A few weeks ago my family began a struggle that I know has changed me and many people. My little sister suffered from a brain aneurysm while she was competing at a dog show about four hours from home. She was rushed to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee where she received exceptional care from some of the most caring people I have ever met. Over the first two weeks she progressively improved. They were talking about her going home but, she needed to have one additional procedure to ensure the rupture would not occur again. We all were happy and everyone expected it to be a simple procedure with her coming home in a couple days. However our world came to a halt…..When the team of doctors went to make the repair they found that the blood vessel was in a severely weakened state and about to re-rupture. Our worst fears came true and she suffered from a second much more severe aneurysm. We got news a short time later that this time Sheila would most likely not recover. We prayed for a miracle but, most of all we prayed that God would do the best thing for Sheila. After a few days of praying, watching and crying we had to make the difficult decision to take her off of life supports and allow her to go to heaven. Sheila always said she couldn’t wait to meet Jesus. Today, I believe with all my heart that she has done that. I know Sheila would have loved to be on this earth for many, many years but I also know that she lived life to its fullest while here. She was very blessed …. She had a wonderful husband that so obviously was the love of her life. She and Wayne have raised two amazing children. Wayne, Brock and Cheyanna were her world and she loved them deeply. She also loved her dogs…..they were her babies. She had actually said one time when she had heard about someone passing away while they were showing their dog that, when it was her time, that is what she wanted. What a wonderful thing that God granted that wish for her. Sheila had a spunky spirit. She had an opinion and was not afraid to share it. She was strong and loving and touched so many lives. She taught her children how to be strong and I know that will be the foundation for getting them through this. My heart aches as I watch her two children, her husband and my parents deal with all there is to do as we move forward as Sheila would have wanted us to do. Sheila felt strongly about organ donation and as a family, we wanted to honor that wish. We chose to do as much as we could which made the process take considerably longer. However, we know that is what she wanted and it gives us comfort to know that she will be saving lives. Although we don’t want the recipients to feel any obligation to contact us, it is our sincere hope that one day we may be able to hear from or meet someone she may have saved. Her spirit will live on in them…..
Now we try to find a way to go forward, our hearts ache so bad right now it is difficult to think about the future without her in it. I keep feeling like she is going to miss so much. Her kids graduating, getting married, having grandkids and being there for those day-to-day activities that seem so meaningless until a person you love is no longer there to do them with you. You try not to have regrets….that is not what she would have wanted but, your mind wanders and all you can think of is, if only I would have…..
We do not understand God’s plan but, trust in Him. We have our faith and that will get us through this. We did not understand why he gave us two more weeks, only two more weeks after the first aneurysm but, little things keep happening that have shed some light on that too.
God (and Sheila) wants us to learn from this and I plan to do that. Learn to treasure each and every day and treat is as though it may be your last because, it just may be. I know I have another guardian angel who is watching over us. I know I will continue to talk to her every day. I will curse at her ever time we get a snow storm and winter is lasting so long. Sheila loved winter and I didn’t so every time we get a storm – I know it will be her…..I promised I would make a snow angel for her every year. Since we just got this huge blizzard, we are sure is from Sheila, I decided to do the first one tonight….This photo is the first of many you will see on my blog…..one each year. I know I will see her every time I see her kids. I can see her in them, her strong, loving spirit. I know she will be watching over them and all of us. I must continue to look for the good in everything…..she had many happy, wonderful years with her family, she is in a much more wonderful place now watching over all of us. She is saving other lives….she has given the ultimate sacrifice….So many wonderful family and friends have been here whether in person or via email, phone calls, cards and facebook - praying, taking care of our animals, doing housework, cooking, shopping, etc……the list could go on and on. We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and cannot thank everyone enough. You all have truly been the support for us to continue on…..
We need to continue to look for the positive signs as we move forward and rejoice in the fact that she is in Heaven…..We must believe in God’s Plan……..but……my heart aches…..