November 17th, the day my world changed.

I wrote this blog two years ago....

"One year ago today, my life changed. Not just one of those bumps in the road, or small little changes. A forever kind of drastic change. It was the afternoon of November 17th, and my mom wasn’t feeling well and after seeing a few doctors that week, she ended up checking into the ER. As my dad and her left for the hospital, Luis and I left to take Greyson to get his first true haircut. As I buckled my seatbelt, my eyes filled with tears. Luis thought I was crying because we were going to chop off all of Greyson’s curls, which, let's be honest... under normal circumstances he would've been right. I hadn't wanted to part with those curls at all. But that wasn't why. I knew in my heart that my mom wasn’t okay. I knew it was serious. I believe she knew it was serious, even though she never actually said it. 

A few days before she passed away she handed me a tiny, tiny bracelet that I had seen thousands of times before. It hung on her dresser as far back as I can remember. But for the very first time she told me the story behind it. She said that after years of trying to conceive and experiencing her first miscarriage her grandmother found this bracelet on her property. She picked it up and noticed it had my dad’s initials (S. Johnson) surrounded by blue and pink beads. She gave it to my mom and the following month my mom was pregnant with me. As she handed it to me she smiled. I cried. I knew that whenever I saw those two pink lines I wouldn’t be sharing that news with her. We found out we were pregnant six weeks later. Although I couldn’t call her to tell her, it felt like she was a part of it.

So instead of mourning through today I chose to celebrate Liam and my mom. I can't wait to meet this sweet boy and when he is old enough to understand we will tell him how he got his name. I'll also be sharing the story of how these pictures happened... the fact that we went to do them and ended up on an hour and a half monster truck tour instead. We went back the second day and set up a tripod with my camera... no one there to push the button for us! And even though the sun was almost down but we managed to capture a few pictures that we'll treasure forever. 
We were shocked at how well Greyson did looking at a camera with no one behind it!"

A couple hours later, my fears were confirmed and there it stood before us. The word you never want to hear. My dad said over the phone, “It’s CANCER.” 

It was in her lungs and it appeared to be in her liver. My world stopped. That night we sat at the dining room table and cried. My mom made it clear she didn’t want to do chemo. She wasn’t interested in treatments that couldn’t cure her and would only prolong a low quality of life. She had always said that would be her reaction but now her words were real and painful. We had no idea what to think but she agreed to see all of the doctors and get as many answers as she could, for us. Over the course of the next few days we found out what type of cancer it was and that it had spread throughout her entire body from her skull to her knees. There was no chance of survival. The doctors estimated that she had only had it for a few months because of testing she had done six months prior that would have caught it.

On Monday, November 25th, my 29th birthday, we met with an oncologist for the first time. He told her that if she wanted to  survive the next couple of weeks, she didn't have the luxury of waiting to start the chemo another week, and with their office being closed for Thanksgiving break he suggested a quick plan. He told her that with 6 rounds of chemo, spread over 18 weeks, we could expect to have another 8-24 months of good quality of life with her. After discussing it we all decided that time was something we all wanted. She made me promise that if she went through the chemo, she could name our next baby. We had been trying for baby number two for a while at this point.

So, 36 hours later she was admitted to the hospital to start her first round of chemo. I remember sitting in her room all day, just the two of us, waiting for the unknown to begin. She keep offering up the craziest baby names you’ve ever heard, while reminding me that I HAD promised to let her pick. It lightened the moment and took away the fear, even if only for a brief second. 

She finished her chemo treatments and passed away six weeks later. But it gave us a total of six months with her that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. She never wanted to do the chemo, but being the selfless wife and mother that she was, she chose to do it. It gave us time to grieve with her and time to say and do everything we wanted to do with her. Those were the most valuable six months of my life. No doubt the hardest six months, but I am so thankful to have had them. She taught me a lot. More importantly, the Lord has taught me a lot about who I am, who He is and, even, who my mother was. 

It’s been a hard year; one I never believed I'd make it through. But here I am. Expecting our second baby and marveling at the goodness of the Lord. I still miss my mom more than words can describe, but she taught me to enjoy this journey called life. Well, Luis and I decided to uphold our end of the deal and let my mom name this little boy. She picked a name when we were pregnant with Greyson that she absolutely loved..... LIAM, which means “strong willed warrior or protector.” 
Liam’s middle name will be Thatcher, which means “one who mends.” This name seems incredibly fitting for the season of life we are in. When we picked Greyson’s middle name (Micah, which means, “who is like the Lord?”) we wanted it to be a name that we could always point him back to and remind him who God is. We hope to be able to do that with Liam as well- to point back to this season of life and talk about how the Lord upheld us and mended our broken hearts during our darkest hours. Finding out we were pregnant with him was only one of the ways the Lord has mended my broken heart. I know that Liam will face heartbreak for many different reasons and through different seasons but we will always be able to point back to this and remind him how good the Lord is, even in the ugliest parts of life. 

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