Friday, October 1, 2010

Myra Turning Three - Reflections on Elaine

We are only three days from Myra Joanne Andrew's 3rd birthday. Third birthdays in our home are special for a very good reason. Whenever one of our children turn three years old we are reminded of our daughter, Elaine, who has yet to turn three in life; though she would be nine years old now if her life had not been cut short.

Elaine Ruth Andrew lived to be one day shy of her third birthday. We had already purchased gifts to give her. We had decorations ready. We were excited for her to be three years old. She was getting so big and so smart.

As any parent may do, we had a future in mind for Elaine. Her's, we thought, would inevitably be full of appointments with Cardiologists. Eventually she would need a heart transplant; the extra strain of being born without the Right Ventricle chamber would wear out the heart causing failure in her teenage years. After a heart transplant she would have to take medications every day to ensure the new heart would not be rejected. It is not the life you choose for your lovely little daughter; we loved her so much we excepted it without any hesitation.

Something went wrong with her little heart early that shattered all of the expectations we had for her life. After a particularly difficult bout with a cold she was left acting extremely tired and worn out. We took her to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City where the doctors discovered that her heart was already in failure. At two and a half years old she was struggling to stay alive. A heart transplant was her only hope for survival.

She was in the hospital for five weeks waiting for a heart. That much time in heart failure was extremely trying on her little body. We did what we could to make things enjoyable for her. I would sing along with songs from "The Wiggles" and do the dances she used to do only a few months earlier. She smiled a tired smile for me and attempted to move with the music. She wanted to dance with me but couldn't.

She wanted to go home so badly. If you mentioned home she would cry. We put up a sign in her room to let the nurses know that talking about home made her sad.

Though her spirit was strong, her body was too worn out to go on any further with her. The doctors recognized that she didn't have much more time to live. I sat in a rocking chair holding Elaine while Melissa sat to our side holding Elain's hand. Her body died there in my arms, early in the morning, April 19th 2004.

After a long and tiresome struggle, instead of going back with us to our home in Orem she went back to her home in Heaven to be with friends and family there. We were so sad to see her leave us here on earth because we could not yet be with her where she was going.

Because of Elaine third birthdays are special for us in our family.


Melissa said...

Thanks Darin, for being able to post what I've been feeling.

3 Ring Circus said...

I can not imagine what sadness also comes with the pure joy of watching another one of your children turning 3 years old must bring.

I love the beautiful pictures of Elaine, and I can not believe how much Myra resembles her. Thank you for sharing your story of Elaine's struggle to get the heart she needed so bad, and the love she brought all of you while she was here.

Much love to your entire family....

Heather Griffith

David said...


As I mentioned to you, I learned a lesson from you with how you have chosen to experience your daughter passing on. I remember when you first started talking about her how it left an impression on me, and it changed a bit how I dealt with my Father-in-law passing away. Thanks for the example, and helping us celebrate your daughter with you.

-Dave Holland

Janice said...

I'm sure Elaine is in Heaven celebrating her little sister Myra's birthday right along with the whole family. You and Melissa have done so much in the memory of Elaine to help other families cope with diagnosis similar to Elaine's. We are proud of you both for that. We think of Elaine often and will never forget her.

Happy Birthday to Myra. Love, Dale and Janice

Jenny said...

That was beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered the time I spent with Elaine.

Nelson Family said...

These are such beautiful words. I could feel the love that you have for your little elaine. I want to say how sorry I am for the loss of your precious daughter (even if it is years latter). We are very luck to have the knowledge we do that even though they no longer live with us in this life there is another where we will be together forever. Thank you for sharing this.

al said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I came to your blog at random but am glad I did. I truly believe that our lives on earth are just a smidgen, a warm up to our lives in eternity and I'm sure your beautiful daughter is awaiting her reunion with her family. You have a beautiful family and an unbelievable strength. My mother in law also lost her daughter around 3 years old and I have a great admiration for her and for God giving her the strength to make it through. Bless you!