Friday, May 05, 2006

I have written before about the medical staff at St Vincent's Hospital. The interaction we had with them was very encouraging and positive through most of our stay. The only real times that things became discouraging were toward the end, when things began to look as though he would not make it.

The issue for the nurses became how to tell us honestly that it did not look good. We had spent 6 weeks side by side with them. We had laughed, and cried together and drawn close to some of them. You cannot walk a journey like that and not be emotionally attached. The nursing staff blessed us in a huge way.

I remember when a couple of our key nurses looked me in the face and said, "He has done so well, but it just does not look good, I don't think he is going to make it."

Can you imagine having to say those words to anyone? I cannot. They did it with such grace, and such love that I knew they were aware of something I did not believe was ever going to happen.

Somehow, when the doctors had told us this, it was easy to be angry with them. It was easy to say they just don't know, they are only reading the science of this whole thing, they don't know what God can do. Obviously, that was not always true, but for some reason, it was just easier to be mad at the doctors.

The nurses spent themselves hour after hour, day after day, week after week. They had struggles between them on who got to take care of BJ. We never saw anything unruly, but we knew they vied for his room. I must say that is very hard for me to understand. He was so ill, you would think they would want to be far away, in a room where the emotional toll was a little easier.

That is why I have so much love and respect for them. Each and every one of them. They are called to this role, and they embrace it as one who knew they just might make a difference. And they did.

They may not think so, but they changed my life. The level of compassion extended to us through them was so unbelievable. One or two of them had left instructions that if he passed, they were to be called immediately. I imagine it was more like, "if it looks like he is going, call me right away."

In the wee hours of Monday morning, September 26 at just before 3am, he went home... and after some private time as a family, the room filled with nurses who wept just as hard as we did. Some who were working, and some who came because of his passing. They loved us through the most traumatic moments of our lives. I shall never forget them for doing so.

They emptied the room, in what seemed like 2 seconds, of all the cumbersome paraphanalia that kept us from being able to love on him for the previous 6 weeks. They offered to allow us up onto his bed to lay beside him and love him one last time. Had they not worked as hard as they did for the previous weeks, they still would have earned my respect in those closing moments.

I remember each face that moved forward to embrace us, and offer their apologies for not being able to do more. Ladies, you did all you could. There was nothing left to do, but love us through... and you did. I love you for it. Let me say YOU ARE MY HEROES!!!

Deanna, Lauren and Whitney, when you eat dinner with them tonight, let them know how much I love them, and miss them.

dad

18 Comments:

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

I'm so sad that I'm working and can not attend the dinner. You all are an amazing family. I don't know what it was about caring for BJ and you all, but you're right, we did argue about who got to be his nurse. Many shifts that I came in extra were with the stipulation that I was BJ's nurse. I learned so very much from you all about living a Christ like life and trusting in Him.

I have always considered myself a Christian, but never really knew how much I was missing til I heard your stories and BJ's stories. I count you among my blessings in my life. It was so hard walking in that Sunday night, seeing the looks on your faces, then walking to BJ's room. Knowing that I was working for a reason, I signed up extra, though I didn't know why. I needed to be there the night he passed. I can't explain it.

Our heartbreak will never compare to yours, but know that I was not sad for BJ, but for you all for losing such an integral part of your lives! How I would have longed for a father who showed the love that you show your kids!! God bless you all and know that you will never be forgotten at St. Vincent's. Your family is still mentioned frequently and we wish you all the best!

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger NatenAmy said...

Brent--
Just wanted to say that we miss you and that we love you lots! I know how special all of the nurses at St. V's are to all of you, and I am so thankful to our loving Father for putting them near you when you needed them most. He's pretty cool that way, isn't He?
We're praying for you!
Hugs and kisses,
Amy (and Nate too)

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger the leaf family said...

I sit and read todays post with many tears, Even through my tears I can see Christ..
I know that Christ was there and touched every nurse, doctor and person that passed through BJ's precious life. Now he is using his family, friends, people that never met him and the nurses that loved him to continue what he started through one incredible
young MAN of God.
With love, tears and prayers from KC-Tracy

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Praise and thanks to God for those incredible family members and medical professionals that he brings into our lives in those crucial moments.

