Sunday, October 31, 2010

He's MY Son

Every time I have to attend the funeral of another beautiful child from our transplant family, I not only grieve for the family and their loss, but I grieve for Keegan.  A small part of me wishes and hopes that in some way it will help me better prepared for that day...but I know nothing can.  I can't deny it.  That would be foolish, and as one of our amazing transplant cardiologists said today, it's our reality.  Hiding from it won't make it go away or any easier either.  In a single breath, I am crippled by fear and yet energized to cherish every single moment.  We have no idea how many days Keegan has been blessed with, and we can't waste a single one...whether it's just a few or decades.

Austin's celebration was beautiful, attended by so many who loved him.  It was humbling.  What an amazing child.  His parents and brother each picked a song that symbolized Austin's life to them.  His brother, Tyler, picked "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin, which is a song that I have always felt a strong connection to for Keegan.  But Paula, his mother, picked this song - "He's My Son" by Mark Shultz.  I'd never heard it before, and I will never forget it.  It's everything I feel and everything I could possibly want to say in a single song.  Paula whispered to me today, "don't let go of your Bug." I won't...I can't...he's my son.
I'm down on my knees again tonight,
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right.
See, there is a boy that needs Your help.
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired,
I'm sure You can understand.

Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand,
And she tries not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.

Sometimes late at night I watch him sleep,
I dream of the boy he'd like to be.
I try to be strong and see him through,
But God, who he needs right now is You.
Let him grow old,
Live life without this fear.

What would I be,
Living without him here?
He's so tired,
And he's scared
Let him know that You're there.

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place some how.
See, he's not just anyone, he's my son.
Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?

Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow.
See, he's not just anyone.
Can You hear me?
Can You see him?
Please don't leave him,
He's my son.

-Mark Shultz


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hollow

There haven't been too many times in my life that I've been at a loss for words...maybe the moment Keegan was born or after hearing he could not survive a matter of days or maybe a week without a new heart.

Tonight, I once again find myself at a loss for words.  Not because I can't express them but more because I can't feel them.  I feel terribly hollow.  I'm empty.  The tears are gone, but I'm not sure what to feel anymore. 

Last Saturday, Father Deeves completed his journey here with us.  Monday was the one-year anniversary of our dear Hannah going home.  Yesterday, my grandfather suffered a heart attack that required surgery this afternoon.  And early this morning, another transplant friend, Austin, passed away.  He was 13 years old, one year post-transplant.  Like so many before him, he has found his perfect healing.  No more meds, no more procedures, no more pokes, no more pain...

The hurt is fresh and raw.  I know it will subside, but only because HE will make it so...if I let Him.  So I'll linger in Keegan's room a little longer tonight.  I'll kiss his head a few more times.  Tell him and Audrey and my grandfather how they can't possibly know how much I love them.  I'll thank Kevin & LaMonica in my prayers a million more times for every single day they've given me with Keegan.  And I'll walk through the valley.  Even if it feels hollow tonight.  Even if it means just one more day...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sic'em Bears!

Rise up, Baylor Nation! 

Audrey (4 1/2 months) ready for the Baylor Homecoming game against Kansas State! 
October 23, 2010


Keegan in the same shirt at 4 1/2 months...and obviously not in the mood for smiling! Ha!
January 23, 2008


Awwww...SIC'EM BEARS! Bowl bid, here we come!

How do we get Audrey to laugh like this?  Simple....

Tickle monster!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Punkin Patch



We went to the pumpkin patch at Storybook Ranch on Saturday.  Keegan remembered the ponies, but once again, it was the inflatable slide (just like the bounce house) that was the hit of the day.  I have to say though, pumpkin patches are much more enjoyable when there is fall-ish weather, not near-90-degree weather!  (Thank you to Kelley for perfecting the above photo...yes, my children are airbrushed and proud of it...scandalous, we know!)

Making his way through the hay maze

Sliding down the inflatable slide

Riding Pancho...Princess, the pony from his party, was otherwise engaged at another birthday party.

