Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Tiny Light Still Shines

Ten years ago today, a little girl passed from one life ... to the next. A little girl with a long history of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. In a hospital in Philadelphia, this wisp of a tiny girl's body decided ... she'd had quite enough, thank you. She lifted her hand as her angel said, "C'mon sweetie, we've been waitin' for you. I'm gonna take ya to a place where you'll never hurt again." The angel smiled down at her. "Don't be afraid, your family will be along ... directly." So she did. And, frankly, that's where I believe she is now ... just hangin' out, havin' fun, learnin', and waitin' on the the rest of us.

To Jackie, that was just yesterday.

To her daddy, it was a lifetime ago. On Monday, I attempted to somehow console my husband, that this year ... the 10th anniversary of his daughter's death, we need to remember her. Out loud. She's still a member of this family, and let's bring some small amount of joy into this, by talking about her. Of course, I'm not sure how, exactly, to do that. I did not know this child. But I do know her father, mother, brother, and grandparents ... those she loved. I know how every year, they quietly remember her. She was a tiny light in their lives. How every year, though the pain may lessen, the memory never does. She was loved by all of them, deeply. I have felt their love for her every day since I've been with this family. So in a very small way ... I knew her, too.

I read my husband's journal yesterday. Here's an excerpt from March 15, 1997: 12:45 a.m. I leave the hospital to get a couple hours of sleep. I can't get out of the parking lot. No one is in the booth. I wait 10 minutes for someone to come out and take my money. Does it ever stop?

The journal of his days and nights, his constant vigil over his daughter, is heartbreaking. I could barely get through it. The entire nightmare of losing a child is something, I for one, cannot comprehend. Only those who have gone through it have the right to discuss it. Michael says, he will never be the same. I'm sure that's the case. But he's an amazing man. He brings light to his family every day. Michael has learned the art of covering his pain.

In the meantime, we will gather together. Those who knew her will bring their best memory of her, and we'll find joy in the darkness. She had a purpose for being here. I know she's touched my life. She will continue to be missed.

In Loving Memory
Jackie Cable
November 9, 1978 - April 17, 1997

3 comments:

Dena said...

Love and prayers--to you, Michael, and Jackie

Paula said...

Just read your blog and cried so hard I can barely breathe. Jackie was a precious part of our family and we grieve with you today. My memories of her are vivid and full of joy. Her smile lit up a room and her presence is missed.

I love you all today!
Paula

Anonymous said...

I just left the hospital where my daughter lies in a great deal of pain, but God willing out of danger. She has been fighting cancer for 25 years, and just had another nasty malignancy removed. I watched her die one day, more than 20 years ago, but they jumpstarted her heart and she is with us still. My heart goes out to Michael because he didn't get the reprieve that we were granted- not because he and his beautiful daughter didn't deserve it or because they didn't pray hard enough or because they didn't hold positive thoughts for the future. There is no right or reasoning for one beautiful bright light to be extinguished while another continues to flicker along, but I believe, like Michael, that his little girl has found peace and will patiently await his arrival. She's in no hurry - time is irrelevant where she now resides, but someday, they will be reunited. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I think you know who this is.