Shared by a friend , Wendy . Her remembrance of how Teresa touched her life!
Life Lessons from a Princess
This is a story I want to share. It is a true story that I hope inspires you as much as it has me. You might want some tissues nearby.
Many people think they need to go to college and study under a professor to learn something really important. Yes, this might be true and I have learned a lot from my professors throughout the years. The most valuable lesson I just happened to learn from a six year old. Yes, she was only six and she lived states away from me…but she taught me something about life that I have never had anyone teach me. Here is her story.
Little Teresa was born on December 25, 2006 near Beijing, China. Her name was Fang Fang. She was abandoned when she was about 5 months old. I tell you this because this probably means her birth parents did want to keep her but just could not because of her health and the laws of the country. They placed her in a safe place so she would be found. This girl was loved. Fang Fang was born with complex congenital heart issues. She was in an orphanage where they did take care of her well and I am sure she was loved. At the age of 3, little Fang Fang started asking for a family. I have been to an orphanage in China and I cannot fathom the feelings a child goes through when they see their friends’ parents come but no parent has come for them. These children are not able to call out for their mommy and daddy in the middle of the night because they don’t have one. Fang Fang wanted one. A family from the states heard about her and her dire medical condition. They knew that their life was very full already as they had four biological children and four adopted children from China. They agreed to adopt her in order to give her a family. They were not even sure she would make it home to the states due to her illness. Well, she made it home…she thrived at home. She was given the name Teresa. She embraced her family and loved life. Teresa loved being a princess and loved any princess movie, loved dressing up as a princess and her fashion trend was a tiara. The sad news was the medical teams in the states said she needed both a new heart and new lungs. She was not expected to live through such a complex surgery. She was diagnosed as being terminal. Well, a few years later, she was still alive and loving life and still being a princess every day, all day long. Her lungs showed improvement so she was put on the transplant list for a new heart. She was excited to be getting a new heart and she spoke of getting her ears pierced after she got her heart. In June, a heart was made available to her. Now, we know what has to happen for a heart to be made available. Teresa’s family understood this and did not take this for granted. They were very concerned about the family of the child who died so Teresa could get her heart. Teresa went into the operating room and told the nurse, prior to being put to sleep, “Tell my mommy and daddy I love them more.” Oh my, how does a six year old have more concern for her mommy and daddy when she is going in to have surgery? Wow. Teresa got her new heart. She did ok for a while and for the first time, her toes were pink. Several hours later, her new heart stopped and she needed CPR and ultimately was placed on ECMO. Her vessels were too small for the new heart’s vessels and she would need surgery to correct this. While waiting for surgery, the ECMO machine broke and she began to bleed out. She survived this and required blood transfusions. A couple days later, she had surgery to correct the vessels but her heart still was not working. She was diagnosed as her body rejecting the new heart. The only thing the doctors could do was take her back to surgery to put a Berlin heart in and hope for another heart to be available that would be a better match. During all of this, Teresa would wake up, sign for water, try to sing and want the “tubes out of her.” This princess never gave up. Throughout these long days in the hospital, Teresa kept her tiara on and she remained a princess. On Monday, July 1, the medical team took her back into surgery. On her way to the OR, she gave her family the thumbs up. The medical team did everything they could for Teresa but the Berlin heart did not work for Teresa and the wonderful medical team, so loving, they did not want her to die without her family, wheeled her out of the OR and into her family’s waiting arms where she took her last breath.
Many children as well as adults die every day. What made this girl so special? This little girl had such an amazing spirit. She had an old soul and she did a lot of teaching. She knew the meaning of love, deeper than any person I have ever met. She was always smiling for the camera…almost as if she wanted to preserve her pictures because she knew she was not long for this earth. A face book page was set up for her and she attracted over 5000 people from literally all over the world. She was on news shows and followed by the world. Google her name and many sites come up related to her. What six year old child attracts this much attention? Teresa does. Teresa does because she taught the world about family and love and life. Despite being so sick, Teresa did everything she could to keep up with her siblings. She even danced, just recently, at her dance recital without her oxygen or NG. She willed herself to be able to lead as normal of a life as she could despite her medical condition.What have I learned from her? I learned that life truly is to be lived. So often, I would rationalize that I would relax or do something fun, soon….after the work is done, the house is cleaned and bills are written out. Life does not wait for us, instead, it keeps moving on, time keeps ticking away and we better hop on the train of life before it is too late. Teresa taught me this. She also taught me to fight for what I want. Go for it and never look back. When Teresa met her parents, she gave them a hug and called them Mama and Baba. She never looked back at her life before them but kept moving forward. Teresa saw the beauty in life as innocent children do…she taught me to see the beauty in life as well. Teresa gave me many new friends along the way. Thank you, Teresa, for teaching me about life. You will be missed a lot. Your picture is on my desk with a tiara in honor of you. I won’t forget your lessons. They are etched on my heart
Thank you Wendy for sharing with us. WE miss Teresa dearly!!!!