He Knows Us

8:04 AM

I am just amazed at how much the Lord knows us. 
It is truly incredible. 

As I have gone through this trial of losing Parker, I have become so much more aware of the Lord's hand in our lives. It has humbled me beyond what I thought was possible- or I admit, needed. Before this trial, I knew that the Lord was a major part of my life but now I know that He is my everything. He is my all. I rely upon him. He gives me strength. He sits through my anger. He picks me up when I collapse from exhaustion. He even gives me the sense to not punch the wall, even though for some reason at the moment it seems like the most logical thing to do. Most importantly, He reassures me that Parker knows that I love him.

From Left to Right: Jared (Cousin), Maren (Cousin), Grandpa Haineline, Sterling, Hailey, Parker, Madison (Me)

Parker's passing in itself is a testimony to me of the Lord's will and mercy. When you think of the timeline of Parker's decline, it all happened within a week. He got the flu on Sunday, went to the hospital on Thursday, and then was gone early Saturday morning. It seemed like everything that could possibly happen to him, did. The doctors had no explanation but assured us that there was nothing we could have done. He was getting the best care in the world at Primary Children's Hospital, and he still passed away. There is no logical reason as to why this happened. The only conclusion I can come to is that it was the Lord's will.  However, I can also see that it was not the Lord's will for Parker to go suddenly (relatively speaking of course). Parker did have some small miracles along the way that lengthened his time here. That is where I witness the Lord's merciful and loving hand. I think this extension of his time here was so we could say goodbye.

On Friday night, our family made plans for the evening.  Some people needed to decompress and go home to help cope with the situation, and my mom was going to stay here with Parker. My dad asked me if I was to stay or go.

It was the strangest thing- as soon as that possibility of leaving entered my mind, I heard, "No. You know what you want to do".

So I did.
I just knew that I needed to be the person to stay there with my mom. I explained myself, said goodbye to the rest of my family, and fortified myself to face the situation at hand.

My mother and I prepared to hunker down for the night. My mom was just exhausted, and luckily she was able to sleep on the bed that was provided. I looked at the chair, and thought, "Well, maaaaayyyybe I could get some sleep". I had not slept at all the night before, and so it was almost tempting. But again, the thought came to me, "No. You know what you want to do".

So, I scurried back into the PICU, and waited for an opportunity to be by Parker.

The nurse saw that I was there, and kindly told me where I could stand. He quickly went and got me a chair to sit on so I could still be at the same height as Parker, but be a smidgen more comfortable. I was really grateful, and it was calming to just sit there, hold his hand, stroke his arm, and let the tears slide down my cheeks. I wanted to sit there for the rest of the night, but I again had the feeling that time was running short. The same thought came to me, "You know what you want to do".

I really wanted to talk to him, but it felt kind of awkward since the nurses were so close by. So I looked at his face again, and all concerns just melted away. He looked like he had just fallen asleep on the couch after a movie. His hair had fallen across his forehead, and so I brushed it back, smiled to myself, and started to talk.

I reminisced on times when we were younger, and how we used to play Barbies and G.I Joes with my Barbie Dream House. I laughed about the time when we were playing dress up and I wrapped him in a purple, sparkly scarf.  Mom got so mad at me! We also would play around in the backyard, imagining and creating other worlds. No matter what, he always made something into a gun. He loved everything cowboy/western, and once tried to ride Hailey's and my American Girl Horse down the hallway. My parents heard, "Giddiup Horsie!" and hear the sound of those plastic hooves hitting the tile as Parker tried to ride the horse into the kitchen. He always loved to eat Dad's Cowboy Sandwich. It was pretty much just an egg and ham on an english muffin, but he loved it to death. Parker just loved food! Mom told me a story of how he was able to eat three ears of corn when he was only eighteen months old. Parker just ate, and ate, and ate!
From Left to Right: Janalee (Cousin) , Hailey, Madison (Me), Jenneca (Cousin), Sterling, Parker

I talked about our good times in Water Polo, and and how fun it was for me to see him enjoying football. I also told him that I was proud that he was really smart too, and had more than one talent. I was so excited to see his future. I wanted to see where he ended up, and how our lives would be when we were older.  I also told him how many people were praying for him to be able to pull through this, but that I felt he probably was not going to. I looked at him, stiffened my lip and said, "But you better listen. You must always remember how much I love you." 
Once during my conversation, I caught one of the nurses looking at me with tears in her eyes. I smiled, and thought that it was sweet. Strangely seeing her reaction brought some sense of reality to my situation, and it helped.

