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Old 03-16-2010, 09:57 AM   #561
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Jane it effects us all, but it sounds like you have more than your fair share. I have lost a grandfather, colon, and have many friends who are survivors. I am a big supporter of the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life, I have served on the committee several times, I have been a team captian, and I raise money individually every year. No great amount, but at least I know I am trying to help. Yes I hate cancer and I think in this case it is OK to hate, its not a person, it is a beast, like you said.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:07 AM   #562
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Default That's wonderful!

I have knee problems, so can't do "relay", but have quite a few friends who do it religiously! I was thinking about making/collecting cards and selling them at relay to raise money, but I'm hardly able to keep up with the cards for the RMD Houses I support! I also do candle fundraisers, so maybe I should do one of those this year at the relay!

If everyone does a little, it adds up to a LOT!!!
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #563
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Yep, every little bit helps, here at our office, I save all the empty ink cartridges and send them in to recycle, some years are better than others, one year I had $180 and this past year only $31. But I keep trying. I made book marks one year to give to all the survivors that came out to the Relay event, I make 80 book marks, It was enjoyable and the survivors seem to really like them. Some years I have more time to be involed and some years not as much. This year I don't know we have an 11 year old foster child in our home, that we are hoping to adopt, so I will jsut have to wait and see what we have going on.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:19 AM   #564
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Congratulations, I hope everything works out for you! I have fostered dogs, but have had so much going on, that I have never thought I would be able to commit to having a child in my home. How long have you had them???
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:25 AM   #565
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Thanks, We have had her for a little over a month, we didn't want to foster, we only wanted to adopt, but we weren't getting any where with that, so the social workers talked us into fostering and she was our first placement, and it happens she is free to adopt, she is a sweet kid, so hopefully we can adopt her. There is one more court hearing before we can start paper work, so we are praying all goes well with that.
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:56 PM   #566
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Here is Kerry's latest post.

Hello dear family and friends,
Sicily is curled up on Grandpa Parker's lap right now sleeping off one of the morphine's side affects. Patrick and I took her to the pediatric oncology clinic this morning for a CBC and a check-up. It was gray, cold and cloudy outside as we drove and Sicily sat buckled up in her car seat in a relaxed state with her eyes closed. A CD of instrumental hymns played queitly as we drove until Patrick broke the otherwise silent atmosphere with a conversation of impending funeral plans. We were so deep in our depressive conversation, that when he changed lanes he practically cut off a driver in the other lane. It sort of snapped us out of our daze and we decided that driving did not appear to be the best place to talk about such an emotional subject that made tears flood our eyes and impair our vision! Still, as much as we'd like to refrain from this discussion and avoid it at all costs, it still has to occur. When the reality finally sunk into our conscious minds a couple of weeks ago that we would be planning our precious daughter's funeral, we quickly realized that we were both on the same page and had the same desires. Nothing has been set in stone as of yet, but our hopes are to have the funeral held here in Broken Arrow at our beloved Church of Saint Benedict's with Father Joe. Then we would like to take Sicily home to rest in Wellington, Kansas, her birth place. Because we are still so close in heart and spirit to the community of Wellington, we would like to continue our farewell and celebration of her life with a memorial to be held someplace that can accommodate our family and friends comfortably, in Wellington, of course. I don't know where that will be, but we have to start figuring that out. Sicily's eventual final resting place will be in the cemetery where her Grandpa Zeka is buried. Patrick and I already purchased three plots side by side...he and I will be on the outside with Sicily resting between us. I know most couples are buried side by side, but most couples don't have to bury a child. She sleeps between us now in our bed so we can both be with her, and her body will eventually sleep between us when our lives on earth have expired as well. Patrick and I started to talk about who we would like to be the pall bearers and both of us started to rattle off names with both in agreement. Then it hit me in a wave of tears when I realized the casket would not be that big. Sicily's Godfather Blaine could hoist her over his shoulder and carry her as far as she needed to go. I'm sorry for having to spill all these emotions on you all right now. I feel it's better to share our thoughts and desires now while I can still get up from this chair and take a break from pecking on this keyboard and go out into the living room to kiss Sicily's little forehead. If I wait until the actual time arrives, I may not be able to sit down and compose a paragraph worth reading or one that would make sense. I'm still trying very hard not to mourn her yet, even though the Sicily we know is no longer present.
An x-ray was ordered this morning to rule out an obstruction in Sicily's bowels since she has not been able to produce a bowel movement since Saturday. It was determined that her bowels are being compressed by tumor growth. They are not completely closed off, yet, so we are working to soften her up so she can become more comfortable. We have both time and morphine working against us. The morphine naturally slows down the bowels and now we have compression issue. I don't want to go into too many details about her condition right now as I want to preserve her dignity, but her poor little body is becoming hard for even her parents to observe. It so breaks my heart to see her like this. If her bowels refuse to do their job or become unable, then we have only a few options left to make her comfortable. To say we are preserving a quality of life for her is no longer truthful. I don't see a quality anymore. As her parents, Patrick and I want to do anything and everything we can to help her with her discomforts and hopefully sustain her life just a bit longer...but on the flip side, we see ourselves as becoming more increasingly unselfish and wanting her to let go of the body that can not sustain life too much longer. It is so hard to be on this path of thinking, but we can't ask her to stick around on our behalf.
At the clinic, we still could not bring ourselves to ask the “how long” question, even though it is starting to bang harder and harder in my head. I try very hard to divert my attention to something else when the pounding won't stop. Right now, my parents and two sisters are here helping us with whatever we are in need of. My brother and his family were here over the weekend and left yesterday morning. One of the biggest requests I've had of them all has been to help entertain and take care of Sicily's three older siblings so they are not constantly staring this situation in the face. I want to hear them laugh and have fun with their cousins so they can look back on this time rather fondly instead of resenting their little sister or their parents. They are great kids and I know they would never blame or purposely resent us, but I can't foresee the future and know exactly how they will be dealing with this in the months and years to come. We are just doing the best we can. We took a step back and came to the conclusion that we love all four of our children equally and the older three need and deserve as much attention as what the caboose is getting. They need a positive and hopeful environment to soak all of this up in even though their lives are treading in precarious waters! In my mind I try to think that if we can help them get through this heartbreaking event now at the young ages of fourteen, twelve and eight, then maybe they will be prepared to handle other situations in life that aren't what they had hoped for or planned. I have to giggle because my first real understanding at loss was when Elvis Presley died. I was maybe eight or nine years old and I was devastated. My mom always played her old records of his when we'd clean and do chores around the house. Even though I was physically removed from the man and never saw him in person in my life, I was very much affected by his passing. So when the day came a few years later when my Grandpa Kincannon passed away, I had a better understanding of my feelings and of how to cope. We will do whatever we need to do to help Corinthian, Isabella and Elias deal with this.
One last little story or realization I wanted to share. While Patrick and I sat with Sicily at the hospital this morning waiting for her to be called back to radiology for an x-ray, we shared the waiting room with a family who was obviously in the throws of a tragedy. I was not eaves-dropping but it was not hard for my ears to hear and my mind to comprehend what they were going through. The child or teenager was apparently involved in some sort of accident and their discussion involved words like, “life support” and “unresponsive.” I truly have no idea what the situation was, but in my heart all I could do was ask God to watch over that poor family and give them the strength to get through their turmoil. It brings Patrick and I both back to the place where we say, “At least we were able to plan for this!” Losing a loved one is never easy, but sometimes God allows for us “planners” to have a little time and for me, that will give me peace in the end!
I've said it time and time again...we could not get through this without the constant and unconditional support we've received from all of you in one way or another! Specifically, we would like to ask for prayers that Sicily is comfortable and that her siblings are at peace...mommy and daddy, too!



