Life deals us with a lot of challenges which cause us to take detours and make changes in our lives. Last Fall, my detour happened. I was in the middle of planning my annual Victorian Christmas Open House at my antique store, Memories Past and Present. I had mailed all the invitations, baked all the cookies, purchased all the cider, had a dozen Christmas trees decorated to perfection, selected the items for door prizes, and on and on. I was anticipating a crowd as usual and having a lot of fun. Then it happened.......the phone rang and it was my daughter, Amber, on the line.....my little grandaughter, Sadie, was ill and had been taken to the emergency room. Everything came to a screeching halt and that's where the detour occurred. My life forever changed in the blink of an eye.
I immediately cancelled everything and took off to see how I could help out and to look after my little grandson while everyone else was at the hospital watching over our little one. Practically by the time I got there, they released her from the hospital saying that they thought it was meningitis and that she had a miracle recovery. We had the most wonderful weekend - we played, and laughed, and read books - and thought everything was OK. But as it turned out, everything was not OK and I would live to treasure this one very special weekend for the rest of my life.
By Wednesday, Sadie was back in the hospital and by Friday we knew the diagnosis, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a very rare and aggressive cancer which presented itself in her spinal fluid and brain - this was not a good thing and would take months to treat and a bone marrow transplant to have any hope of saving our baby.
We spent the next 6 weeks hovering over our baby and praying that she would survive. Things quickly went from bad to worse, and on December 21, 2012, we lost our beautiful Sadie Caroline. None of us could imagine that this could happen....even breathing was difficult as we had to say good-bye.
During this time our faith has been strong, and we know that Sadie is perfect again and playing with the other children up in heaven. But here on earth, we are left with trying to cope with the loss. After losing Sadie, I spent a lot of time on the internet looking around at various things to do with my business as I had just about decided to add a yarn shop in with my antique business. In researching this, I happened upon a web site and .......there it was, something I could do in Sadie's memory that would hopefully help me to move forward in a positive way.
I have come to believe that when you have troubles, they become less of a burden if you focus outside of yourself, and focus on others. Having been through this with Sadie, and experiencing all the outreach of our friends and family, it has made me more aware of the needs of others and the fact that EVERYONE is carrying some kind of troubles and burden with them. If we give love and caring to others, it diminishes our own pain.
In keeping with the need to give to others, I have initiated a group which will be knitting and crocheting chemo hats for babies, children and adults who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Our little Sadie loved to wear hats that her Great Grandmother knitted for her, so it was fitting that this be my new purpose in life.
I found out about the Crochet for Cancer charity which was started by a daughter and her Mother when she was undergoing cancer treatment as a way to give and pass the time during chemo treatments. Their web site is www.crochetforcancer.com and has resources for those wishing to make hats for this purpose. There are several chapters around the USA and Canada, and I decided to form a chapter here in Kentucky called the Sadie Sunshine Chapter in memory of our sweet Sadie and her always sunshine smile. Details can be found on our facebook page www.facebook.com/sadiesunshinechapter .
I do believe that this has made me new again, although my heart is broken and I have dings, cracks, and chips that weren't there before, like a well used antique, I still have a lot to offer and with a little sprucing up and repairs and a lot of love, I can have a new, useful life. Although I would have much preferred to be able to be Sadie's Mammaw and love and nurture her all my life, and I won't ever be the same and I may not be used for the same purpose, but I can still be useful and even perhaps in a new way.
The old saying that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, has a real meaning for me now. My purpose is to reach out to others, listen, learn, care, give, hug, pray, encourage and do whatever I can to make others more able to cope with their problems. I still have problems, but my focus will remain outward. Won't you join me and start thinking about people around you and their needs and wants and dreams and problems, and help me to spread some Sadie sunshine and see what we can do to make this world a better, more caring place in which to live.