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Cedarburg Tina said...

Through tears in reading your post today, I could get a sense of the emotions, the pain, the sufferings you all felt that night/morning and of course often still. Nurses are a special breed, especially good ones, in helping a family through difficult times and showing love and tenderness to those suffering. They extended this love to BJ and then to you all when you needed it.

God, please bless of those that touched the Higgins family in their time of need in a special way today and may their time together tonight be special. Be with Brent as he struggles with not being able to be a part of it. Amen.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Aunt Maralyn & Uncle Ray said...

Again today as I read your post and Melissa's response the tears flowed. My mind went back to the week Uncle Ray and I were priviledged to spend in the hospital with all of you. I was only there one week but saw first hand the love and compassion coming from the nurses.It flowed to us as well. How neat that Deanna and the girls are meeting with them tonight. I'm sure you wish you could be there also as well as the nurses that have to work. They were truly a blessing to you as well as you were a blessing to them. I believe God let BJ live for 6 weeks in the hospital for all the blessings that have come from it.
All of the California family think of you often and are so thankful we were all able to come back for the precious family time after BJ's homegoing.
October 1st will forever be engraved on our minds, as well as the whole time. It truly was a celebration.
We love you all,
Aunt Maralyn

 
At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless you...
Greenfield, Indiana

 
At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brent & family,

I remember that time well - I had asked Walker to update me all weekend on anything that might have changed about BJ. I was at a conference and we prayed for him! I was on my way to work that Monday morning when I got Walker's call - I had to pull over to the side of the road to share a moment with the Lord and to lift you all up! I texted about 50 of my friends to let them know how the Lord had answered our prayers and then when I got to work, I emailed my church to let them know the lastest! I was in AWE of what I read on this site when I got to work - it was a TOUGH day for us all!

Ohhhhhh how you all have impacted my life - I want you to know that YOU changed the lives of that nursing staff - it's not to be questioned :) I love you and continue to keep you in my prayers! Thank you for your FAITHFUL service to the Lord!

In Jesus name,

Laurel Lynn <><
San Diego, CA

 
At 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Precious Higgins Family,
I know I mention every time I post how much I love ALL of you, even though I have never met any of you. You are one of the most amazing families I have ever heard of. Our Savior did and continues to do miraculous things through your family. My walk has forever been changed by the things our Lord taught me through your ordeal. I would love to share all of it with you, but my post would be about 50,000 words long! :)
Anyway, once again I want to say thank you to all of you for allowing this time in your lives to be used for His Glory! Thank you for helping the love of Jesus reach me in a way it never had before! I wish you all lived next door.... I can't imagine more amazing people to have as an example to my children of what it means to die to self! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Much love and many hugs from,

Lori Gellerson
Everett, Washington

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Praying in Pink said...

Wow, I wonder if I'm writing this as the dinner is taking place. I know I'm praying!

I am among those who have vivid memories, even at long distance, of those days of prayer and pain. . . and of wishing I could somehow do something tangible to help. Medical staff, again we bow to you for being the hands and feet of Jesus as you ministered to this precious family. Melissa. . . may God bring you an extra-special blessing tonight including BEING an extra-special blessing for your patients. Thank you for sharing here so faithfully.

I had the privilege of watching from the sidelines as the initial plans for this dinner were made. What struck me that day was the incredible, obvious, genuine love that the nurses and other medical staff had for Deanna. They were, down to the last one, so tremendously glad to see her and so incredibly thankful that she was "looking good." They expressed genuine interest in all that God had done in the Higgins' lives over the past few months, showing special interest in Lauren's and Whitney's activities in particular.

