Thursday, August 21, 2008

Peace Comes When I Accept What I Can Not Change

Nearly 12 years ago my wife and I discovered through an ultrasound that the daughter we were expecting had a problem with a valve in her heart. The valve did not close all the way and it made it so that her blood didn't pump effectively. She was fine as long as she was inside her mother, but we knew that soon after she was born we would have to take some sort of action to save her life.

We didn't know what we were going to have to do to save our daughter. We didn't know how severe our daughter's problem was. There was no way to know until after she was born.

There were priesthood blessings. I gave my wife Kathleen more than one blessing. I blessed our daughter Cheyenne through Kathleen. Every time I gave a blessing I knew that everything was going to be okay but I could not ever say the words that I wanted to say in the blessing. I had wanted to say that the doctors would recognize what needed to be done. I wanted to say that the doctors would be directed by God's hand and be able to fix the problem with Cheyenne's heart and that she will live and grow and have a long and happy life. I couldn't add that to the blessings. I wanted to. I was told not to. The only thing I could say was that it would be okay... I could say that Heavenly Father knows and loves Kathleen, I could say that Heavenly Father knows and loves Cheyenne and has important things for her to do. I listened closely to other blessings that were given to Kathleen by her dad. Similar things were said. Never was said the words that I wanted to hear.

As the delivery day got closer the apprehension got worse. We did not know what was going to happen and that was the worst thing. The not knowing was devastating to our morale.

When Cheyenne was born the apprehension was not over, it got worse. The first thing was that the doctors had to determine what the options were for a treatment plan. We were given three options. We could have them operate and try to fix the valve.  We could keep Cheyenne at the hospital and let her die. We could take Cheyenne home and let her die. We had no idea how long it would take for her to die, but it was almost
a guarantee that she would die if we did nothing. If we had her operated on, that was
probably the only way she could have a chance. Knowing these options did not bring peace.

We decided to have Cheyenne operated on. Deciding this did not bring us peace. We still did not know what the outcome of the operation would be.

We gave Cheyenne a priesthood blessing... Again I was not allowed to say that she would heal. I was able to say that everything would be okay. I was able to say that Heavenly Father knows the desires of our hearts and he did know what would be for our benefit. I was able to say that the best thing for us would happen. This did not bring us peace.

We had to wait for Cheyenne to be healthy enough for the operation. In the Pediatric ICU she had been losing strength. She finally rallied and she strengthened and she would be operated on the next morning. That night in prayer, I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father. The answer came to me to accept the inevitable. I prayed that if Cheyenne was here on Earth only to get a body, that she would be taken soon so that she would not have to continue living here in pain.  This prayer was my outward expression of accepting what was to be. It was my acceptance of the situation right then and my inability to change it.

 

This brought peace.

 

I was at peace throughout Cheyenne's operation the next morning. I was at peace when the came and told us that she had died on the operating table. I was at peace throughout the funeral.

The only time I did not feel at peace after I had decided to accept the inevitable was when I realized that my wife was not at peace with what had happened with Cheyenne. I think that she was able to understand it intellectually. But she refused to accept that it was the best thing for Cheyenne and our family. She was not at peace, and I let myself hurt for this.

This last year has been very tumultuous. My marriage fell apart. My wife divorced me. I dated and let myself fall in love a couple of times. These relationships were great and loved being in them but they were not long-lasting and I am sad that these relationships did not last.

It took me a long time to accept my divorce, and that my ex-wife would prefer to date another man than focus on fixing what was wrong with our relationship. It was difficult for me to accept the loss of the new relationships that I had since my divorce. The more I accept these losses though and accept my situation as it stands right now the more at peace I feel. This allows me to focus on my life now and it gets me out of the unhealthy concerns of 'what broke' in the past.

My acceptance of me, my acceptance of my situation right now brings me peace.

5 comments:

Travers Family said...

wow.

Ernest Pratt said...

Thanks for reading!

吉珍 said...

Ernie,

I had no idea you went through such a difficult time in life, to lose a child. I was speechless after reading this post, but my admiration for you grew stronger. I think you are a greater person than most of the people I know in person. You do live a fulfilling life, and will enjoy great rewards from Heaven. I am glad the knowledge of the restored Gospel brings you hope and peace. When the day comes, when you see Cheyene (sp)again in Heaven, how wonderful will that moment be? And that joy will last for all eternities...

Ernest Pratt said...

Allison... WoW! You dug deep. I'm pleased that you have read so much of blogs.
Thank you for your kind words.
I guess I don't feel like a great person. I guess I know all of my foibles. I don't blog about my foibles. I'm not sure that would be appropriate. What's good to know is... We all have foibles. The honorable thing is to change our weaknesses into strengths. The kind of person I want to be is the kind of person that is constantly re-evaluating their weaknesses and continually working on making themselves better. I have HUGE weaknesses. I'm working on changing them into strengths. I have a LONG way to go.

Lori said...

A tear was rolling down my face Ern as I read your blog. My heart aches for all the hurts you have gone through. You are right...we all have our follies, but I see your great strength. You have a wonderful way of reaching out and touching others through your words. What a gift....you were spiritually prepared, and able to act as an instument in the Lord's hand to bless Kathleen and your little eternal princess Cheyenne (beautiful name!). You showed faith and a willingness to follow the Lord. My respect and love for you has increased. I have been through some tough obtacles in my life as well, but I know the Lord sustains, supports and comforts us...I am proud to be your friend Ernie...you are wonderful. Thank you for writing and inspiring others....I am touched!