Life has changed drastically for our family. We once again are trying to find our" new "normal.
But how do you find a new normal when the one you lost was your normal?
Teresa's funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life. Thank you to our amazing Catonsville community , friends , family, church and friends around the world for all of your prayers , love and support.
The outpouring of love for Teresa has been amazing. The stories of how deeply she changed so many lives is awe inspiring. I know I keep saying this but , only by the power of God could one little orphan girl change so many lives around the world. Ed and I take no credit . It was all God, we were just doing what God asked us to do. He shared Teresa with us for almost three years , now he has asked us to share her with the world forever, and this meant HE had to call her home.
It would have been so easy for God to heal Teresa at any time. But through the last two weeks of her suffering life on this earth HE was able to change so many lives around the world.
Right after Teresa received her new heart from her "Heart Hero", she started to have difficulty. First the right ventricle was struggling, then the left atrium, cardiac arrest, CPR, ECMO for 12 days, ECMO cannula cracking, two more open heart surgeries, Heart cath., on and off ECMO, bladder infection, phlebitis, Kidney failure, Liver failure, lung failure... and she kept on FIGHTING to LIVE! She would awaken from being heavily sedated and communicate with us through nodding her head and squeezing our hand. She would give me the thumbs up when I would talk to her about going to see the Disney Princesses. She would start to cry when I talked about Gemma or home. This broke our hearts.
For two weeks Ed and I did not leave her side. We talked to her about happy times and how much her family loved her. We played her princess songs on the ipad for her to listen too. Over and over a song kept coming on that was not a princess song. At first I thought this was nice but then I realized that she was waking up each time this particular song was on. Almost as if to say " Hey , what happened to the princess songs". But now I can see the meaning of it. The song was " You raise me Up". It was as if God was sending us a sign and Teresa was acknowledging it.
For two weeks the similarity of Christ suffering on the cross and Teresa suffering in the hospital bed was uncanny. She bled from her eyes, nose , mouth, and heart almost continuously. She would sign for a drink. We would soak a little pink sponge in water and hold it in her mouth to try and quench her unending thirst.
As I sat for two weeks holding her hand , listening to You raise me Up and staring at the crucifix next to Teresa's head all I could think about was our Blessed Mother watching Jesus suffer on the cross.
We finally had to tell her it was O.K to rest and to ride her princess bike into Jesus' arms.
Never in my life did I think I would have the strength to hold my child as she died and whisper the words "run to Jesus, HE loves you so much". At that moment God gave me the most incredible gift. I was not there when she took her first breath but HE let me be there to hold her as she took her last breath.
We held her for hours. I did not want to forget one thing about her. We bathed her and were able to kiss her sweet face for the first time in two weeks with out any tubes. I just could not leave her laying there all alone and walk away. And once again I was reminded of Our Blessed Mother Mary and how she felt holding Jesus lifeless body.
The pain does not get any better as the days go on , it only becomes different. You never get over the hole that is left in your heart. The magic of Teresa has left our home.
Everyone is coping differently .
In Teresa's memory we would like to help other children have their own families so that EVERY orphan child will know the love of a family ! We also would like to establish Mission trips to China by this country's best cardiac surgeons and cardiac doctors so other orphans will be given the life saving cardiac surgery needed right after birth to save their lives.
How we will do this is up to God . Just like the last three years of our life , God is in control and will lead us on this new journey to help more orphans.
With God all things are possible.
"I Love you More"