Ketchup Sandwiches & Hope: It’s whats for breakfast, lunch & dinner

by Jana

I keep going back to what my friend said the other day. Hope is multi-faceted. It may end up looking different each day, sometimes dramatically so. But, the important thing is that you always continue to hold on to hope.

Last Tuesday, after requesting imaging due to chest pain, we were told that Oliver had fluid in his lungs.  His pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) had regrown in such a way that draining it was currently not possible.  We were also told that if it continued to grow we could expect Oliver to go into cardiac arrest.

Primary Children’s Hospital amazingly offered us the vacant room next to Oliver’s room so our girls could spend the night and we could all be together as a family. While little Samantha stayed awake running up and down the halls having the best late-over eeeever, Bill and I stayed awake all night hoping and praying that Oliver would make it through the night without going into cardiac arrest.

Oliver woke up in good spirits and immediately made a list of things he wanted to do with his sisters that included making handprints, making little sculptures with microwaved Skittles, and naming DragonVale dragons. When he learned the girls could spend the night a second night, he was determined to make them his signature ketchup breakfast sandwiches, because you can’t really top Primary Children’s hash browns, scrambled eggs and torn up bacon mixed and marinaded with several packets of ketchup, piled in between buttered toast. I spent the rest of the day and all night hoping and praying that Oliver would have the energy to be able to make ketchup sandwiches for his sisters.

There have been so many times when Bill and I have hoped for things that have been considered by others to be nearly or completely impossible. We listen to others for sure. As lawyers, both Bill and I critically examine and weigh the facts. But, as believers, what we ultimately choose to hope for is based on much more.

This weekend, Oliver, who has almost completely recovered from his brain trauma, left Primary Children’s Hospital to go home on pass. He went to watch Polar Express at his friend’s house, see the otters at Hogle Zoo with his sister, and sit around the Christmas tree together as a family, not to go home to die.  That, like being able to eat Oliver’s ketchup sandwiches for multiple meals this week, was certainly more than what others have told us was possible. 

We continue to look for reasons to be hopeful each day.  Miracles happen.  When you look for them you begin to notice them more and more.  Sometimes the most important miracles look small and seem unimportant to other people.  They are the tender mercies that make it possible to face the starkest trials directly, knowing you are not alone.




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