Love to you all!

Kerry
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Old 03-16-2010, 04:59 PM   #567
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I hate to keep repeating myself, but my heart is breaking...I wish Caterina was here.
I can't type for the tears running down my face.
Night all, prayers still going out for the Zeka family.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:20 AM   #568
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Morning bump for Sicily, Kerry, Patrick and the kids. Betty, I too am typing with tears running down my face. Dear God, please be with Sicily and her family during this seemingly impossible time. I pray that you will help Sicily have some comfort and peace. Please hold her parents and siblings and let them feel your presence. In Jesus Name, AMEN.
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Old 03-17-2010, 06:35 AM   #569
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Thanks Marilyn, I know there are lots of us who feel thier pain and are praying for the same things. Comfort, peace and God's love. And unfortunately all we can do it keep praying.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:11 AM   #570
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How could you even concentrate on anything, yet Kerry is so concerned with her other children and even her family and friends.

God Bless them all, keep them strong, and let them find comfort in their family and friends!
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:14 AM   #571
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Morning bump for Sicily and entire Zeka family. Prayers being said for them all.
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Old 03-18-2010, 12:06 PM   #572
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Afternoon bump, there hasn't been any updates today, I am sure it is more important to spend time with Sicily than to be on computer. I'm sure we will here from her when she has a minute. And most important.. we just keep praying for them all.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:23 AM   #573
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An update from Kerry!!

Evening all,
It seems like it’s been forever since I last posted when in actuality it has only been a couple of days. A couple of days in our life right now seem to fly by and move slowly all at the same time. The change in daylight savings did not help me! I needed that one hour as I find myself really thrown off schedule. When a loved one’s life is fading so fast, one hour seems so valuable!
Sicily’s physical state is a hard vision to behold. I’m hoping we can do something about that and I will try to explain that in a bit. We’ve been amazed at how comfortable Sicily continues to be. She sleeps or rests most of the time. I like to see her in this state, relaxed that is, but it also creates a huge obstacle when trying to get her to take oral medications…medications that could help with several of the complications that continue to arise. We have been occasionally successful at getting her to swallow a syrupy medication that performs as a laxative. It has proven to produce some results. Her abdomen is still fully distended which is a hard thing to see. Patrick and I went forth today with the plan to access her port so I can administer IV morphine and a steroid that may affect the tumor in her bowels, hopefully slowing the compression process. Our Hospice nurse trained me today on how to give the IV drugs. I’ve watched nurses to this for over eighteen months so the fear of doing this was really absent. I am comfortable performing this and it gives me a sense that I am actually “doing something” for her right now instead of waiting for her to be in so much pain before she would accept the oral morphine…it usually takes awhile for the oral medicine to kick in. I’m hoping to talk to someone tomorrow about adding a ant-acid to her drug arsenal as well as a TPN to possibly give her some nutrition since she does not want to really eat. It’s kind of a catch twenty two as Patrick and I made the decision that we do not want to prolong the inevitable. We just want her to be as comfortable as possible but the last thing I want her to do is die from starvation and dehydration. Those are areas that I can still contribute to, with a little medical assistance. I must say that Patrick and I feel completely surrounded and lifted by the prayers on our behalf. I feel like a walking testament of what the power of prayer can produce. Yes, these are excruciatingly difficult times, but I still am experiencing more moments of peace versus moments of despair, which I am not running away from. When those moments of despair win the tug of war, I am still finding the inner strength to face them head on and push them back down to the ground. Case in point, Tuesday evening, Elias began to complain of a stomach ache and soon to follow was the delivery of that night’s dinner. We sent him to bed with a Zofran but he woke us up again around 3:30 to say he had thrown up again. Patrick jumped up out of bed to help him. I did not even realize that Sicily was awake and taking in the situation around her until I heard her sweet voice, the one that has been MIA for some time, express her concern about her older brother. She said, “I feel sorry for Elias…but he’ll get better.” I had to quickly stumble out of bed and run into the living room to release the uncontrollable sobs that ensued. Here was Sicily, truly living out her final days and she felt bad for the little twelve hour bug her older brother was dealing with. This is what she occasionally does amidst the personality that has changed by the affects of this disease. When she lashes out at us and refuses our loving touches and kisses, I know this truly is not our little girl. I am so thankful that God allows her to peek out every once in awhile. She has never been one to feel sorry for herself and has no idea what self pity is. In her eyes, Elias was worse off than she was and that bothered her. But at the same time, she had faith and found peace in knowing that he would be okay…which he was. The next morning he jumped out of bed exclaiming that he felt, “Awesome!” I still muster so much of my strength from just being around her. That was what hit me so hard early Wednesday morning. It’s not that I don’t completely comprehended my reality, it’s just realizing that I truly will have to continue my life with her no longer physically in it and it just became too unbearable a thought to understand and grasp. Instances like these still continue to occur even when I have declared on numerous occasions that I’ve accepted God’s will and have peace knowing that Sicily had a specific purpose in life! I still believe that with all my heart.
Last night was the first night in awhile that we did not have any company in our house. I told my sister’s, who had offered to stay another night, that it was okay for them to go on home. I think it did us some good to be here by ourselves and address what was currently going on with Sicily condition, especially in the eyes and minds of her siblings. They had been having fun and were somewhat separated and distracted from the downward spiral of their sister’s condition. Isabella made a little comment while she was eating a late dinner that “someone sure has been sleeping a lot.” Patrick, knowing that Isabella is not completely understanding or absorbing what is really going on, gently reminded her that Sicily is dying. There really is no easy way of saying it or explaining it, even though it seems a twelve year olds mind would get it. I hate hearing those words and even more so saying them, but time I do, I accept it more and more. I could see those words drove deep into Isabella’s mind and she responded with, “I was hoping she would make it to her fifth birthday.” I told her I did, too, but it is not up to us how much longer she will be with us. Corinthian ended up sitting with us on our bed just looking at his little sister and asking a few questions here and there. He was visually emotional and we kept telling him how important it was and will be for him to let his emotions go and for him to talk to us or anybody else he feels comfortable with. Elias asked today if there was any way Sicily would get better. It was terribly hard to explain that there wasn’t. I’ve shared with him many times how we worked very hard to figure out a way to save her life, but it wasn’t meant to be. He will always have a little sister. When asked about his siblings, he can continue to say he has one brother and two sisters. If he chooses, he can add that his little sister is now an angel who looks out for him. I just pray that they will find peace in all of this and not be haunted by any of it. I know they continue to be covered in the bubble wrap of prayers and those prayers will provide them with salvation! We all will be okay!
I have so much more that I want and need to write, but I’m about to fall asleep sitting up and I expect a mediocre night of rest, like the preceding nights before. We have several things going on tomorrow so I hope I can jump on here to update how our little “pocketful of sunshine” is managing!
I just had to quickly add that when the “time” comes, I will welcome responses like, “At least she is in a better place,” or “she is now healed and no longer suffering!” I will smile and agree one hundred percent with those comments. I’ve worked hard at giving up my selfish need for her to be by my side in this lifetime because I know I will get to spend eternity with her. I find peace in those words. Her work on earth is almost complete. I am humbled at what she was able to do in such a short amount of time! We’re so lucky to have raised this little girl!