After about an hour, the doctor came to do her rounds. I knew that I was in her way so I got up to leave. Before I left, I looked at his sweet face leaned over, and whispered, "I love you bud", followed by a kiss on the forehead.

Later when I got the bad news and the impression that the rest of my family needed to be here, I went to get my mother. We sat there outside of the PICU, clutching Kleenex and simply overcome with grief. Suddenly, we noticed that something was happening. The Kleenex had these weird clumps, and we literally had tufts of white fluff all over our faces. We started to laugh, and I think it was what we needed- a defective box of Kleenex to avert our thoughts for just a second or two. I think that it also reflected a bit of Parker's humor; I have no doubt that he was there, crying and laughing along with us.

Fifteen minutes later, the situation became more grim as something was wrong with one of Parker's tubes. The nurse came over to us and explained what was going on, but my poor mother barely squeeked out, "Just get him through till my husband gets here- he cannot go until they come".
That hour was the of the longest hour of my life. Every time someone rounded the corner, we both glanced over with anticipation that was met with disappointment, and followed by a glance to the clock. We wanted everyone else to be there, and fast! My mother and I did not want Parker to slip away while our family was en route.

Lucky for us, Parker waited. Some may look at the timing of his passing as chance, but I see the Lord's hand directly in these actions. Parker waited to go until everyone said their goodbyes. He could have gone on Thursday, or any time after the initial heart failure, but he did not go until after everyone had said their personal goodbyes, and all of our family was there.

I cannot help but restate that The Lord truly knows each and every one of us. He knows that we needed those small mercies in our lives. He knows that I needed to talk with him. He also knows that we needed to go through this together. 
We continue to press on in our lives, but we do it as a family. We know that Parker is forever sealed to us, and that he is an important part of us that we will never forget. 

Our Family at Parker's Eagle Scout Court of Honor

As the days go by, my heart fills with anticipation for the time that we will all be reunited again.

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  1. Thanks so much for your loving words, Madison. I love you.

  2. Again, thanks so much for sharing and so beautifully expressing these personal experiences. You're awesome.

  3. Thanks for sharing. We never knew Parker, but if he is anything like Sterling, he is an amazing young man. We pray for your care and healing. [nick cox's uncle]

  4. Hi Madison, I've been so touched as I've read through this site. I can't imagine what you and your family have been through but I thank you for taking the time to share your experience and your testimony. You are a remarkable girl and I know that your words will be a comfort to other girls that have experienced, like you, a profound loss in their life. My name is Nicole and I host a site for teen girls to share their experiences in an effort to support and strengthen other teen girls. If you are ever interested, I would be honored for you to contribute a post to share with our readers about your loss and grief. I believe that your perspective is powerful, giving support to other girls that may have experienced losing a loved-one and a reminder for those that haven't to cherish the time they have with family. You can check out the site at thewonderandworry.com and contact me nicole@thewonderandworry.com with any questions you have. I wish you and your family the very best.

  5. Hi Madison
    You don't know me, but I have read your words about your brother's tragic fight for life and I have been so touched. I prayed and continue to pray for all of you. My heart is especially tender for you all because my niece fought a similar battle a year ago. One day, she had a fever, and the next she was admitted to the PICU at our Children's Hospital with a staph infection in both her lungs. The infection spread throughout her body and to her brain. I felt the same anxiety and fears, but was spared your final grief as, after six months in the hospital, she recovered. The Lord sustained us during that time and I hold your family up in prayer that you are continually sustained and renewed by His mercy. God bless.
    Melinda Tulley

  6. Hi Madison,
    Even though I never met Parker officially (knew of him through stories from your mom and brother), I had the pleasure of having Sterling as a student in my 4th grade class and am so touched by your story. I too know that the Lord knows us and I wanted to let you know how He's using you and Parker in so many ways to touch others. I followed the tragic events as they were unfolding and today, months later, I felt the impression to see if you had written again. In that gap, my husband and I found out that my unborn daughter has a very little chance of survival after birth (heart and other defects) and I would be having even a harder time with this news if I wasn't able to truly see the Lord's watch over us. I felt this testimony again as I read your words and felt your beautiful spirit so I thank you for that. You are also unknowingly acting as an instrument for the Lord in helping me find an answer to my family's desperate prayer, seeking to know which hospital to deliver at with one of them not having the best environment to have those private and special last moments to cherish that I'm so glad you were able to have. I might not be making much sense as I sit here with tears running down my cheeks trying to convey hard emotions but most of all, thank you. Thank you for being an example of listening to the spirit and strengthening others through your hard time. (And please tell your mom and Sterling hi for me. :)
    - Lindsey Havican



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