Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thoughts on Life - 5 Years Later

This is a day of reflection for me; reflecting back on where we started...and where we are now. On this day in 2007 my life forever changed as I heard the word hydrocephalus for the first time. Those first days and weeks following the diagnoses were hard; I physically ached from a broken heart.

Up until the happenings of this last month, I considered that the most difficult time of my life; learning that my unborn daughter had an incurable brain disorder. In a matter of minutes, what I expected in life was gone and I was heading down a path that I had no desire to walk.

I remember clearly being advised to abort the pregnancy. "Do you want her to live a life of handicaps and surgeries?" my doctor asked me. There was no question in my mind whether or not to continue on, I knew that her life was not mine to take.

While we were in the hospital a few weeks ago I thought about that doctor. "This is what he meant," I thought to myself as I watched Elisabeth writhing in pain and agony. He knew that if I chose to keep her - and if she were to live - that these were the situations we would be forced to face.

But even so - life is worth it. Life is always worth it.

Yes, that doctor was right. Elisabeth has many handicaps and has found herself in the operating room plenty of times in her short life. And obviously the pain that she endured over the course of those three weeks was a trial in its own right. But regardless, the beauty and good in her life has far outweighed the hardships.

Life comes with bumps in the road. For Elisabeth, it's her medical frailties. Others may find themselves needing to overcome emotional, physical, or financial problems. There's never a shortage of hardships in life...but the key is to be stronger than them; to overcome them; to learn from them. And when you survive those trials, oh how sweet life is! Indeed, adversity offers us the perspective we need to enjoy the beauty that is all around us.

The past five years have been - without a doubt - the hardest of my life. But I can also assure you that they have been the most rewarding as well. Donald and I are honored to be Elisabeth's parents. On a daily basis we look at her in awe and wonder how we got so lucky? She is an angel on Earth, with a spirit perfect and pure. Her life is filled with medical complexities - yet she reminds me daily of the simple joys of life.

Five years ago my life changed...and I will forever be grateful.

My friend Lee Ann came to my house on Friday afternoon and took these pictures of Elisabeth. What a sharp contrast they are to the photographs she took in the hospital a few weeks back! Those pictures were solemn...yet spiritual; perfectly capturing a time of uncertainty for us. And these...well these are full of vibrancy and color; a representation of Elisabeth's love for life and the beautiful spirit she brings to our family. Yes, Lee Ann has a gift for artistically - and accurately - photographing life.

Thank you Lee Ann! I am grateful for your friendship.

Please visit Lee Ann's website. Click here.

And thank you to my mother-in-law, Susan, for the beautiful top you sewed for Elisabeth!

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