Love to you all!

Kerry
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:26 AM   #574
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Praying for this amazing family!!
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:43 AM   #575
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This is unbelievable to me that through all this pain and suffering going on in their family, she is comforting us with telling us that it's ok to say certain things. It feels like she has been in our shoes before-wanting to say the 'right thing' but instead sticking our foot in our mouth and then feeling so bad. But here she says, "It's alright and even appreciated to say those things." God bless her and her whole family.
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Old 03-19-2010, 09:13 AM   #576
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I have followed this thread off and on, I had no idea Sicily was in her current state. I will add MORE prayers for the family and dear, little Sicily. No family should have to deal with this.
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:08 PM   #577
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An evening post from Kerry.Evening,

I am able to sit in bed right next to Sicily and peck away on my laptop all the while watching over her and caring for her. I truly wish there was a way to bottle this feeling and share it with others who are facing a similar life situation. I will risk the appearance of sounding redundant by saying that our coping skills and ability to accept what is going on around us can only be explained by prayers and that God really listens and responds. I read and re-read every single message that is written to us either on this website or personally sent to my yahoo email account. I haven’t had the chance to respond to most of the personal emails and know that a response is not really expected by the senders, but I hope one of these days to be able to respond because the words written and shared with me have been the foundation for the source of my strength. I can visualize a column, such as a Corinthian column found in ancient Greece. From a distance, this column looks solid and uniform in its formation; it looks strong and durable like a column should look. Upon closer observation, the column has cracks and chunks are missing in several places leaving the inner materials of this column exposed. When the eyes scan up and down this flawed architectural creation, the mind has to wonder how it is able to remain standing and often times supporting something above it. Then the eyes fall down low and notice that this column has a HUGE base and foundation that look to be made from the strongest materials God has provided for mankind. You all are my base with God as the foundation for us all. I can’t explain it any better! What you all have shared with me about how your lives have been impacted by the path that God has lead us on has been turned right back around and become a huge impact on us! It’s times like this that I can’t help but smile and feel so full of love for how God’s children have learned to take care of one another. One of the things that makes me the happiest in life is when my kids get along and are nice to each other. They are the typical siblings that like to bicker and knit pick over the tiniest of things that really are of no great importance, but when they stop and treat each other with respect and compassion, my heart is so happy and content. I see God observing all this beauty that each of you are doing on our behalf and it makes Him so happy that His children are there for one another. We continue to promise to pay it forward the rest of our lives. We can’t repay each of you for what you’ve done, but you set the example for us that we want to uphold!
Sicily is pretty much status quo. She seems to be comfortable about ninety percent of the time and we feel empowered with ways to help her cope with the discomfort when it does arise. We learned that giving her alternative nutrition either through a nasal gastric tube in her nose or a TPN running through her port would only feed the cancer. One of the reasons Sicily’s appearance is so gaunt is because the tumors are consuming all her calories, not that she is getting many, but the nutrients would only benefit those nasty tumors and do little for her. We are going to hook her up to IV fluids in the evening to run through the night to help a little with her hydration. One of the things I found to be very interesting is that by being a little dehydrated it can benefit Sicily in the pain management area. Similar to what we found out last Tuesday while in the clinic and discussing her CBC and the important levels. Sicily’s hemoglobin was at eight and we would usually transfuse her at seven. We were given the option to transfuse with the possibility of increasing her energy level, but in doing so, we could also increase her pain level. It’s sort of crazy sounding, but by letting her remain low, her body can absorb the pain better. It has become our goal within the last week to just make her as comfortable as possible. We still welcome prayers for a miracle and the concept and desire remain alive in our hearts as well, but we have to continue to deal with life at hand truly hour by hour and minute by minute!
Nights are still pretty difficult. Last night Sicily seemed to awake every half hour or so wanting something to drink. Patrick and I were more than excited to oblige, but the morning dawn and rising sun came earlier that what we were able to handle. We are pretty much trying to let ourselves do a little catching up by sleeping in, when it’s possible. We know this will not go on forever so we just try to do our best and continue to shower as much love on her as possible. It has to be done from a bit of a distance as she does not want to be held or touched much. We respect her desires. Upon Patrick and me telling her many times that we loved her, she furrowed her eyebrows and replied, “It’s getting annoying!” Only Sicily can get away with that. We will try to control our annoying behaviors but it will be hard!
She has continued to show us that even though her body is physically fading, her mind is still ever present, and so is her desire to remain as independent as possible. Yesterday, she asked to be moved from our bedroom to the living room couch. After getting all set up, she asked for some milk. We already had a cup of ice water and cup of seven-up on the coffee table right in front of her. Patrick delivered the cup of milk and set it beside the others. Shortly thereafter, as I sat in a chair near her, I was shocked and caught off guard when I saw her deliberately slide off the couch and kneel down on her knees by her drinks and take little sips out of each cup. As quickly as she had done this, she twisted back around and threw her bended knee back up on the couch and hoisted herself back up. She settled back onto her stack of three pillows and closed her eyes. Laced with the sounds of amazement in my voice, I commented, “I’m sorry, did you need my help?” With eyes still closed, her simple yet stern reply was, “I don’t need any help!” Okay! Gotcha! Sicily is still Sicily. We wouldn’t want her to be any other way! She provides us with means of laughter, even though that may not initially be her intentions, but it helps us cope and continues to create special memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives!
I will close for now. We have been blessed with more help in the form of fantastic family, friends and fabulous food. The older kids are doing okay. They are being loved on continuously. Today the weather is representative of early spring with sun and warm temps. Tomorrow, old man winter plans on blowing on us one more time with chances of snow and freezing temps. Go figure. This is Oklahoma! The old saying is if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute and it will change! ; )

All our love to you each and every one of you!

Kerry
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Old 03-19-2010, 04:17 PM   #578
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Every post Kerry writes is so full of faith and strength. We can all learn from her and her example.
Some one posted on Sicily's site in her guest book, about the image of Jesus with out stretched arms ready for Sicily to come home to heaven, it was so comforting to imagine.
Hugs and prayers for the Zeka family.
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:56 AM   #579
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Saturday bump for Sicily and entire Zeka family.
Hugs and prayers to them all!!!
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:27 PM   #580
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Betty - I agree that each of Kerry's posts is filled with such strength and faith. It is amazing and I am thankful that she is feeling this way. Saying more prayers for the family.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:42 PM   #581
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Hi. I don't know who posted that post by Sicily's Mom, I believe. We ( a group of SCS'ers) Have been praying for Sicily and her family for quite a while, several times a day. Is it ok, for me to copy it and post it there...so the other prayer warriors will know how she and the family are doing?

