This post will end up being out of order, but I wanted to write it while my thoughts and feelings are fresh in my mind.
My sister Amanda and I weren't super close. We loved each other, very much. We just didn't have much in common. There was a four year age difference between us, and while I was more assertive she was submissive, I was decisive, she was more of a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. I liked things kept to a minimum, and she was more sentimental and kept EVERYTHING. The list of our differences could go on and on, and with all of our differences, it was hard to stay close. But as I said, we loved eachother, and durring these last dew years, I feel like we were the closest we've ever been. We did have one thing in common. We both struggled with infertility.
Amanda was married for eight years before she was finally able to have a pregnancy that lasted for more than a couple of months.
Her latest pregnancy was hard. Early on, she had a tear in her uterus and she was on bed rest for quite some time. During the past few months though, the pregnancy was going great for Amanda, and she and Nathan were joyfully anticipating the arrival of their first child, a little girl.
The last time I saw Amanda, was about a month and a half ago, at her baby shower. She was radiant, and happier than I had ever seen her. Her greatest hope was about to become a reality. She would finally become a mother. I remember being so incredibly happy for her.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday April first, at around 7:00 pm, I got a phone call from my sister Lydia. She sounded upset. She said she got a call from my mom saying that while Amanda was at my mom's house that evening she had a seizure, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
As soon as Adam and Caleb got home from the priesthood session of General conference, we decided to go to the valley to be with my family. My head was telling me that Amanda would be fine because she was in the care of medical professionals, but my heart was telling me something different, and I was scared. We prayed so many times that night. As we were driving down, My brother Ben who was at the hospital with the rest of the family, was keeping us posted on what was going on. He texted that Amanda's baby was taken by C- section, and was not doing well, (We later learned that her placenta had ruptured, and that the baby could have been without oxygen for up to 20 minutes.) She was being flown to another hospital. Then, a little later came the text I was dreading.
It simply said "Amanda's gone".
I began crying uncontrollably. Adam pulled the car over and held me and we sobbed together. Then the kids began to cry and we all held eachother as best we could within the confines of our vehicle. It was the darkest moment in my life, yet within that moment I felt love. I felt the love of my husband and children and the love of my Heavenly Father. In that car, on the side of the road on that dark night, I knew where Amanda was. I knew the plan of Salvation was true, and real, I knew that I would see my sister again. But I also knew that I would miss her, and that my life...that I, would never be the same.
It was well past 10:00 by the time we reached the valley. We went straight to the hospital where Amanda's baby, AunnaMarie was. My parents were there, so were Lydia and Ben. We hugged and cried, and waited for word on Aunna. Amanda's husband Nathan was there in a room with Aunna. He wanted,... needed to be alone with her and we understood.
We left the Hospital at around midnight and went to Adam's sister's house for the night. I nodded off at around 3:00 then woke up again a few hours later. The morning brought fresh tears, and I just wanted to be with my family. We went to my mom's house. Everyone was there, except for Ben who never left the hospital. While there, Adam and my brothers gave me a priesthood blessing of comfort and the comforting power of the Holy Ghost washed over me along with a peace "that pàsseth all understanding".
We all spent the entire day together. We watched general conference, we reminisced, we cried, we laughed, and cried some more. A steady stream of friends and family came. Meals were provided, Tissues, water bottles, and hugs were never in short supply. I learned the true meaning of "Morning with those that morn." And "Bearing one another's burdens" that day.
Adam the the Kids drove home late Sunday night. I stayed with my parents and siblings in the Valley.
The next few days were a blur of ģrief, family time and prayers for baby Aunna. Aunna was stable, but she was being kept cool so her brain and bodily functions could slow down and hopefully her brain would heal. I was able to visit her in the hospital on Sunday and Tuesday. On Tuesday night, they began gradually bringing her body temperature back up. On Wednesday afternoon they did a CAT scan on her brain. The results of the scan were devastating. Little AunnaMarie's brain was so badly damaged from being without oxygen for so long, that she was having constant seizures and she wouldn't be able to live without being connected to machines. Her dad made the very hard decision to take her off of the machines, and let Go. We know that after Aunna's four short days here on earth, Amanda was ready for her turn to get to hold her precious baby. A couple of hours after being removed from the machines. In the late hours of the night on Wednesday April 5th, surrounded by her grandparents, and a few aunt and uncles, AunnaMarie Irene Dobbins passed peacefully from her father's arms into her mother's.
When I heard that AunnaMarie died, I felt like I knew all along that she was meant to be with Amanda. We just needed a little time with her to know and love her. Her life was a gift to our family.
Amanda and Aunna were laid to rest on Saturday April 8th.
The funeral was beautiful, and so many people came. It made me realize how many people loved Amanda and Aunna and were blessed by their lives.
My brother-in-law bore his testimony at the funeral. I felt a powerful and profound peace as he spoke of families being eternal. I know, as he does, that through our Savior Jesus Christ, and because of His Atonement and His restored Gospel here on the earth, that I will be reunited with Amanda and Aunna. Until that wonderful day comes, I will do my best to follow Amanda's example and love others more unconditionally and be more kind and supportive.
I love you Amanda and Aunna.
'Til we meet again.