Thursday, October 8, 2015
"Forever 4" : Happy Birthday Princess Chrissie!
Today is Chrissie Patterson's birthday. It's hard to believe that she would be 10 years old today. According to Rowan, she is still 4. He once told her Mommy and I that in heaven, she stayed the same age she was when she passed away. He says that is so her parents don't miss out on anything while they are still here on Earth. Whether he is right about that or not, I like the thought of it.
Rowan visits Chrissie's grave site on her birthday, every single year. Here he is on her birthday, a year after she passed away, releasing butterflies that he raised himself from caterpillars, and laying a special rock that he painted on her grave. Every year, he has taken balloons, flowers, poems, artwork, a birdhouse, etc. and decorated her grave. I'm pretty sure that this is the first year in 6 years that he is unable to do so.
Rowan is here in the hospital again, the same hospital where he "met" Chrissie for the first time when they were both patients, the same hospital where Chrissie passed away . Today he asked me if he could walk down to the hospital Memorial Tree. He has been on the pedi-surgical unit on the 3rd floor for the past 10 days, just around the corner from the lobby that has the Memorial Tree. It is a sculptured tree that bears leaves with the names of children who earned their angel wings here in this hospital. He has passed by this tree many times. He has walked down to visit it during some of his past hospitalizations, including just days after brain surgery. He knows right where her leaf is...bottom right, next to the pink flowers and blue butterfly. He once pointed at a blank leaf next to hers and said, "I want to be on this one, right next to Chrissie." Of course that brought tears to my eyes, but not just sad tears. It's difficult hearing your young child talk about death and dying, and it is unbearably difficult to hear them actually choose a spot on a memorial tree, but strangely, Rowan's peace always brings me peace. And I'm definitely glad that he finds that peace in his memories and through his connections with his angel friends, like Chrissie, his very first angel friend in heaven.
Here Rowan is at the tree today. He wanted to walk there himself. We disconnected his pumps from the wall, put on his robe and slippers, and started out of the room. The nurse offered Rowan a wheelchair, but he declined. He didn't make it 5 feet out of the room though before he looked up at me and said "I'm too tired." (See, he is waiting for a blood transfusion today, so he feels very weak.) I asked if he wanted to go back to the room, but he said, "No, can you carry me down there to her leaf?" Of course I said yes. He wanted to honor his friend on her birthday, and take a picture for her Mommy, and blood transfusion or not, he was going to get there.
My favorite part about these pictures of him praying is the statue behind him. Rowan always says that it looks like himself and Chrissie, and that it reminds him that she is always with him.
He kissed her leaf goodbye, whispered "Happy Birthday Chrissie"...
and started to walk back to his room. But he paused and looked back again, just for a moment, smiled, waved, and asked me, "Can you carry me back now?"
Happy Birthday Chrissie Patterson. Whether you are 4 or 10 up there in heaven, you are widely loved and deeply missed down here. Thank you for the friendship and comfort you provide Rowan. Thank you for always being with him.
Praying your family feels your presence today more than ever, and that God has the biggest, best piece of chocolate cake for you in heaven ever!