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Old 03-20-2010, 08:20 PM   #582
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Traci S. View Post
Hi. I don't know who posted that post by Sicily's Mom, I believe. We ( a group of SCS'ers) Have been praying for Sicily and her family for quite a while, several times a day. Is it ok, for me to copy it and post it there...so the other prayer warriors will know how she and the family are doing?

He IS Able,
Traci S.
I believe that Sicily's mom would be thrilled to know that more people are praying for her family and know how they are doing. I think I feel that Caterina and Betty would not hesitate to copy and post Kerry's post so others can also know how they are doing. In case anyone wants to post a thought or prayer for the Zeka's here is Sicily's carepage link: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sicilyevelynzeka

God Bless you all and thank you for keeping this family in your prayers!
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:38 PM   #583
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Sunday evening bump for Zeka family.
And I don't think anyone would mind copying the posts anywhere, the more prayers being said for them the better. I continue to pray for God's peace and comfort for them all and that Sicily be as comfortable physcially as possible.
Hugs and prayers.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:09 AM   #584
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It is with great sadness that I add this lastest psot from Kerry, but also with gladness Sicily is no longer in any kind of pain, please continue to pray for rest of family.

Heaven just welcomed a new Angel. Sicily Evelyn Zeka passed through the pearly gates at 10:45pm on Sunday, March 21, 2010, and ran into Jesus' arms. I had just posted an entry a little after 9:00pm and Patrick and I were settling into bed with Sicily right there between us. As soon as we realized she was getting close to letting go, I was able to hold her in the rocking chair my mom rocked me in as a baby, and as I rocked her, Patrick and I told her it was okay to go be with Jesus now. She went very peacefully as we prayed over and over for her to be able to do. We are so full of gratefulness that she is no longer in pain and the chains and bonds of cancer have been broken.

Kerry
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:18 AM   #585
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I missed this post from yesterday, it is out of order, I am sorry, but still thought some of you might still want to read it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 9:15 PM, CDT

Evening,
I continue to battle with keeping track of times during the day and what day of the week it happens to be right now. I think I’ve always been somewhat challenged in this area to begin with, but now it all runs together and seems blurry in places. I’m still trying very hard not to live out these days of physically watching my daughter die with my soul in the dark. I’m happy to report it is not there and never has been. I don’t want to flip through a calendar one day and see the late days in March of the year 2010 as a bad time or a period I avoid remembering anything about. Even though these may appear to be indeed unimaginable times, we are still surrounded by life. Patrick and I are making the best attempts we can to let life still march on around us and not by us. The parade may be quieter and a bit less colorful than the parades in other lives currently, but it is still ever present. We were blessed in such a huge way with incredible kids. Our older three kids are still finding reasons to smile and laugh and look forward to the future. We will be in need of a lot of time to heal soon and we will do whatever it takes, but heal we will! God promised us that He will get us through this, and we fully trust and believe in His promise. He never said we would heal fast or that we won’t even stumble at times on that new path of our journey. I just know that I will hold tight to His promise and look forward to our days ahead and thank Him for the new journeys He will lead us on!
Yesterday was incredibly difficult and overwhelmingly joyous at the same time. Friday night proved to be among the most challenging so far as we had trouble managing Sicily’s discomfort. Morphine can only address certain pain receptors and does little to control the pain Sicily experiences from her constipation, gas build up and all the other bowel issues relating to her belly distention and causing her to moan and cry out. It breaks our hearts!
We awoke to snowflakes the size of golf balls falling from white skies. Funny first day of spring. Guess I’m not the only one confused on my days right now…Mother Nature is a little off on her seasonal weather, as well! It did look a little strange seeing blades of green grass peer through a soft blanket of white fluff as Patrick and I drove to the funeral home. We had an appointment at one o’clock to discuss Sicily’s care. I honestly thought it would feel like just a formality to me and before we left our house I did not sense the emotional wave that would soon wash over me. We walked through the doors of Floral Haven and were led to a room to look at caskets. I love to shop but never thought I’d be shopping for a casket for my precious little girl. I expressed that it had to have pink somewhere on it. As the lady assisting us began to explain our options, those ever familiar tears burned my eyes so strong and streamed down my cheeks like rain drops on a glass window pane. I struggled trying to get the words out to express my desires, so instead Patrick and I just made eye contact so he would know my thoughts and he would say, “This is what we want.” We chose a beautiful white casket with pink lining. I couldn’t control my sobs as it became too easy all of a sudden to visualize Sicily laying in it. Her appearance is so frail now that it is scaring Isabella and Elias. Isabella has even expressed fears of living in this house after Sicily is gone because she is afraid she will haunt her. I’ve tried to explain that Sicily would not do that. If she appears to her in a dream, it is because she loves her and wants to be her guardian angel. Isabella said just this evening, as she came into our bedroom to say goodnight, that she’s never seen anything like Sicily before. I tried to explain in simple terms why she looks the way she does. I added that most people never have to witness something like this. Because of this, Patrick and I plan to show videos of Sicily with her siblings as often as we can so they will remember who she really was. This is not Sicily. Her spunk is still somewhere in that failing body, but it does not appear very often anymore.
Patrick and I spent about an hour at the funeral home completing pre-arrangements. I’m glad we went ahead and took care of a few details and were still able to come home and kiss our earthly angel on the forehead. The older three kids got to spend the afternoon with a friend at the movies and Aunt Bett and Aunt Val watched over Sicily in our brief absence.
Though the first half of the day was blue and gray in color and emotions, the second half was full of love and laughter. On Friday we finally got to hug and love our family members who came to visit us from Colorado. I have to briefly explain that this couple is actually a relative of a relative, but in our book, that makes them family. Their love for us and ours for them transcends the descriptions of family and they have been with us from the beginning of our journey. They have been some of our biggest cheerleaders and have been creative beyond belief for ways to rally behind our cause! Saturday night, despite the snowy conditions, they were able to eat dinner with us and we were so blessed with their company and companionship! I hated to see them leave but can’t wait to visit them one of these days! This relationship is such a huge God thing if ever there was one. Like so many of the relationships I’ve built over these past almost nineteen months. I refuse to forget to thank God for what He continues to give to us, His children.
Another quick blessing today that has touched me came in the delivery of a CD from a neighbor I have yet to meet. Patrick happens to be the one who has answered the door on the couple of occasions, but I am the one who is feeling the gift. The CD is from an artist named Kari Jobe and her sweet voice and music has been playing in my bedroom near Sicily non-stop the entire afternoon and evening. Every song is beautiful, but my favorite happens to be a song titled, “Beautiful,” and I listen to it over and over while I continue to gaze at my beautiful daughter.
Speaking of gazing, on a funny note, Corinthian spent time on our bed yesterday morning just watching Sicily as she rested. She fully opened her eyes from time to time to see if he was still there, and soon voiced her frustration after a certain period and said, “Stop staring at me…it’s rude!” Corinthian and I had to smile at each other…little sister is still the boss!
I will try to quiet my rambling mind for a spell so I can hopefully catch a few winks tonight. I don’t plan on sleeping much, but at least have to try. Older kids return to school tomorrow after enjoying spring break so we have to force ourselves into a bit of a routine again!