Thank you, Team St. Vincent's, for going beyond the call in so many, many, many ways. Thank you for loving those we have also come to love and for your tender care--medical and otherwise. May you know His presence most fully as you continue seeing His work in and through the Higgins family--

with tender love and continued pink prayers,

Marti

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent,
We missed you at dinner tonight!! It was so, so good to see Deanna, Lauren and Whitney. As expected, there was much laughter and a few tears. I feel so honored to have cared for BJ and your entire family. You are an amazing family who gives meaning to "loving the Lord with all of your heart, soul and mind". You are an inspiration to all of us, and WE will never forget you. No matter to what ends of the earth that God will send you....you will always be part of many PICU nurses hearts!! I know that God has amazing plans in store for the Higgins family, and I am excited to see what they are. I know for certain that BJ's passion of changing the world for Christ will continue on through those on this earth who loved him most!
Donna

 
At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Lattany post about her nephew Corbin (almost 2 years old) for a while. But for those of you who aren't directly following his care, he is again at a critical junction and is fighting infection on many fronts. He and his family could really use your prayers. He has been critically ill for 3 weeks now and has experienced many instances of miraculous healing... including making it off ECMO this week. But his little body has to be so tired at this point. Please pray that his body would be able to rest and fight these infections and restabilize. Also, his dad has to return from Michigan where he his hospitalized to home several hours and states away to go back to work... so please pray for his peace and for Corbin's Mom, Terri, who will remain in Michigan by herself.

 
At 12:19 AM, Blogger Lattany said...

I miss coming here as frequently as I use to, but present circumstances don't allow for such. None the less, God brings me to what I need when I need it.

Your post strikes a chord deep in my heart. In the past three weeks, on four separate occasions we have heard those tender yet piercing words you described -- "he's not going to make it." They come in many different varieties, but it all means the same thing. And yet, by the grace of God, Corbin is still with us, having (barely) come off ECMO last Sunday for the second time in his short life, yet struggling to maintain any stability and with rampid infections.

How do you act as family in some of the toughest times a person will ever go through to those who were merely strangers to you a few weeks ago? Yet the nurses find this tender love and care in their hearts, and it's a means of God's grace to us.

Tearfully,

Lattany
Fairfax, VA, USA

Anonymous -- thank you so much for the update and for praying for Corbin. YOU, too, are a means of grace to us and we're thankful for you.

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger brobrad said...

Lattany, Terri and family -

know that you are being lifted up to the Throne of Grace and that the Father will hold you tighter in His arms as you face this challenge with Corbin...one through which, as you see the Father working, give thanks (as I know you are)for each day, each miracle. There is a reason, a purpose for each day of Corbin's life and you can never know the impact his life, your lives, are having on those around you.

"When answers aren't enough, there is Jesus...," know that HE is with you through all of this.

Brent,

How I'd loved to have been with you this morning at church as Mercy Me sings "Die for You" for the first time in public. I certainly wish that Deanna and the girls could be there too.

Your situtation there is further evidence of God's provision and I am so thankful that He has you in His everlasting arms.

Deanna, Lauren & Whit,

I love you and hope that things are working out smoothly as you prepare to leave. I'm praying for each one of you.

brad

 
At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the kind words about nurses. It is a calling, not a job . . . that's the difference.
Blessings!

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Higgins family,
i just bought my copy of Mercy Me"s new cd and read about BJ What an absolutely wonderful testimony your son had. How amazing for a 15 year old to go to the mission field. I shed many tears as I read through some of this blog and I send my deepest condolences with your loss. I have an 18 year old son and can't imagine losing him even though he sometimes just drives me crazy. May God be with you always
Joanne

 
At 7:35 AM, Anonymous zoe gregg said...

I don't know why, but this moves me to tears more than any other post that has ever been made here.
Keep on keeping on, you are all a true inspiration.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent,
Just sent an e-mail to Deanna as I missed going to dinner. I think of you and your family often and will never forget BJ and the privelege I had in being able to care for him. I want you to know that one of the most kind and selfless acts of service I have ever experienced occurred when you, Deanna, Whitney and Lauren walked through the doors of my own hospital room. I have never felt such Christ-like compassion as when we joined hands and you prayed for me. Your hearts were all newly grieving the loss of BJ, yet you reached out and I felt your love as well as an overwhelming peace that only God can give. How do I say thank you for your living example of what the Savior would do? I saw the hand of God as me, the caregiver, became the cared-for.

I know that we will all see BJ again because I know that God's promises are sure. I look forward to talking "with" him instead of just "to" him. I will probably have to razz him a bit about his manly facial hair! I'll also thank him for introducing me to some really great Christian music (Mercy Me)as well as some hmmmm...really loud bands( that shall remain nameless.

The Higgins family will never be forgotten by this nurse!
Debbie

 

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