Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thank You

I wish to thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.  I must say, this has been the hardest 3 weeks of my life.  I got a whole new appreciation for Our Lady of Sorrows.  As I sat there in the pew for the Requiem Mass, I looked up at the statue of Our Lady of Sorrows and saw the sword piercing her heart/soul as a representation of Luke 2:35 - which of course foretold of her Son's suffering and death which she witnessed firsthand...  after witnessing all that my daughter went through for the last three weeks, ending in her death - I believe I was given a sense of what Our Lady suffered through.  Although I've seen this representation and I understood what it meant... I did not and don't think I could have had the appreciation I have for it now.  

On Saturday, our priest stopped by and dropped off about 30 cards which were made by the students of the school at the church.  Julianne was very touched by these cards.  One depicted a little girl on a hospital bed with a ladder which led up to Jesus and Mary and said "they are waiting for you," and asked Julianne to remember her when she reached Heaven.  Juli read through each card in genuine appreciation.  

As the day progressed, concerns were raised that she may have another bowel obstruction and a CT scan about 11pm confirmed this.  I was called back to the hospital by my wife.  When I arrived she told me that Julianne on her way to the CT scan said, "I'm sorry mother."  After assuring her she had nothing to be sorry for, Juli said, "No matter what happens, know that I will love you forever."  It became clear, she was saying good-bye.  When I arrived my wife woke her - Juli reached to me and said, "Don't leave me."  Taking my hand, I held her for a good hour after she released me.  She was still breathing, and her heart was still beating... but clearly "she" had left and all that remained were chemical reactions in her body as it slowly shut down.  At 3:33am Sunday morning the doctor came in and let us know it was over.  We stayed with her for several more hours... her brothers were there and several of her aunts and uncles as well.

Julianne died on February 6th, 2011 and was buried on the 11th.  Until the morning of the 11th, I was questioning... struggling... with "did we do enough?"  She had already been intubated twice and had to undergo emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction.  When it became apparent she had a second bowel obstruction... AND she had made it clear that she did not want any more tubes and no more surgeries... while I could have tried to do the heroic thing and ask the doctors to perform the surgery again.  Another surgery would have been against her wishes and there is no guarantee the outcome would be any better than the last time - putting her through all that pain and suffering again.  Still, I struggled until the morning of the 11th.  At 1am I awoke struggling with those thoughts still - and stirred for two hours before forcing myself back to sleep.  Just before I awoke I had a dream which set my mind at ease...

I dreamed I was back in the ICU with Julianne - but the ICU was like a terminal at the airport with planes parked all around it.  One of the planes was scheduled for demolition as it was deemed not fixable.  I thought to myself, "I can fix that plane."  (I am not airplane mechanic!)   So I worked on the plane between visits to Julianne - and finally said, "OK, the plane is fixed!"  A nurse asked me if I had started it up to see if it runs.  I replied that I didn't want to wake the children.  Suddenly the plane burst into flames and was destroyed.  I stated, "Wow, I guess that plane just wasn't meant to fly again."  With that, I woke up and realized - God had already determined it was Julianne's time to come home and more "heroic" attempts would only increase her suffering and not change the final outcome.  I am at peace.

 [12] And we will not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep, that you be not sorrowful, even as others who have no hope. [13] For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them who have slept through Jesus, will God bring with him. [14]For this we say unto you in the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them who have slept. [15] For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ, shall rise first.  [16] Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord. [17]Wherefore, comfort ye one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:12-17 DRB)
Daughter-in-law's blog:

Link to Julianne's obituary:


  1. Julianne touched so many people in her short life. Sorry I couldn't make it to her funeral but I've been thinking and praying for all of you, especially these last few days. Words cannot express adequately my sorrow. A big hug to you and Katie.

  2. I'll hold you to that one old friend. Thanks for thinking of us. I'll be preparing a tribute to Julianne - knowing in advance that I'll never be able to cover all her accomplishments.

  3. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved daughter. She must have been incredibly special (and deeply loved).

  4. Scott, I wish I could say something profound, but the only thing I can say is my heart goes out to you and your family in your time of sorrow.

  5. Scott,

    First of all, we should all pray for your daughters soul and the comfort of your family.

    I went through my own personal tragic experience a few months ago and am still recovering, but I have no idea how hard it would be to lose a daughter.

    Shortly after my tragic experience, a friend of a friend went through something I'd like to bring up here. Over the 2010 Christmas season, a middle aged husband collapsed suddenly and was taken into the hospital. Through the last two weeks of December, he was flat on his back, in and out of surgery, and had lost all movement and speech. His wife and children were devastated but remained by his side, along with the prayers of the parish (throughout all the health status updates). Miraculously, he is back at home after about a month, now in a wheelchair with some movement on his left side and slow speech.

    As he and his wife were telling me the story to comfort me, I spoke out "that must have been the worst year of your life," and RIGHT as I said that the wife was calmly concluding the account by saying, "IT WAS THE BEST YEAR OF THEIR LIFE." She is a devout Catholic, but this just rocked me to the core, and she kept insisting the same was true of my situation. The GREATEST year of my life? While hard for me to accept, something about that seems true, and Providence has a way of making tragic events into great learning AND helping experiences. Here she was, after the initial mourning period, using her tragedy to help me and others get through and trust God. It also revealed to me just how many people out there care for us, even those we never thought did. I'm still in awe of how such can be "the greatest year" of our lives, but I'm now regularly asking God to show me how this is so.

    I never knew or understood true FAITH and HOPE until my tragedy; it can't really be taught, only 'experienced'. As Catholics, we trust there has to be something good coming out of this, and we must trust it will be revealed if we remain on the right path.

  6. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the words of consolation. I do believe that though we are experiencing loss, Heaven is experiencing even more gain. Along with that gain, we gain a saint to offer up petitions for us.


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