Love to you all!

Kerry
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:00 AM   #586
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We are still traveling but wanted to say how much I appreciate keeping Sicily's thread going - it means a great deal.

Reynold and I are discussing possibly making arrangements to fly out to Oklahoma for Sicily's services.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:01 AM   #587
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My heart is so broken -- fly, Angel Face, fly high.

Am so very grateful to the Lord for you and your wonderful family. You will forever be in my heart.

No eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, no mind has ever conceived what the Lord has for you, sweet Sicily, in His awesome heaven.

Will look forward to seeing you again in God's eternity where there is no pain, no sorrow, only joy unspeakable.

With much love....

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Old 03-22-2010, 06:51 AM   #588
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Hi Caterina, I have cried and cried, but I feel peace also that she is with Jesus now and not sick and not in pain. And continue to pray for rest of family, I can't imagine thier aching hearts.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:32 AM   #589
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I know that our hearts are heavy because we are left behind. I praise God that Sicily is no longer in pain. It is amazing how many lives have been touched by Sicily and her family. I will continue to pray for her family. I agree with you Betty. It is too hard to imagine the aching hearts that they must have.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:10 AM   #590
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I was so very saddened to read the latest posts. I know that she is with Jesus and laughing and happy and pain free. But for those left behind it is so very difficult. I am thankful the family is grounded in their faith with the Everlasting Father.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:37 PM   #591
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shelsmom View Post
Hi Caterina, I have cried and cried, but I feel peace also that she is with Jesus now and not sick and not in pain. And continue to pray for rest of family, I can't imagine thier aching hearts.


Betty, clearly tears are a release and I have done my share driving back home today. Sicily is now cancer free and as you said with Jesus full of love and joy unspeakable. It is very difficult for her family and those touched by her sweet precious life.

Thank you so very much for your prayers and for keeping the thread going while I was away. Please continue to pray for God's grace and mercy over her mom, Kerry, dad, Patrick, brothers, Corinthian and Elias and sister Isabella.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:47 PM   #592
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Here is the latest post and funeral arrangements. Reynold and I are trying to find a way to Oklahoma to attend.

Monday, March 22, 2010 9:45 PM, CDT

Hello,

We are approaching our first twenty-four hours without our little Pocketful of Sunshine. Just the sound of her name flowing from my mouth or bouncing off my ear drums can start a flood, but there have been many smiles and periods of laughter as well. The hole in my heart is deep and I don’t ever expect for it to be repaired, but the rest of my heart will grow stronger to absorb that missing section known as Sicily. I find such peace in closing my eyes and visualizing her happiness now…her freedom from pain…her total and complete healing!

I wanted to go ahead and share the plans we’ve made to celebrate our precious little angel’s life. She is in the care of Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. On Thursday, March 25th, viewing is scheduled between 11:00am to 9:00pm. That may seem like a long time for a viewing, but we just wanted to give everyone a chance to come see her. She will look so beautiful in her yellow and white Easter clothes. Behind her will be a pair of feathered angel wings and on her head a halo. A violet butterfly pin is pinned on her yellow sweater and a pink Hello Kitty necklace around her neck. In her hands she will hold a white porcelain Precious Moments cross. I know her spirit has already ascended to heaven, but I just want to do her earthly body justice. She was like a little Barbie doll to me and I loved to dress her up! All the nurses and staff at the clinic could vouch for me on that one!

My mind tends to really drift right now so I will attempt to continue to explain our plans. We hope to spend some time Thursday evening at the funeral home probably between 6:30 to 8:00. That is just a guestimate, but went ahead a paid for a whole day for the viewing because we felt it was important. The funeral will be at The Church of St. Benedict’s in Broken Arrow as well (Aspen and 101st) starting at 11:00 Friday morning. We’ve asked that the casket be opened for a short spell prior to the service. My guess is will be between about 10:00 to 10:40. Father Joe just asked that it be closed about twenty minutes prior to the service.

The Day Funeral Home in Wellington, Kansas will come pick Sicily up early that afternoon and transport her. There will be another brief viewing of our angel Saturday morning between 9:00 to 10:30 before the processional to the cemetery at 11:00 were graveside services will be held. At noon, a Celebration of Sicily’s Life will be held at Theurer’s Auction house in Wellington were we invite all to share in the joy, love and laughter that was Sicily. I don’t know how else to explain it other than to refer to it as sort of a reception. Dear friends and family are putting this together for us. We just wanted to have a place to hug and talk and laugh and cry with everyone who has supported and traveled this journey with us. So, to sum it up this is what it looks like:

Thursday, March 25th viewing from 11:00am to 9:00pm at Floral Haven

Friday, March 26th, funeral scheduled at 11:00am at The Church of St. Benedict’s with viewing before from 10:00am to 10:40am

Saturday, March 27th, viewing at Day Funeral Home in Wellington, KS from 9:00am to 10:30am – processional to Sumner Memorial Gardens at for graveside services at 11:00am

Celebration of Sicily’s Life at Theurer Auction at noon.

We are setting up three memorials and I will briefly explain each one.

We are starting the Sicily Evelyn Zeka Memorial Scholarship which will be awarded to a Wellington High School graduate each year who plans a career in the medical field. Sicily wanted to be a nurse when she grew up. She loved the nurses who cared for her so dearly at the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis. She also considered becoming a doctor but quickly realized that the nurses had the most fun…the doctor’s just went around and talked all the time (her words, not mine)! ; )

Second, is to the Pablove Foundation. For those who have followed our journey for a long time know our love for an awesome dude named Pablo who passed away last June from the exact rare form of cancer that Sicily had. We have bonded with this incredible family and they have the most amazing foundation set up in their son’s honor. They have the means and muster to put a dent into the need for research for anaplastic Wilm’s. We would be honored for donations in Sicily’s name to go to this foundation so we can save future lives. Right now, I feel like the diagnosis of anaplastic Wilm’s tumor is close to a death sentence. I don’t mean to scare anyone but this has been our personal observation. It’s incredibly hard to beat.

Last but by no means least, is our own work in progress, the Wilm’s Warriors. Our niece is obtaining a 501(c)3 status so we can start making a difference in the world of pediatric cancer as well. The group, Wilm’s Warriors, can be found on Facebook. We are working to build awareness of pediatric cancer and the need for funds to research this heartbreaking disease. If Sicily were an adult, she would still be in the fight, but because she is a child, options were limited and our fight ended before we were even considering giving up! This will be part of her legacy, like the scholarship fund, as well, and it is part of our life’s mission! So, I will recap again:

Sicily Evelyn Zeka Memorial Scholarship Fund in Wellington, Kansas

Pablove Foundation – www.pablove.org

Wilm’s Warriors – group mission can be found and joined on Facebook

I will close for now but still want to journal about the events of Sunday, March 21st. It was the most bitter sweet day of our lives and I just feel the need to share how beautiful and peaceful it was. I don’t know when I will get it all out into words. I’m feeling physically and emotionally drained right now so it’s probably not the best time so I will tackle it soon. I need to document it so I don’t forget one second of it as it was so amazing how God took her home!

Love to you all!

