Anyway, June 2nd marks the 11th anniversary of Jessica's open heart surgery. This day is forever branded in my brain, and is full of bitter-sweet memories. I used to feel sick and try to hide/bury all the memories this day, 11 years ago, was made of. But within the past year, I have learned to accept this experience, learn from it, be grateful for it, and move on. How can I not when I thankfully see Jessica's beautiful face every day? She is a constant reminder of miracles, faith, and love of God. Some days I can just feel the angels that surround her! Mostly, I have now made this day a day to rejoice, praise the Lord, and enjoy all the memories Jessica has brought into my life. I'm so grateful for the modern day technology and the knowledge of the doctors and surgeons. They literally held my baby's life in their hands, and I know without a doubt, Jesus was present in that same room, guiding their hands. How grateful I am to have Him in my life, to know His love for me, and to understand His atonement. I could never have gone through this adventure with Jessica, without Him.
If I was given the option to go through this again and change anything, I wouldn't do anything different. I am who I am, and Jessica is who she is today because of everything we've been through and learned from it. I'd rather have Jessica the way she is, than not have her at all. She is a courageous, brave, determined, stubborn, sweet, tender-hearted, beautiful girl. And she's learned more in her short 11 years on Earth, than a lot of grown adults ever do in a lifetime. She's found faith, in herself and in God. She's learned to be sensitive to other's needs. She's learned patience. And she knows she is loved. She has accepted her adventure and challenges from it, and never plays the "victim" part. Quite honestly, she is proud to have her health issues, and handles them in the most graceful and Christ-like way I've ever seen. I've learned so much from her.
I recently heard a conference talk given by Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy (Ensign May 2011 pg. 15, The Atonement Covers All Pain), that brought tears to my eyes. It validated my belief that Jessica was/is playing with angels during her surgeries, especially the first one. And what comfort that brings to me, especially as mother! He says "I have noted that children are often more naturally accepting of pain and suffering. They quietly endure with humility and meekness. I have felt a beautiful, sweet spirit surrounding these little ones. Thirteen-year-old Sherrie under went a 14-hour operation for a tumor on her spinal cord. As she regained consciousness in the intensive care unit, she said: 'Daddy, Aunt Cheryl is here,...and...Grandpa Norman...and Grandma Brown...are here. And Daddy, who is that standing beside you?...He looks like you, only taller...He says he's your brother Jimmy.' Her uncle Jimmy had died at age 13 of cystic fibrosis. Later she told her father, 'Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them.' To all of us the Savior said: 'Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine...Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd.'"
To Jessica: I love, adore, and admire you and your strength. You are my hero, and it is an honor to be your mother on Earth. Thank you for teaching me, helping me to grow. I would not be who I am today, without you. I love you more than my words could ever express! Thank you for fighting and being so strong on June 2, 2000. I am so proud of you! ♥ Mom :)