Four Somethings (A link up) (also a sad one)

It’s been a while since I’ve joined a link up and it’s also been a while since I posted anything here, and it’s the last day of February, (dang you short month!) so I decided to jump in.


The Four Somethings Link up is the brainchild of my blogging and IRL friend, Heather, to give us a framework for wrapping up our months. The somethings are: Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned, Something Read.

February turned out to be a tough, sad, horrible month for me and my family, as most of you who are my Facebook friends know. My brother’s wife, Jessee, died on Feb 25 after a very short but incredibly hard fought battle with septic pneumonia. She was 33.

It’d be a disservice to what we’ve gone through–and my own grieving process–if I tried to put on a rosy filter or wrap it up with a bow. I’m using this Four Somethings framework to help process what has happened. Thanks for bearing with me!

My sister called me Saturday afternoon to let me know that Jessee had been admitted to the ER the night before. They had thought she maybe had a bad cold or even the flu, but she was diagnosed with pneumonia that went septic, and was now in the ICU. She was in an induced coma and about to go into emergency surgery to put her on an ECMO machine (life support). She didn’t have good chances of making it through the night.

Something Loved– My hard-working husband’s airline miles

Within a few hours of that call, we were able to get a ticket with John’s United miles for me to fly to Tulsa early the next morning. We didn’t even have to pay the close-in booking fee due to his points status. United also changed my return flight with no problem when we decided I needed to stay there longer.

Look, none of us love that John has to travel so often and so far away for work. In times like this past month, though, a really terrible event was just a little bit simpler to get through because of it.

Jessee made it through the surgery and her condition stayed critical. We saw small improvements over the next week, and with hope I kissed her forehead on Wednesday, told her I’d see her in a couple of weeks and hopped back on a plane to Virginia. Ultimately, she couldn’t fight off the infection that had ravaged her lungs and left this world on Sunday morning. Even as I type these words, I’m in denial that this young, brilliant, beautiful soul is gone.


Something Said- What can I do to help?

I’ve often said this to others going through hard times or tragedies. This, or it’s cousin, “Let me know if I can do anything.” It’s hard to think of anything else to say, other than the equally heartfelt offer of prayer. Now, it was my turn to hear it, and I appreciated my people more than ever. They followed up and showed up with meals, air mattresses, child care and more. It fills my broken heart up to think of it. Prayer and action are such a lovely gift when packaged together. Speaking of action, if you feel like you also want to do something to help, there’s a YouCaring page set up to raise money for Jessee’s family. Jessee’s painting class business was the source of income for her family. It’s amazing what several hundred small (or big, we’ll take that!) gifts can add up to. We may not be able to physically hold her family while they try to fathom life without her, but we can hold back the domino effect of loss by doing (giving).

Something Learned– ICU nurses are the baddest of bad-asses

The whole medical team on the cardiovascular floor of the Oklahoma Heart Institute’s ICU was amazing, but since I spent the most time with the nurses, they get the gold on this. They cared for our Jessee, not just with expertise and efficiency, but also with actual (dare I say loving) care. Many of them kept their game faces on and were hard to read at times (only in their professional style of communication, not their lack of it), but we all knew Jessee was their girl.

I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to get to know her through the stories we told and the pictures of her we plastered all over the room and then not get the outcome they worked night and day for so they could actually meet her. And they do this for a living. Over and over again. May God bless and keep them all.

Something Read- Psalm 34:18

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (ESV)

I’ve never been bothered by this verse as much as I am right now. God is my loving Father and can handle my questions, so I ask Him, “Shouldn’t Your nearness actually prevent my broken heart and your salvation prevent my crushed spirit?”

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m not trying to wrap everything up with a pretty bow. I’m not done questioning and wrestling over this. While I do, though, I cling to this. My broken heart and crushed spirit aren’t the end of the story. His nearness and salvation are.


(Most of the other Share Four Somethings linked here are FAR more upbeat than this one, and eventually mine will be too.)