Kerry
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:36 PM   #593
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Latest post from Kerry -- it is a bit long so had to post in two parts.

Part I

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 10:54 AM, CDT


Good morning,

This is a long post and a doosy so just be prepared! Last night turned out to be the first un-interrupted night of sleep Patrick and I have had in a long time. I stayed up until past 10:45 reading guestbook entries. I needed to see the numbers on the clock again. I have peace, but I am still searching for more. I’m finding that peace is one of those things we can never quite get enough of! If we have a little we seem to only want more. Like my faith, it may be a daily quest, but that’s okay. I will continue to seek it.

For my own personal reasons I need to document the events of Sunday. I just don’t want to forget one second of my little girl’s last day on earth. I realized how incredible it was that God gave us an almost complete day.

We continued to struggle with getting Sicily’s discomfort under control. I use the word discomfort, because she rarely verbally elevated her cries of pain, though she did from time to time. She just moaned and whimpered a lot and scowled when she could not find relief. Due to her very high tolerance of pain, she seemed to absorb so much more than what even an average adult could handle. Still, as her parents, it was our job to protect her and spare her from even the smallest discomfort. We tried.

The morning started out pretty much the same as all the mornings of the past week basically had. Sicily would tell us when she needed a change of location and scenery which alternated between our bed and the living room couch. A “Max & Ruby” DVD followed every where she went. It was a marathon of about ten episodes that seemed to provide comfort to her ears. She only occasionally watched but if someone tried to turn it off she would pop open her eyes and snap, “I’m listening to that!” We learned quickly that this was something that was calming her and we were more than happy to play it continuously.

I love Max and Ruby (a cartoon found on the Nickelodeon channel) and how sweet their sibling relationship is. When you watch an episode it teaches how to make the most of a situation. Ruby always has ideas and plans but her little brother Max always seems to interfere and they never turn out the way Ruby intended, but she learns to adapt and finds that sometimes, because of Max’s involvement, thing are even better. Like I said, I love this show! ; )

Sicily has not wanted to be held for some time and that was very hard on us. We just wanted to hold and snuggle with her but with her ever increasing physical changes, it was just too uncomfortable for her. Out of the blue on Sunday afternoon, she asked for daddy to hold her. Patrick and I looked at each other and immediately scrambled to make it work. Patrick sat down in a soft chair next to the couch and I covered him with several of Sicily’s blankets as to hopefully cushion her the best we could. We got her situated on his lap but she only stayed there for a very short spell, but in hind sight we realized this was the first of many of Sicily’s intentional last acts. Though she may not truly have known herself what was going to occur, God was executing and conducting each and every movement of this concert.

I had decided to refrain from taking pictures of Sicily once her appearance became so gaunt. I did not want to have to remember her like this, but then it struck me…a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, maybe it would be worth a thousand votes or a thousand different set of eyes seeing how important the need for research is and the funds to support it; research that may possibly save another child down the road from this turmoil. I took heart wrenching photos of my dying daughter. They are not grotesque. I did my best to maintain her dignity. I photographed her with her siblings and Patrick and I are both with her, as well. Keep in mind, I had no idea that she would truly be gone by the end of the day. I even thought about waiting until Monday to take some, but Patrick insisted that I might as well get it all out of the way. The pictures are on a separate memory card that may never see the light of day or fall on the eyes of others, yet in my heart I felt driven to do this so that if needed, Sicily can have an impact even after her days on earth had faded.

Sicily was not telling us anymore when she needed to use the bathroom, basically because she really couldn’t. We would get her up from time to time and carry her to the bathroom just to give her a chance. Most times she would have Patrick carry her part way and then she would insist on trying to walk, with continued support. She was always so independent and determined. I had started putting her in some left over pull-ups we still had around from her potty training days. I told her over and over that she could use them and not have to get up to go to the bathroom if she did not want to.

Sunday early evening she all of sudden told us she needed to go use the bathroom. Once again we were a little dumb struck and scrambled to help her with her request. Before we reached the bathroom I realized she had already used the pull-up but she continued onto the bathroom anyway. One thing that haunts me now is she was apologizing to me for leaking on the bathroom floor…”I’m sorry mommy!” I told her over and over that it was okay. Why did she have to apologize for that? It stabs at my heart! It’s going to take me awhile to get through this posting as I have to stop and compose myself and as many of you know it is difficult to type through tears. I reserve the right to blame all of my misspelled words and grammatical errors on that!

When we had Sicily in the bathroom, a wave of fear washed over us as all of sudden her head went backwards and I could see her chest and it did not look like she was breathing or her heart was pumping. She quickly came back to but that was when I first realized things might be heading downhill faster than we’d thought would happen. Patrick carried her back to bed and for the first time in a long time she seemed relaxed and comfortable. We continued her on a schedule of morphine which made her drowsy and disconnected. She would occasionally talk but most things did not make sense. One time she said, “Where are we going?” Another time she said, “I want out!” That should have told us what would soon happen, but I was not ready the let my mind think about the inevitable and surely was not going to let my heart go there.


I need to back up a few weeks to when the terminal news sunk in.. I’m such a planner. I stood one day in my kitchen that is open to our living room and wondered if I had the opportunity to plan any of this out, what is one thing I would want to do? In the corner of our living room is an old rocking chair that my Grandma Parker bought my parents at a garage sale when my oldest sister, Christy, was born. I am the baby of four and all four of us children were rocked in that old chair. I was fortunate enough to have this old chair that my mom had re-upholstered many times handed down to me. We moved it several times and it sat in our garage for many years. Finally, a few years ago I had it re-upholstered and it became a beautiful addition to our home. My eyes fell on that chair when I was thinking about my “one thing” and I realized that more than anything I wanted to be able to rock Sicily and hold her in that chair when she took her last breath. No matter where we go, that chair will always be with us. Sunday evening Patrick offered to bring that rocking chair into our bedroom, just in case. I first said, “Not yet…we probably won’t need it.” But then we just decided to do it anyway. Again, another one of those decisions we made that only make sense in hind sight.

Sicily cried out once that she wanted to take a shower. Since her port was accessed last Thursday, we weren’t able to let her, which broke our hearts. Sicily has always loved water. Before Thursday she was taking six, seven, eight showers a day and night to help with her discomfort. She loved her aunt and uncle’s swimming pools and playing with the water hose in the backyard. She didn’t necessarily need to always be in the water, she just loved being around it. She got to dip her toes and finally her whole body in the waters of the Gulf off the Florida panhandle last summer when we went to The Lighthouse Family Retreat…probably one of the highlights of her life! She talked about it all the time. Water was her sanctuary. I like to think maybe she felt closer to God when she was in, near, or around water. She even loved to drink it, preferring it over most everything else. We used to tell her how much her remaining two thirds of a kidney appreciated that she liked to drink water! This kind of sets the stage at how the end of the day and the end of her life came about.


