lie and say that we always got along, we had many fights along our journey. She was angry after her Mom passed away and told me that she didn't want any sibling when she moved in with us. I look back at those times and I know she didn't mean it, she was hurting and I was an easy target. My Mom told me not to take hateful words personally from her because she is hurting inside and I would need to be understanding and loving even when it was hard for me. So when she proclaimed that she wasn't going to love her new siblings and especially not the new baby that was coming I knew she didn't mean it deep down. When Sara was born I was right, she loved her from day one, so I really think she was happy having siblings and being part of a family. She loves her other brother and sister too, they fought like cats and dogs, but in the end they would band together against any outsider. I know I was happy having her as part of the family and feel bless I was entrusted to raiser her.
|Dawn, Donna & Devon (her husband)|
I will miss my oldest daughter, and I told her that she will always be the only oldest daughter I'll ever have and that no one will ever replace her in my heart. She laughed at that because she knows that each of the kids are the only (fill in the blank) child I will ever have and no one will ever take their place. She knows that all 4 of them are special to me and that I love them all equally.
We have gotten a lot closer over the last 10 years and especially since she had her daughter. Our relationship has transformed from parent and child to friends. We found common ground and she said she appreciated me and was happy that I was as strict as I was because she thought it make her a better person. Until this past year, she had always called me by my first name, of late I was Mom. She always introduced me as her mother to people, but never referred to me as Mom, I felt so happy the first time she called me Mom.
So now its time to say farewell to my daughter, but never good-bye, she will always be a part of me and live in my heart. I have my memories and my pictures so she will never be far from me….Family is what you make it and we did it loud and with lots of love. We were not perfect, we made mistakes, but we have always been family.
Keep your family close, don't let anger ever keep you apart, never miss an opportunity to tell your kids how much you love them or your siblings or parents. Life doesn't come with promise of forever, only with a for now. Wish I would have taken more pictures, but I'll have plenty of stories for her daughter to hear about what a wonderful person her Mom is……and I will miss her everyday.
|Sara & Dawn|