"Tell them to hurry, I'm going to die," it's been four years this week since our eldest grandchild said those words... her last words.
Somewhere along the road of life I think it's written that parents aren't suppose to bury their children. It's meant for the grandparents to go first because we've had our time in the sun. Our time to live a life filled with happy memories and opportunities or regrets and disappointments. Our chance to live a life that was either a glass half full or half empty.
I guess that road sign was missing on the day Kayla Marie Christian was called to come home.
Kayla was our first grandchild and from the moment she popped her head into this world, you knew this healthy and perfectly beautiful baby girl had a purpose. Reflecting back now I can see that Kayla's purpose changed over the course of her sixteen years.
As a newborn, I think Kayla was sent to help center her young mother. A young mother that needed to feel the unconditional and never ending love, warmth and joy a baby can bring to life. A mother who willingly took her responsibility to heart and changed to become a focused and dedicated parent, all the while learning from her mistakes and building upon her accomplishments. A woman that would take that collective experience of being a young single parent and build a career by helping hundreds of teenage girls attain their GEDs and become better parents.
As a child, I think Kayla was sent to help her collective family understand that you're only young once, so take some time to enjoy life's spontaneous moments. Family moments that would help each other grow stronger in our sad times and closer in our good times. Family moments that would embrace change and wonder while laughing at ourselves by not being afraid to enjoy the silliness that makes each of us sparkle.
As a teenager, I think Kayla was sent to be that once-in-a-lifetime friend that helps make sense from chaos. A friend who never missed a chance to help, listen and make the lives of those around her better for the experience. A friend who helped others realize how important it is to not only believe in yourself while standing tall on your convictions but also to stop and reflect upon your choices and be willing to select a different path.
As a statistic, I think Kayla was sent to be one more voice to say that human beings weren't meant to smoke cigarettes. Having been an asthmatic for most of her life, smoking was not a choice she should've made. As do millions of other people each year, she'd made a New Year's resolution to stop smoking and hadn't had a cigarette for almost five weeks. On the evening of February 2, 2008, she made a choice to have just one puff from a cigarette. Within minutes her asthma was out of control and her emergency inhaler couldn't stop the attack. She ran outside hoping the cold winter air would once again open her lungs. "Call 911," she yelled running out the front door. Struggling on the porch she turned and said, "tell them to hurry, I'm going to die."
Before the ambulance could arrive she had stopped breathing and even though CPR was started immediately, they couldn't keep her heart going on its own. Three days later the doctors called us into a special conference room in the pediatric intensive care unit to tell us that her brain had started swelling almost from the moment she'd lost consciousness and the damage had been so significant, there was no hope.
As an organ donor, I think Kayla was sent to give hope. Eleven people have a small part of Kayla living within them today. As a donor she helped save a young father with a new heart and a child with a new liver. Months later some of the donors sent letters through the New England organ bank to let us know what her donation had meant to them. We read them on this day to remind us that even though she may have only walked on this earth for a small moment in time, her legacy of sparkle had a purpose that none of us could've known when she was born.
As the angel that inspired me to write today's column, I think Kayla was sent to give a message to others that human lungs weren't meant to inhale toxic chemicals mixed with tobacco. A message to give the gift of life and become an organ donor. A message that every life has a purpose no matter how short or well lived so take some time to make it a glass full of sparkle.
- Wednesday, 15 February 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Ginger Costen's From This Corner