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Old 03-23-2010, 01:38 PM   #594
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PART II
Tuesday, March 23, 2010


About 10:30pm Patrick and I began to settle into bed on either side of our beautiful precious baby girl. We said our “goodnights” and our “I love you’s” and turned off the lamps on either sides of our bed. The dark night was quite except for the humming of the humidifier. All of a sudden, we heard what sounded like hiccups coming from Sicily. I rolled over and turned on my lamp as Patrick I leaned over her to see what was going on. It did appear that she was having hiccups. She then spoke and said, “I want water.” We kept a yellow sponge-bob cup with a green sippy cup lid full of water on Patrick’s side on the nightstand. We gently propped Sicily up by pushing one of the pillows she was laying on from underneath her as to not hurt her back or pull on her arms. Patrick handed her the cup of water and she took it with both hands. She pulled two long drawls of water and Patrick took the cup and set it back aside. I immediately heard a sound I’ve never heard before. It sounded like the water went directly to her lungs and acted like she wanted to cough but did not have the energy to do so. We kept her sitting straight up as she started to attempt to take deep breathes but all we could her was the sound of the water. Patrick and I frantically looked at each other and realized this was it. I jumped out of bed and ran around to sit in the rocking chair. Patrick swooped Sicily up in his arms and placed her in my lap. She did not seem panicked as Patrick I felt we were. I reached over and hit "play" on the stereo sitting near by and my new Kari Jobe CD began to play. Sicily was truly relaxed and was just letting this all happen.

Patrick’s first response was to tell her to “fight it to the end” as she has been a fighter her whole life. I said, “She doesn’t need to fight anymore…we need to tell her to let go!” Even in the end, daddy was not ready to stop fighting. Not that I was, but I wanted Sicily to be free from this horrible disease. I was ready for her to be cancer free once and for all! I started to rock her and we told her it was okay to go. I said, “Look…do you see Jesus? He’s waiting for you. Run to him. He wants you to be with him and Esther and Pablo and Grandpa. They are all waiting for you. Go ring the doorbell of the pearly gates and they will let you in. Heaven has a place for you…it’s okay to do.” I said things like this over and over and told her we loved her and she would be our angel forever.

Patrick ran upstairs and woke up Sicily’s siblings so they could say goodbye. As her relaxed body rested in my arms, her breathing slowed until she took about a couple of final breaths over a minute’s time. Patrick and I had read a little booklet that Hospice had provided that shared some of the signs that can be recognized when the final days, hours and minutes arrive. The final description described that the final breath resembled that of a fish out of water. How appropriate was that? Sicily decided how she wanted to go and it involved water, and her last breathes did indeed remind me of that. Her passing in my arms was absolutely beautiful.

I’m reminded of Sally Field’s character in the movie, “Steel Magnolias,” were she said something like, “I was there when that beautiful creature came into my life and I was there when she left it!” I got to experience that. It was nothing short of spiritual and beautiful and peaceful. I sat and held her a bit longer and then Patrick took a turn. Her siblings all kissed her goodbye and the older two went back up to bed. Elias couldn’t. He couldn’t stop looking at her and crying. I knew we would not be able to send him to school. He needed to stay with us and he needed to know everything that was going to happen.

Patrick’s sister, Teresa, and brother, Larry, were here, as well, and they called the Hospice nurse who came out to take care of contacting the funeral home. We eventually laid Sicily back on our bed and I proceeded to paint her fingernails hot pink and her toenails “KU Blue”…the last color she had picked out to have them painted. I had just recently painted them and a couple hours after she proceeded to pick the polish off. Typical Sicily! I couldn’t stand to just leave her on the bed alone, so I picker her back up and sat back down in the chair and rocked her one last time. I was able to rock her for a long time as it was going to take the funeral home an hour and a half to come.

Elias stayed up with us and we talked and cried and rejoiced that Sicily was in heaven with Jesus. When the funeral home came to pick her up, we wrapped her in her favorite Hello Kitty blanket and a recently received prayer blanket from family of family in NY. We asked that the funeral home not bring in the gurney but that we would carry her out. The doorbell rang and Patrick took Sicily from my arms for the very last time and Elias and I followed them outside to the waiting funeral vehicle. Daddy placed his baby girl on the gurney. The two gentlemen from the funeral home gently covered the gurney with a blue blanked and fastened two belts around her. The gently slid her into the vehicles and closed the doors. We stood there for a moment and then went back inside to retreat from the cold night air and the even colder feelings in our hearts.

She was gone. Never again would we hear her laughter echoing through our house. Never again would she ask for a piece of gum or eat “faffles” (waffles) for breakfast every morning. Never again would she smile for the camera or make all her wonderful funny faces. But we have comfort in the literally thousands of photos we’ve taken and the hours of home video footage, as well. I thank God we are the kind of parents that go a little “over board!” There was a reason!

By 2:30 in the morning, we decided to try to get a little sleep. Elias curled up in our bed in the exact same spot his little sister had vacated just hours before. I can’t say any of us slept very well. I woke up several times to the sound of Elias’ sobs. Corinthian and Isabella went on to school as they both said they wanted to. We kept Elias home as he was visibly struggling the most right now. But I can already see God’s hand working in his life. Elias commented on how he wants to be at church more and he’s jealous now that Sicily is in heaven…he wants to go someday. I have to remind him that it is not his time and God will come get him when it is. Until then he is one of the luckiest kids around having the most amazing angel to watch over him. That makes him smile.

There is so much more I could write but we still have some details to work out for the funeral so I’m going to have to find a way to close this never ending story. One last thought that has overwhelmed me (in a very good way) these past couple of days is how blown away I am for what Sicily has done for me. She did many things for me, as well as others, but my favorite was the gift of friendships she blessed me with for life. I look back on so many of my friendships that I’ve developed over the years and so many of them bloomed through the seeds my kids planted. But really none more so than what was grown these past nineteen months all because of a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer. She did an amazing job at finding just the right people to keep us uplifted and help us on the next leg of this journey. Thank you, sweetheart! I promise you will never be forgotten. Your memory and legacy will grow even larger than your spunky personality was in life…I promise. Your mommy and daddy and sister and brothers love you “all the way to heaven” (Sicily used to say, “I love you all the way!”) and we’ll never stop. PS – Elias wants you to say “hi” for him to Michael Jackson if you see him and do the same to Elvis and Pavarotti for mommy!
; )

All our love to each and every one of you!

Kerry

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Old 03-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #595
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Reynold and I will be leaving very early tomorrow morning to board a plane from BWI to OK for Sicily's celebration of life.

We will be sure to let Kerry, Patrick, Corinthian, Isabella and Elias of your prayers and love.

Thank you so much.
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Old 03-24-2010, 04:56 AM   #596
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Thanks Caterina, yes, please let them know about the SCS family that has prayed and prayed and continues to pray for them. Safe travels for you.
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:08 PM   #597
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010 10:23 AM, CDT

Good morning,

Nights are still very hard but the much needed sleep is providing the much desired presence of peace. Before my head hits the pillow, I am asking Sicily to please visit me in my dreams. I want so desperately to dream about her, but I know that may take some time. I still wake in the morning and think I hear her calling, “Mom!”

I cried this morning as I missed her morning visits of climbing up in our bed, crawling across and lying right next to me with her arm thrown over my side. She would hum a little sigh and say, “My mommy!” My immediate response would be, “My Sicily!”

