Day 19

Good evening and God bless to all!

We are home now. We actually arrived home on Wednesday evening just in time for dinner. Any remaining concerns that I may have had about coming home and leaving the security of a highly responsive and knowledge medical staff are now gone. When I saw Catie’s eyes light up as Kevin and I began to pack the apartment my concern started to dissipate. We packed each evening into the wee hours of the morning. On Wednesday morning we all woke up very early for Catie – 6am – she prefers 10. Traveling with Catie in a wheelchair was uneventful for the most part – we did have a slight delay as the plane we were scheduled to take had mechanical difficulties. Kevin was thrilled as we ended up on a brand new plane – all I noticed was the cool flexible head rests. When we touched down in Newark, NJ, through the clouds, fog and rain Catie spotted the Statue of Liberty. She immediately threw up her arms, smiled that smile I cherish and proclaimed “I am home.” At that very moment I knew that we had made the right choice.

We picked up Molly and M.E. and drove home to Mechanicsburg eating Miss Mary’s cookies all the way. It was a wonderful trip in the car. Catie was nestled between Molly and M.E. in the middle row in order to accommodate all of the luggage, wheelchair, and walker. Thank goodness we shipped 8 boxes home on Tuesday. M.E. held Catie’s hand the entire ride. She continually tells Catie and me how much she loves us and that she missed us. Catie made it the entire 2 ½ hour trip without a single bathroom break!

Once home we were amazed to see the house beautifully lit with Christmas lights and we were greeted by Maggie, Max, Mia and Megan. After much hugging and loving and adjusting to chaos we all sat down to dinner. As dinner began my cell phone rang, it was Dr. Baker, from St. Jude, calling to make sure that Catie was OK. It was a very nice touch. Dinner resumed and M.E. held my hand throughout the entire meal. (Three days later she is still holding my hand.) Then we all went upstairs and checked out Catie’s new hospital bed. We bathed the six kids and prepared for bed and the next day. Catie and the kids spent a ton of time hugging and loving each other. Kevin and I began to unpack and ready the house. There was mail to read, packages to open, decorations to see, lunches to pack, messages to return, pumpkin pie to bake and an update to write. Some of the things on the list had to wait and still are not done. Others were done at once.

Despite the long day Catie was in great spirits with boundless energy. I am thrilled to report that she is doing great. She has even decreased the amount of pain medication that she is taking each day. I on the other hand could not seem to find my center. I was home at long last – I was glad to be there. I wanted to take over again and take care of everyone. I wanted to decorate for Christmas and begin the Advent preparations. I wanted to unpack and get all of that behind me. I wanted to find all of the remotes filled with silly putty and be done with all of the “unexpected surprises”. With each of these driving forces hitting me at once – looking over and seeing Kevin, being able to reach out and touch him – I was almost paralyzed and unable to doing anything. The more effort I put forth toward being my normal goal oriented self the worse things became.

I realized that I needed to pray. I needed to stop doing, even when there was so much to do, and simply sit in the presence of the Lord. I needed to thank God for the blessing of all of us being together. I needed to clarify the thought and image that continued to distract me from doing the work around me. I continued to see in the complexity of my surroundings the simplicity of the answer. The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus continued to come to my mind. I recalled several years ago at a Women’s Fellowship and Bible Study group at St. Columbkill’s that Sarah spoke about the sacred heart of Jesus and the Jesus loves us so much that He is on fire. His love is so overpowering and all consuming that it cannot be contained within the actual physical heart of Jesus. Jesus’ love must be shared.

After praying about this and discussing this with Kevin it became so clear to me that that it what Catie’s Story does for me. Catie and all that is happening to her is too much for Kevin and me to deal with on our own, so we share it. We open ourselves up and share all that is going on in our lives – hoping for your prayers. There is a simple parallel here to Jesus. Jesus did the same thing, He opened himself up completely. He didn’t defend himself when questioned by Pilate. He simply listened. In many ways Jesus behaved like an innocent child. When an innocent child is asked if they did something wrong they usually don’t defend themselves they simply stand there – Kevin and I often call that “deer in the headlights” when our children do it to us. I wonder if this is another step toward surrendering more to the will of the Father. Each time I think I have given everything up I find that there is still more that is standing in the way of my total dependence on God.

So here I am at home. Thrilled to listen to the kids and share their days. Delighting in the fact that M.E. and Molly run around hugging and kissing Catie and telling Catie how happy they are that Catie is home. M.E. and Molly are freely sharing everything. On Thursday morning Kevin and Megan must have gotten the three kids off to school. Molly and I slept until 9. M.E. and Catie slept until 11. At 1 or rather at 20 minutes before 1 the hospice nurse arrived for her first visit. I was still in my PJs. She was 20 minutes early!!! I was not ready. I am crazy and very uncomfortable being unprepared. I told Kelly our nurse that I was still in my PJs. She told me that she didn’t mind. (But I did mind.) The meeting went fine. Mostly paper work needed to be signed so that the process of ordering supplies could begin. Catie signed every paper.

On Thursday night after dinner, I jumped up from the table to finally take my shower so that we could go to Mass. Everyone else jumped up too and did what needed to be done so that we all could go to Mass. Catie was left alone at the table feeling helpless – she can’t help. After Mass we came home and prepared for another day. Thursday night the pumpkin pie was baked. Catie woke up at midnight and ate pie and listened to YouTube with Kevin for an hour. They love music. I enjoy how much pleasure Kevin and Catie have together. Again I offered a prayer. Thank you God for bringing us together. As Catie was returning to bed she announced that she wanted to go to school on Friday.

So on Friday morning Catie got up and dressed for school. Before school Catie went to see Father Fred. She received her First Reconcilation. She now has received 3 of the 7 sacraments. She is all set to receive her First Holy Communion on Christmas Day. At 11:30 Catie and I wheeled into school. Catie was with her class for 1 ½ hours today and enjoyed every minute. She plans to return on Monday. After school all eight of us went to the Camp Hill Post Office to apply for our passports as earlier today Make a Wish granted approval for the trip to Lourdes, France. We leave on January 7th. After dinner tonight we drove to Duszak’s home to enjoy their spectacular Christmas light display. M.E. wore her delight on her face. It was a great show.

All of the children are tucked safe in their beds and Kevin and I unpacked all of the suitcases and put them away. The boxes have arrived and they are sitting at the front door waiting for another day. Tomorrow will not be their day as we are heading to Uncle Sean’s for the repeat of the June birthday party that Catie missed just after surgery. So far things are going well. Hospice came through with all the medications that Catie needed. Everyone is over joyed to be together. As long as I realize that dependence on the Lord is good. He can handle it and I can always trust more.

God Bless from home,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly and M.E.

Discover more from Catie's Wish Foundation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Comments are closed.