Little Annalise

I got an email Tuesday morning from my friend Catherine, stating that Annalise, her five-year-old daughter, was in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit. The doctors weren't sure why she wasn't responding to treatment, as she was having a hard time breathing.

What? You've got to be kidding me. Jack and our kids were just with Mark and their kids on Saturday, and now Annalise has been to the ER dept. twice and is now in Intensive Care? How could this be? She was completely fine 48 hours ago.

It has been quite a week for them, and I'm happy to share that as of today, she's in a regular room and is going to be okay. But it was touch and go most of the week. They weren't sure what the outcome would be.

This situation has afforded opportunity for some very meaningful actions and conversations with Maddie. I told Maddie about Annalise, and within minutes she was pulling out all her crafty things and making her a card. She finished it after school, and said, in a sweet voice, "What about a gift? She needs a stuffed animal." She found a gift bag and tissue and got everything together and insisted that Wednesday we bring it to her house. I love to see her little heart in action. She is a giver. She has a sensitive heart. I love that about our Maddie.

While I prayed consistently all day long, at some point later in the day I said to Maddie, "Let's remember to pray for Annalise at bedtime." She immediately responded with, "Mommy, let's pray right now AND at bedtime." And so we did. We stopped what we were doing and I prayed and then Maddie prayed. She prayed this sweet prayer.

"Dear God, Make Annalise not cry. Help the medicine to work. Help me to be able to go see her in the hospital so I can bring her my gift. Amen."

Because she and Annalise are such good little friends, playing together very regularly, car pooling, and now going to school together (one grade apart), Maddie has had so many questions all week. While I didn't tell Maddie all the details, I was pretty level with her about the fact that Annalise was very sick (explaining that this wasn't just a "she has a sick tummy and doesn't want to go to school" sickness). Maddie took it well and asked good questions and it was interesting to see how she processed the info. She would look at me, listen, sort of look away, and then methodically come up with the next question. I do believe she might do some cross-examination in her future.

There was never a time when I felt like she was nervous or scared, but rather just inquisitive and concerned for her friend. I had the flitting thought that she was just stalling at bedtime, but then I realized she really was trying to figure this all out.

She knew that she had been with Annalise on Saturday. And now, on Tuesday, Annalise was very sick. So as I was just about to walk out of her room Wednesday night and she said in this soft little voice, "Mommy, I'd really like to go visit Annalise in the hospital because I don't want her to be sad and lonely." And then she stopped, and big crocodile tears started to fill up her eyes. So I said, "What's wrong sweet sweets?" And with a broken voice she shared, "Well, I REALLY want to visit her, but I don't want to get sick from her and have to stay at the hospital." By this time she was totally crying.

I could see that her little heart was completely torn. She desperately wanted to be a good friend, but also knew that Annalise was VERY sick, and she didn't want to catch her sickness. She was scared about getting really sick. So she felt bad about that. It was as if she was, for the first time, feeling selfish or un-loyal or a bad friend {even though she wasn't those things} and she didn't like those feelings.

After hugs and assurance that she didn't need to feel bad for having those feelings, and that the hospital wouldn't even let her into the hospital if there was any chance of her getting sick, she settled down and quickly feel asleep. A relieved little friend.

On Thursday night, when we got the great news that Annalise had met a significant milestone and had turned a corner, I told Maddie and she jumped up and down and yelled "YEAH!!!! God heard our prayers!" She was elated. Relief visibly washed over her yet again; thrilled that her sweet little friend was going to be okay.

There's this fine line as a parent, where you want to shelter your children from anything unpleasant, but the reality is, that's not necessarily the healthy thing to do. So I felt like, while it was a hard thing to do this week, it was a really healthy thing to walk hand-in-hand with Maddie, through this very up-close-and-personal scary situation for her.

And I feel like her faith grew this week. She saw the very tangible results of praying for her friend. And the fact that she leapt with joy and shouted praises to God because HE had answered her prayers ... that, was a beautiful, beautiful moment.


Anonymous said…
oh, my sweet maddie! my heart cries for sadness and now joy! she is ALL heart ( from the most giving family I know!)Annalise is beautiful! Great pic of the two of them.

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