I sat last night and tried to think of as many “Sicily-isms” as I could and write them down so we will never forget them. One of my favorites was before she went to bed at night, she would say, “See you in to-morning.” That was her combination of tomorrow and morning. She found a way to not waste her words! The one that means the most to Patrick was when she would ask him if he had to go to work the next day. When he would reply, “Yes,” her response was, “Dawn it!” I used to tell her not to cuss! Of course, the most haunting and telling was when she used to tell us she “loved us all the way to heaven!” She started saying that last year after her friend, Esther, passed away. I would feel it in my gut as I started to think that maybe she already knew something…she knew something we didn’t or something we just didn’t want to acknowledge or ponder. Today, it is truly bittersweet as she was doing what she needed to do to prepare us. She was letting us know what she was going to do. She planned to love us all the way to heaven and I believe she did!

Yesterday, after I clicked the “save” button on my journal entry after reading and re-reading it to make sure I had included everything I could remember, more things came to me. So please bear with me as I still need to document as much as I can for my own personal needs.

Sunday afternoon as Sicily lay on the couch in a semi-comfortable state, I knelt down beside her and placed my hands on her swollen tummy and prayed with every ounce of my soul that I could fire up. I begged God to grant Sicily a miracle. I did not ask for specifics or put limitations on my requests…that would be telling God how to do His job and I don’t want His job. I just couldn’t stand to watch her suffer the way she was. Patrick took the older three kids to evening mass and said he did the same thing…prayed for a miracle.

In our minds, miracles are supposed to be like an eleventh hour reprieve. God’s definition of “miracle” differs from ours. He never gave us the Webster’s definition that explains it as an event that seems to be scientifically unexplainable or a supernatural occurrence. Miracles are hidden and often times shrouded under circumstances that make them hard to see, but they are there. It doesn’t necessarily take a trained eye to see them, only an open mind and most importantly, an open heart. My mind was as open as it could have possibly been on Sunday. Like I had mentioned before, a neighbor delivered a gift in the form of a music CD by Kari Jobe. There was more to it as the CD had been signed and autographed by Kari herself. It read, “Sicily, be healed in the name of Jesus.” And guess what? “She was!” God healed her. Not in the traditional mankind idea of healing, but in total and complete healing.

I realized a long time ago that sometimes the only way to heal against the beast of cancer is for God to take the child or person home. I came to this conclusion in September of 2008, a month after Sicily was initially diagnosed when I fell in love with Cole Ruotsala and was devastated by his passing. This was my first experience since her diagnosis that told me that this beast of cancer really does take children’s lives. For my own survival and need for comfort, I decided that the only way God could truly heal this precious little boy whose body was ravaged by this disease was to take him home. Cole won…cancer lost. Same occurrence was repeated several times over the past nineteen months while we were on this journey until Sicily’s turn for healing came on Sunday. Our miracle request was granted.

I was broken hearted on many occasions having to watch (or more precisely read about) other parents who refused to “see” the miracle and kept their minds closed and ultimately their personal relationship with God was challenged, altered and many times destroyed. I truly struggled with the idea that they were mad at God…the One who stopped their child from suffering…the One who their child was now with. I just could not wrap my mind around it.

For us, personally, our experience just makes us want to love and serve God that much more. We have to secure our spot in heaven so we can be reunited with Sicily one day. As a disclaimer…we are by no means perfect…AT ALL! We are full of flaws but we try our best to acknowledge them and ask God to forgive us when we mess up or fail. That is what He asks of us. He created us to be imperfect for a reason. There is a difference between messing up “unintentionally” and being “malicious!” If a person chooses to live their life filled with corrupted and malicious behaviors then, yes, they are not going to be in God’s good graces. Once again, all they have to do is ask for forgiveness and it shall be granted. Keep in mind, God’s laws are not mankind’s laws. He, and only He, has the true power to pardon and forgive. He sets the example for the rest of us to learn to forgive one another and ourselves! Mankind’s laws still apply, as well, or it would be a scary society to try to live in! Okay…this journal entry just went way beyond what I thought I was going to sit down and write…God took over as He has done on many occasions. My fingers just start to type and I honestly am amazed myself with the message He is need of sending! I think He’s done so I will get back to what I “thought” I’d be writing about! ; )

I wanted to say one more thing about my Kari Jobe CD. This is my “mostest favoritest” (a Sicily-ism) compilation of music my ears have ever been blessed to hear! These were the sweet sounds that Sicily heard as her angel wings were being fastened onto her back before she finally took flight. This music speaks to me like no other I’ve ever heard in my life. My favorite is still the song titled, “Beautiful.” I feel like it was written for my soul! I will probably wear this CD out as I play it over and over and most likely will for days, weeks and months to come. It brings me such comfort and peace and makes me feel close to Sicily and to God! For those who know me know that I am a true music lover…I call myself a “music appreciator” as I love ALL kinds. I can relate to my kids as I download current hits on itunes and we listen to them together. I love songs from the 1940’s and 50’s which bonds be to my parents. I love country and gospel and opera and rock. Music is the icing on my cake of life. It makes it that much sweeter, so to have music that makes me think of my daughter and her beautiful and peaceful launch into heaven…it is so awesome!

I will wrap this up soon. I need to share a couple more things concerning our memorial requests and a personal funeral request. I will start with the latter and ask that bright colors be worn to all of Sicily’s services…pink, yellow, purple, blue, green…colors of the season of Spring that we are welcoming and colors of the rainbow, something Sicily was in awe of. Wear black, by all means, if that is all you have in your closet or you feel the need to look slender at her funeral (that is a joke!). ; )

In regards to those who would honor Sicily by donating to the Pablove Foundation, I have a little more info on what can be done. A hard copy check can be mailed to the following address and “In Honor of Sicily Zeka” can be written in the memo…The Pablove Foundation, 3801 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026. Or a donation can be made online at www.pablove.org via paypal. We ask that in the section titled “special notes” that “In Honor of Sicily Zeka” be written so that these funds are earmarked specifically for pediatric cancer research (focusing on anaplastic Wilm’s). If neither one of these will work for you, you can definitely leave the memorial with either Floral Haven Funeral Home in Broken Arrow, OK or Day Funeral Home in Wellington, KS and we will take care of it for you! Sicily’s legacy is just starting and it really feels amazing!

I better pull my fingers away from this keyboard before my carpal tunnel fully takes over and I lose my ability to type (hasn’t happened yet, but I’m pushing it!).

Love to you all!

Kerry
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:12 PM   #598
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For those of you who have been following this thread, just wanted to let you know Reynold and I have arrived in Oklahoma. We will be going to the viewing tomorrow, followed by the funeral service on Friday.

Thank you again for your love, kind words and prayers.
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Old 03-24-2010, 01:32 PM   #599
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caterinafmig View Post
For those of you who have been following this thread, just wanted to let you know Reynold and I have arrived in Oklahoma. We will be going to the viewing tomorrow, followed by the funeral service on Friday.
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Thank you again for your love, kind words and prayers.

will you give big hung from scs sad but at same time happy hotwheels knowing i will meet Sicily pocket full sunshine in Heaven one day
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:55 AM   #600
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I can only imagaine the huge number of people that will be a part of Sicily's celebration of life, she touched so many without even knowing it. I am still praying for peace and comfort from God for her siblings and parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles, for everyone who loved her and will miss her.
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