The evening before she passed away, we were told that she might not wake up at all. We went to the hospital chapel and pleaded for God to heal her and wake her up, and then we called Pastor Chuck and he prayed with us too. We brought some of Breckin’s favorite books to the hospital, and that night I had a strong urge to read them to her. Part of me felt like hearing my voice read to her her favorite stories would spark some activity in her brain and she would wake up. The other part of me knew that this may be the last time I would ever get to read to her.
Somehow, we slept a little that night and the next morning, she had a CT done of her brain. They wanted to get some more information about why she wasn’t waking up. During that time, we were out of her hospital room, and I prayed that God would show us and the doctors a clear answer. I wasn’t ready to let her go, but I prayed that if it was her time to go, then we would know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Shortly after the CT was done, her cardiac surgeon came into the family waiting room. He told us that when he saw the image of that CT, he could clearly see a large area of infarction (basically, death) in the brain. He said the neurologist may say she had a stroke and we could wait and see, but if it were his child, he would disconnect support and let her pass. He said the damaged area was too large and unrepairable. This was not the answer we wanted to hear, but God did answer my prayer that day.
Some family members and friends were already there, but shortly afterward, more came. Her hospital room was full of loved ones who surrounded us and her. I lied in the bed beside her and held her hand while Pastor Chuck prayed and read Psalm 23 over us. Eventually everyone cleared out, and it was just the four of us (Ollie was asleep in the waiting room with a friend). The doctors unhooked the machine that was keeping her heart and lungs going, and we laid in the stillness beside her until she breathed her last breath. With Psalm 23 in my mind, I softly sang to her some of the song with the same title: “Surely goodness, surely mercy, right beside me all my days. And I will dwell in your house forever, and bless your holy name.”
It was the worst day of my life, but it was also a day of God’s peace and His presence. God was there with us in so many ways-in the results of the CT, He was Jehovah-Shalom (The Lord is peace), in the family and friends surrounding us, He was Jehovah-shammah (The Lord is there) and in the blessing of getting to hold my sweet girl’s hand and sing to her as she left this earth to meet Jesus, He was El-Shaddai (The All-Sufficient One). I am thankful everyday that our family was able to be there and say goodbye to her before she passed away. Not every family gets that chance.
The funeral was four days later, and again was a horrible day to go through. However, God was there! We didn’t know this at the time, but before the funeral started, our whole Bible fellowship class, and many others gathered in a room at the church, and prayed for us. These people were standing in for us and praying the words that we were unable to pray that day. One of the songs we chose for her funeral was “Great Are You Lord.” When our worship pastor began to lead us in that song, everyone was seated. I just sat there numbly and could not sing the words. He got to the part that says, “All the earth will shout your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing: Great are you Lord!” The Holy Spirit was telling me I needed to stand up and honor our great God! My inner dialogue was arguing saying, No! He just took my daughter away. How can He be great?” But, I could not deny the fact that despite my circumstances, and my suffering, God is faithful and He is great. So I stood to my feet in that church because I could no longer sit as we sang about our great God.
I write this post not to paint a sad picture of Breckin’s last days, but to remember how God was there though it all. Even on my worst days, my most heart-wrenching, heart-breaking moments, when I thought my world would fall apart, God’s presence was with me. As I have studied the names of God over the past several years, I can look back at how He has been there for me and how He continues to be there. He never stops loving His children. Great are you, Lord!