It was obvious that Jalene was fading. She already had one collapsed lung, and very little air was moving through the other lung. Her shallow breaths could only be seen in her tiny tummy, the lungs no longer filling, her chest no longer rising. Her eyes remained closed. Thankfully her seizures were finally controlled tonight. Her pain was managed. She appeared to just be sleeping peacefully...and oh, how I wished that were true.
Jalene's mother Jen is such a strong, brave, courageous woman. To be going through what she is going through, and to sit on that bed (to be brutally honest...next to her dying child)...and to calmly, proudly, faithfully tell us all story after story of how unique and special Jalene was...it was simply surreal. We learned how smart, loving, selfless, and compassionate this little four year old was. We heard funny stories about Jalene teasing her Grandpa, that made the whole room laugh out loud. We heard impressive stories of how Jalene knew all her meds and what part of her body they helped. We heard amazing stories of child-like faith and understanding, that made your heart swell. We heard humbling stories of how Jalene knew she would only be sick for a little while. We also heard heartbreaking stories of how she said she wanted to live forever with her siblings.
For her mother to communicate this to all of us in the room tonight, in what could be considered her darkest hour, was nothing short of a miracle. Her strength was awe-inspiring. It was such a fitting tribute to this little fighter, Jalene. There was an unimaginable peace in that room tonight though...it is what surprised me the most. Of course there was sadness...we are all human, but there was more faith, hope, love and peace in the room that anything else. It was tangible. You could honestly feel it bouncing off the walls.
Rowan asked if he could say a prayer for Jalene, and Jen told him "Of course, get up on the bed next to her if you want." What proceeded was one of the purest, most innocent acts of love I have ever seen in my life. Rowan climbed in to bed with his little friend, folded his hands, bowed his head, closed his eyes and said the sweetest prayer. He asked God to take her peacefully, to take her to Heaven without anymore pain, to not let her be scared, and to "take good care of her".