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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Familymoon - We wondered...

...if Megan's mansion looks anything like this in Heaven.

...if Megan is singing and dancing like this in Heaven.

...if they clear the streets multiple times a day for parades to pass through in Heaven.

...if there was a parade in Heaven when Megan arrived the night of October 1st like this one with the most amazingly different creatures.

...if Megan participates in any beautiful parades in Heaven. (Yes, I know this is Cinderella. I didn't get any good pics of Sleeping Beauty, LOL!)

...if Megan is meeting all of the celebrities and Bible story heroes like this in Heaven.

...if Megan is eating snacks at every corner in Heaven.

...if Megan is making music like this in Heaven.

...if Megan is bathing in the Fountain of Living Water in Heaven like this.

...if Megan is as proud of us as we are of her.

At first, I was very upset that we could be at such a place so soon after saying goodbye to Megan, especially when the first thing we saw was the show at the base of the castle where they sang about dreams coming true. After all, our family was living our greatest earthly nightmare. But then, something clicked for us as we thought about it. After we composed ourselves, we realized that this was the closest place there is here on earth to help ourselves understand how great Heaven really is and the wonderful time Megan must be having there.

Then, we wondered if Megan was laughing at how much better of a time she was having than we were.

We hope she is doing all of this and more, of course!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Familymoon - Our sweet suite

Our family getaway that started on Saturday afternoon ended very early Monday morning, as we were welcomed by the relaxing atmosphere at our hotel provided by family friends at 1:30am. The colors were bold and...

everything coordinated from the walls and pictures to the bedding...

and other amenities.

It was so refreshing...

and soft and spa like.

And, this view from our window was the icing on the cake...

and lest I forget that we actually had access to this awesome pool from 7am to 11pm. And, there was live music in the evenings here. I could sit on a lounger and listen to the music and watch my family swim for hours.

This was our home base for the first week of our "familymoon."* We all collectively let out a huge **SIGH** as we entered this wonderful place and took a look around.

*I was reminded of the purpose of a honeymoon when a couple marries on my friend's blog. I thought the name of our trip should be called a "familymoon" since we went away to love one another and bond in new ways following the most traumatic experience the three of us have experienced - or ever might experience again.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gifts and Returns

The week of Megan's funeral was one of the toughest of our lives. On Monday we finished plans for the services. The viewing was held on Tuesday evening. Wednesday was the day of the funeral and burial. Thursday was Megan's 10th birthday. On Friday, the funeral home brought the rest of the cards, pictures of the floral arrangements, the laminated bookmarks, programs, & grave marker they made for us, along with the clothing and tags Megan was wearing when she arrived at the funeral home. On Saturday, the home medical supply company came to pick up the rented oxygen tanks, suction machine, feeding pump, and IV pole we used everyday to care for Megan. Monica was also invited to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon.

Ken and I frequently talked about taking Monica somewhere so the three of us could just take a break, relax, and just be with one another once we lost Megan. This was something we have thought about the last couple of years because we knew that Megan's time was getting shorter. Some family friends offered to help us find a good hotel when they attended Megan's viewing on Tuesday. They gave us a week of their time-share vacation plan on an instant's notice so that we could get away and not have to worry about that large expense.

I wanted to go lay on a beach somewhere and soak up the sun. Monica wanted to go to Disney and meet Ariel, her favorite princess. The hotel our friends found available was a week at a wonderful resort 4 miles from Disney World. In addition, some of our extended family members also gave us enough to pay for our Disney tickets once we got there - neither Ken nor Monica have ever been there. As soon as the birthday party ended on Saturday we dropped everything (literally) and traveled to Florida.

We spent a week at the wonderful resort hotel and then were able to find a place on a beach near Tampa for an extremely reasonable rate because of the current low seasonal traffic. We stayed there for a week as well and returned this last Saturday evening. The Lord provided all the arrangements for our family to get away and place a break between all of the stress from this summer and the month of September in the hospital with Megan before having to tackle all of the new details at home since Megan went to live with Him.

This trip was a gift that we will never forget. We were able to spend time together, talk to each other, enjoy our time away, and get some very much needed rest. We learned several things while we were away and the next few posts will talk about what we learned, heard from each other, and heard from God. We will always be very thankful for this very special experience.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Listening & Thinking

Sometimes I love silence. Sometimes silence is hard to comprehend. Sometimes I can't stand silence and feel the need to say something anyway. Sometimes, if I listen through the silence, I hear something that I've never heard before.

