Saturday, September 4, 2010

Celebration of a Life

The past week has been really hard emotionally. My friend Kristi and her husband Scott, lost their sweet 4 year old daughter, Sydnee, Monday night. It was very sudden and unexpected. She had been fine Sunday and then woke up Monday and started throwing up. She felt bad throughout the day and then started running a fever. When her dad got home from work, he decided to take her to the pediatric urgent care just to be safe since her fever wasn't coming down. As they prepared to leave, Sydnee told him she was feeling better. On the way to the doctor, she talked to her dad and then got quiet all of a sudden. By the time they got to the doctor's office, she had gone limp. Her dad grabbed her out of the car and ran inside yelling for help. She was already turning blue by the time the ambulance got there. They worked on her for over an hour but were unable to bring her back.
I heard the news that night and was in shock. We were supposed to meet up for a playdate with Kristi, Sydnee and her baby brother Noah on Wednesday. I just kept thinking "this can't be happening". Sydnee had faced many challenges in her short life. She was born with a rare condition that affected her lower extremities and she underwent many surgeries, including one to amputate her right leg below the knee and another to remove her left foot. On top of her condition, she had renal cancer as a toddler. She had one of her kidneys removed and underwent chemo and beat it. She had been cancer free for over 2 years. Despite all this, she was an amazingly brave, tough, and vibrant little girl. She was full of spunk and faced every challenge head on. I can't imagine the pain she endured throughout all of her medical issues but she never complained. She loved life, her family(including her best friend, big sister Karri), and Jesus. She was an inspiration to all who knew her. It was just so hard to believe that she had overcome the cancer and came through all her surgeries only to be taken be a simple virus. And the fact that it happened so quickly is scary.
I, along with other moms from our MOPS group (Kristi was our leader) went to her viewing last night. I was doing okay until I saw her little pink(her favorite color) coffin. The entire sanctuary was filled with flowers and the room smelled strongly of roses. She was in an open casket and Kristi herself had prepared Sydney that morning by doing her hair and painting her fingernails. How she had the strength to do it, I'll never know. "Princess" was spelled out in rhinestones on the inside of the coffin and a little tiara sat on top of the flower arrangement on top. Her blankie, which she never left home without, was draped over the side. I hugged Kristi and told her I was sorry and that I loved her. God had given her peace for the evening and she was holding it together amazingly. She said she and Scott could feel all the prayers and they were helping to get them through. As she hugged me she said "go home and love those boys". That just made me cry more. She said she was going to miss Sydnee's little voice and her smile. I will too. I told Scott how sorry I was and he leaned in and whispered, "please take care of my wife. You all mean a lot to her. She doesn't always ask for help but please watch out for her." It was hard to respond, I was crying so much.
Today was the funeral. It was one of the most beautiful, yet horrible things I have ever been through. It was a beautiful service, honoring a beautiful little girl but it was horrible that it had to even take place. My friend Amanda went with me and I'm so glad she did. We both cried through the whole thing. Sydnee's uncle sang the song "Homesick", pausing a couple of times becasue he was getting choked up. Her "poppy" who is a minister, spoke about his granddaughter and what a blessing she was. He said Sydnee dreamed of being a mommy and he thought maybe God took her home because he needed a little mommy to help him with the babies in heaven. Then they played a slideshow of Sydnee's life. Two of the songs in the slideshow were Steven Curtis Chapman's "Cinderella" and "Heaven is the Face". After the slideshow, they asked everyone to stand and sing a couple of Sydnee's favorite hymns. As we all sang "Surely the Presence", Sydnee's dad raised his hand in praise and then broke down sobbing. It was one the the most heart wrenching things I have ever seen. My heart broke for him and Kristi.
Our loss it truly heaven's gain. I can just see Sydney running and dancing with her new, perfect legs. I feel truly blessed to have know one of God's sweetest angels!

1 comment:

  1. That is just heart wrenching. I am glad you can be there for Kristi.