At the petting zoo.
And yes...he is wearing boots with his shorts.  BD was intent on getting Keegan his first pair of cowboy boots this year, and I resisted until we decided to let him be a cowboy for Halloween.  We bought them last week, and just try to convince him not to wear them these days.

Picking out his punkin!

Climbing into the saddle


A future rodeo rider?

And his beautiful rodeo sister!

With a punkin hat!

And one of Ms Stephanie's awesome Halloween bows!

We sure had fun on our first trip to the pumpkin patch!  We'll be back before the season is over...hopefully with some more seasonable weather too!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Father Jack Deeves

Yesterday, heaven welcomed Father Jack Deeves, S.J. - inspiring priest, brilliant physicist, self-proclaimed "corny" comic, friend, eternal optimist, and heart transplant survivor.  For seventeen years, Father Deeves taught theology and pshyics at Ursuline Academy here in Dallas, where I went to high school, and I had the pleasure of knowing and learning from him for the last sixteen.  Father Deeves was a gentle giant - at least to a tiny little freshman!  I will always remember his reassuring voice, his endearing child-like smile, and forgiving nature.  On your worst days, he was there with a funny joke (or he thought so, at least) or a little song.  On your best days, he shared in your joy and seemed to make it multiply effortlessly. 

As a student, I always knew he had "heart problems", and I'm pretty sure I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that he had received a new heart.  When Keegan was born, Father Deeves was his biggest supporter and never failed to lift Keegan up in prayer daily.  In September 2007, Keegan became the smallest and youngest heart transplant recipient in Texas, and Father Deeves (transplanted in 1989) was the oldest living heart transplant in north Texas.  Dr. Ring, who founded the heart transplant program at Children's and was part of Keegan's initial repair, also performed Father Deeves's surgery.  Father Deeves was an inspiration to us in caring for Keegan and giving us hope for his future.  He never took for granted the the significance of his second chance at life, and he taught us to live each day grateful for the miracle that it is.


Keegan (40 days post-transplant), Alex, and Father Deeves (18 years post-transplant)- October 29, 2007

We will miss you, Father Deeves.  We are so grateful for the impact you had on our lives, and we will never forget you.  Please join us in keeping his family and the Dallas Jesuit and Ursuline communities in your prayers at this difficult time.

Audrey at 4 months

Our little ladybug is already four months old!  She weighed in at a whopping 12 pounds (21%) and 23.5 inches (17%).  You sure wouldn't think she was a little thing with all those cute little rolls!  It sure is different to have a healthy, chunky monkey.  And those well-child visits go a lot faster too!  Ha!

At four months, Audrey has no time to sit still or lay around enjoying the lazy life of your typical baby.  She would prefer to be moving, standing, playing, sitting up, laughing, talking...anything but lying still.  She is already a master of the tummy time mat, exersaucer, jumperoo, and bumbo chair.  And she would prefer a view of whatever craziness Keegan happens to be up to at the time.  She is generally a happy little girl as long as someone is keeping her busy...and Keegan's pretty good at that!  Their best time together is still right before bedtime.  After Audrey's in her pjs for bed, she will lay on the floor next to Keegan as we hook up his lines, give meds, and take vital signs.  As he lays there, he'll hold her little hand and will tell us if he thinks she needs a paci or not (the paci is starting to grow on her, but for the most part, she's still not a big fan).  I think it's cute that he thinks she obviously needs one since it is bedtime and the only time he gets one too!

She still is not a fan of napping on the go, but we're learning to adjust to whatever she needs.  I think she is just afraid she'll miss out on some of the action (or whoever might be ohhing and ahhing over her!).  Audrey still takes at most five bottles a day, sometimes as much as 6 ounces but mostly about 5.  Once we switched her to a partially broken down formula, her reflux and eating got much better.  She was given the ok to start solids this week, so hopefully, I'll get to that next week (ahh, the life of the second child!).  

I have to say I had forgotten how quickly infants become babies become toddlers.  It seems like yesterday and yet forever at the same time since she was born.  As busy as we are, I'm trying my best to treasure every moment with my little girl.  When she smiles at you with her whole sweet little face, it makes it all worthwhile.  We love you, ladybug!