These last two weeks our family has been in a different place than usual. We are thinking together, talking to each other, listening to each other, and sitting in silence together too. We have had many experiences that have brought forth ideas and conversations that would not have happened at home.

Our lives came to a complete stop over a month ago so that we could be a family during a very tough transition. For the last two weeks our family continued to keep to ourselves to process the transition, hold each other close, and start new relationships based on our changed family roles.

We have learned a lot by listening to each other and thinking about how each of us is processing thoughts regarding our family's transition. We have also been able to share how the things we have experienced these last two weeks is being used as a canvas to paint a new perspective for living our lives and viewing the end of our earthly lives in a new way.

We have much to tell very soon. Silence is good. We have heard much more than we ever thought possible.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Megan's flowers were beautiful. They included soft pastels to match her white and pink trimmed casket. We made sure that we ordered the yellow color she loved and even mixed in her beloved "Tweetie Bird."

Even though it is tecnically the fall season, the flowers gave me the feeling of a spring beginning.

They were soft and young, yet vibrant at the same time.

I was worried that because of the nature of the event the flowers would coincide with the life of someone who was old was mature and had lived a long life.

I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of the bouquets had so much pink and yellow. I love pink and yellow together.

The flowers combined together as one huge hug over Megan's grave site.

I just noticed the purples as I type this too.

Soft, fresh, so spring like.

The fact that it rained on Thursday and Friday has probably helped keep them looking fresh for as long as possible.

Megan's temporary marker made a perfect tie-out for the balloon bouquet we got her on Thursday for her 10th Birthday.

She was one of our pink princesses and our sunshine who loved tink along with us.

We sang Happy Birthday to Megan. We know her birthday was happier than we could ever imagine.

One of our duties of being parents is helping our children live as full of a life as they can even if it creates our greatest sadness here on earth. We truly are happy for her.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am an analytical thinker. I was going to put this post on about Megan's funeral and the many wonderful flowers, thoughts, etc. that everyone has sent to us. It has really been a great source of comfort to us.

I was really worried about what my last memory of seeing Megan was going to be like. I have always been very uncomfortable with death, not wanting to get close to others who were dying or already passed away. I have been the type that has trouble dealing with viewing people in their caskets. When I was in college my class on bereavement visited a funeral home and I had nightmares for a couple weeks after that field trip.

The funeral home did a very nice job with preparing Megan's body. I always viewed her as a baby because of all the care she needed. However, she looked like a porcelain angel just sleeping. I always knew she was a beautiful little girl. But, she was breathtakingly beautiful. I took pictures so that I could remember how she looked because it felt like a message to me that she is at total peace now.

Many of you also know that Megan's 10th Birthday was the day after her funeral. We bought a balloon bouquet and took it out to her grave site - which looks beautiful with her flowers on it. It was a very emotional day for us. Our family met out at the cemetery, held hands in a circle, and sang "Happy Birthday" to Megan. I could only sing two lines of the song before I started crying.

While I took many pictures last week, I find it hard to edit and prepare them right now. It is still so hard for me to say out loud that Megan is not with us anymore. It has been almost two weeks - long enough to feel the absence, but not long enough yet for her to just return from a vacation (even though I know better).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

10 years ago today...

I woke in the early hours of the morning multiple times until I got so excited I had to get up. I had cramps that turned into pains very quickly. About 6:30am I got Ken up and told him how I felt and asked him what he thought. He sat on the couch with me and we talked about calling the midwives to ask them what they thought.

I decided to get in the shower while Ken called the midwives at the hospital. We moved to South Bend one month prior to my due date and decided not to change hospitals. The plan was to drive to Kalamazoo from South Bend for the delivery. When I got out of the shower, Ken said the midwives told him to bring me in slowly and that we should have plenty of time to get there. If I wasn't ready by the time we got there we could go out to breakfast and then come back to the hospital later. (My pains did not yet meet the 5-1-1 rule.)

So, we got in the car and stopped at my mom's office to get a stop watch (she coached track) to keep us occupied during our drive and also to tell us how close my pains were during our trip.

