It's so hard to believe that it's been one year since I got that call during In Service that I needed to get to Penn State Hershey immediately. It was a Tuesday, and we had just been to the hospital Friday, Saturday and Sunday the weekend before, but I knew this time was different.
That weekend, we had seen a decline in her functioning after her seizure, and in increase in her discomfort, but nothing could prepare me for that phone call. Jason and I had been bouncing calls back and forth since we had both gone back to school by then and were in and out of meetings. It was after lunch that I realized that this wasn't just another bump in the road, this was a serious pothole. I was crying so hard that I couldn't even see to get myself down to the office to ask to be dismissed to get to the hospital. The next few hours are a complete blur.
From doctors reports to waiting with family, I was just counting down the minutes until we could see our princess. We all took turns with her saying our goodbyes and telling her how much she was loved by us, and my chest still gets tight remembering that room. The staff at the hospital were amazing and allowed someone to always be with her, and those last visits were priceless.
I didn't know how to say goodbye to one of my favorite people in the world. What do you say? How do you remain strong when all you want to do is hold her in your arms? She was my buddy. When we would have a get together, we would play on the floor with her favorite toys, we would play school and she even could convince me to help her clean up her room. Watching her grow up was incredible. She could draw the best pictures and her writing was advancing at a dramatic pace! At Thanksgiving 2011, we wrote out Christmas lists for some family members and she decided what she thought each of them should get from Santa. Those lists provided many chuckles, of course she thought Nonny wanted a fake rose for Christmas, it showed just how creative her little mind was.
When telling her how much I loved her during those final days and nights, I know that she could hear us. She was with us as we all painted our fingernails to match hers so we could share a piece of her. To this day, my toe nails still match hers and my future daughters will have the same nail polish so they can remember their cousin and how loved she was. These pictures are our last memories with her and they are worth a thousand words to all the people who were there.
Our sweet angel has shown us so many signs lately, but the beautiful sunrise was the icing on the cake. We have been so blessed to have our amazing niece in our lives and we think of her everyday. She has taught me so much about life and I can't wait to tell our future children about our first love, our niece. While the love may be different, we will always love her to the moon and back. <3