After that, Ken and I hit the open roads between Mishawaka and Kalamazoo. We discussed things like how our lives were going to change and whether or not we wanted to circumcise our baby. Very soon, we discovered that my pains were only a couple minutes apart but not lasting a minute yet (about 45 seconds). About an hour down the road, I was feeling very uncomfortable. We were breathing slowly through all my pains. Ken was helping me focus as he swiftly drove to the hospital. I began to shift in my seat to try to find a comfortable position. Just as I did, I heard him yell loudly, "Get your feet off the dashboard. We have to make it to the hospital." (Ken later said he wondered if he should have called an ambulance about that time.)

About 15 minutes later, we got to the clinic where the midwives told us to be checked in the basement of the hospital. They sent us to a waiting room and said they would call us back in a few minutes. I decided I wanted to use the restroom, and Ken walked me to the restroom and waited outside the door.

When I sat down, I realized the wetness I was feeling was not going to be easily cleaned up. I yelled for Ken to come in. Within a millisecond, Ken yelled down the hall for someone to come very quickly. A midwife came in with a doppler to check on my status and that of our baby (which everyone was sure was a boy - but we wanted to leave it a surprise). This is exactly what that midwife said, "Ok! The baby's heartbeat is in a fine range. But, you have a decision to make. I can feel the baby's head about this far from the surface," as she pointed to the end of her fingernail on her thumb. "You have a decision to make. We can deliver the baby right here in this bathroom or you can get in this wheelchair and try to hold it until you get up to the delivery unit."

Immediately, Ken said, "Baby, get in this wheelchair! We're going upstairs!" A nurse from the clinic and a security guard got in the elevator with us and all three of them were breathing in sync with me the entire time. When we got to the delivery unit, they had the closest room to the elevator waiting with the delivery midwife, her nursing assistants, and a few nursing students. They told me to put a gown on and get in bed.

Ken helped me and we quickly got into place. As the midwife was checking me again, the questions began. "When was your last period?" "What?" I asked. "What was the first day of your last period?" "Uh, 9 months ago!" "Yes, but what was the day?" "I DON'T KNOW! Do you have to ask these questions NOW?" So, they agreed to save the paperwork for later but then asked if a few more students could stay and watch the delivery. "WHY NOT, I DON'T CARE."

Only five pushes later, the midwife announced, "We have a baby girl!" Ken immediately left my side and went over to our new baby girl. He got to hold her first and call our parents. (We were supposed to call my mom when we got to the hospital.) When my mom got to the phone, Ken immediately said, "We have a baby girl!" She answered, "Are you at the hospital?" "Yes!" he replied, "We got here about 20 minutes ago."

Shortly after the birth, they asked us what we wanted to name our baby girl. Ken brought her to me and we looked into her beautiful face. The "M" girl names we had discussed were Mindy and Megan. Ken said, "Which should it be?" I was so stricken with awe that I said, "I don't know. You pick." He said, "I like Megan. She doesn't look like a Mindy to me." So, we named our baby girl Megan Dee Burrow and loved on her until the rest of our family members came to the hospital to see our new arrival. She weighed 7 pounds 5.5 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. She was born at 9:25am (Indiana time), 10:25am (in Michigan).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Megan's Celebration

Megan Dee Burrow
Oct. 8, 1999 - Oct. 1, 2009

Jesus came for our Megan, 9, on Thursday, October 1st, at 10:14 p.m. in her medical home, Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. She was surrounded by her family and friends throughout the day. Megan had an infectious laugh, a soul-reaching smile, and an open heart to all who knew her.

Megan was born on Friday, October 8, 1999, in Kalamazoo, MI. She lived in South Bend, IN, until she was five years old and participated in the South Bend Schools SNAP Program for three years. After moving to Mishawaka in 2005, Megan attended kindergarten through third grade at Liberty Elementary School. She enjoyed spending time with her classmates and loved being read to.

Megan is survived by her parents, Ken and Lori Burrow, her sister, Monica Ann, all of Mishawaka; grandparents, Janet Boes of South Bend, David and Pamela Layson of Mishawaka; and her great-grandfather, David E. Layson of Edmonds, WA. Megan had two aunts, Lisa (Clint) Custer and Licia Dee (Anthony) Gerber. She had one cousin, Olivia Dee Gerber.

Preceding her in death were her grandfather, Kenneth Boes, and her great-grandparents, Evelyn Layson, Fred and Joan Brown.

Megan had a very full life. Her family took her everywhere they went, including attending weekly church services, visits with family members, and family vacations to Seattle, WA, and the Wisconsin Dells. Although she enjoyed going places, Megan really loved being with and interacting with people of all ages. She also enjoyed classical and jazz music and men's singing voices. Megan will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.

The family invites extended family, friends and acquaintances to celebrate Megan's life and memory. Viewing will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6th, from 4-8 p.m. in Hahn Funeral Home, 505 W. 8th Street, Mishawaka, IN. Her service will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 7th, at 1:00 in St. Mark Missionary Church, Bittersweet Road, Mishawaka, IN. Burial will be at Southlawn Cemetery, South Bend.

Contributions may be made on Megan's behalf to the O'Hana Heritage Foundation at www.ohanaheritage.org or the Time Out Respite Program, c/o Professor Jayne Kendle (Nursing Department), at St. Mary's College.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heavenly Gifts

Last weekend we were trying to take pictures of Megan and the ring we gave her for Christmas. It is a gold ring that says princess on it and has a crown. She is one of our princesses - so sweet and dainty. I am going to get a replica of Megan's ring and wear it forever.

We didn't know where our camera was at the time so I used my cell phone to capture a picture of Megan wearing her ring. Although I did not get a good picture of the ring, I just couldn't delete the pictures. I didn't want to delete anything that was of Megan.

When I woke on Friday morning - the first time without my Megan - I went to my cell phone to check all the wonderful support everyone has been sending our way (I get e-mails about comments). After that, I decided to thumb through the photos of Megan that I had taken with my phone.

The last "bad ring picture" I had taken was the first one I saw that morning. Only I saw something different. Turns out that a sneaky Jesus along with Megan's help had a gift waiting that I didn't see at the time because I was focused on the wrong thing.

We love you too, honey! Forever!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Megan is Home!

On November 8, 2004, I had a dream. I remember it because it was very powerful. I felt changed the next day. Although, the next day was very solemn. I wrote the events of the dream down in a notebook and placed a date at the top of the page so as to build an altar to recognize that it had, in fact, happened. It was real. (And, I found the notebook just before we came to the hospita at the bottom of a box of books in my closet because someone overflowed the tub in our bathroom and I had to "rescue" the books. That's not the important part though.)

I was standing and holding my Megan. Her arms were wrapped tightly around my neck and her legs wrapped tightly around my waist. This is my favorite type of hug, so very close. (Megan has not been able to hug me like that for a long time now. It's too hard.)
After a while, she pulls her head from my shoulder, looks into my face and says, "He's here."
I put her down facing Him and she walks up and takes His hand to walk away. Then, suddenly she stops, runs back and jumps into my arms, kisses me, hops down, and runs back to Him. They walk into out of the room together, hand in hand.
Then I looked down and saw my daughter's body in her bed and begin to walk toward the door to the room and tell my whole family who is standing there. "She's gone now. Let's go." Then we all walk out of the room together, hand in hand.
At that very moment I felt a sense of accomplishment and duty to carry on. I was not crying or deep in sorrow. I was very matter of fact in my movements and statements because I know that she is not gone forever.

From the moment I woke up, I felt changed. Could you really have a dream like that and write the words to this song underneath it?

I have the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.
I have the Peace that passes understanding... down in my heart.
I have the Love of Jesus... down in my heart.
Down in my heart to stay!

Although it did not happen exactly as I dreamed, He came for our Megan tonight at 10:14pm.

My beautiful, wondrous, tiny little baby is whole now. She isn't in pain.

And, she's singing with my Granny again.

Megan's 10th Birthday Party

Here are pictures of Megan's birthday party complete with friends, gifts, cake, balloons, and laughter. The nurse manager announced to the entire unit that it was Megan's birthday party and all staff were welcome to come and enjoy a piece of cake with us.

She had a wonderful bouquet of balloons.

These friends hanging out with Megan, Memaw, and Monica include the child life specialists, Dr. K., and an intern. They also called Megan's outpatient specialists to come have a piece of cake to celebrate Megan with us. A couple of them came in as they had time.

Monica has always been Megan's gift-opening proxy and today was no exception.

Megan received a Tinker Bell poster for her room...

matching bracelets with Me and Monica that have an October charm on them...

matching necklaces with Monica...

and all of this.

Our favorite nurses finally let us take their picture.

And, I even felt like eating some cake.