Many times in our lives, we approach intersections and wonder which way we should turn. Our lives are invariably full of intersections... decisions... choices.
Years ago, I approached such an intersection. I chose to raise my baby with out her father. I chose to show her how much love she could have from a single parent. I chose to allow my child to grow up and feel that she was special, adored, cherished...that is an intersection that I have never regretted.
My daughter, Callie, became my whole world...my existence... my sanity. She gave so much, so much of everything that she did from her delightful little pouty lips when she wanted something with the usual line, "But, Mommie, we can't leave this little seal here in the store all by itself!" to her echo down the hall each night, "Night, Mommie, I love you. Sweet dreams!"
How could I began to reflect my total worth as a mom? She reflected me...or so I would like to believe. Rearranging schedules to fit in her activities, making sure that she was dry and comfortable, watching to assure myself that she was safe? Nothing more than most mothers.
I became absorbed... deeper and deeper... telling her so many times..."Well, kiddo, it's just you and me...and that's okay."
A woman possessed. I could visualize her first date, her first boyfriend, her graduation from high school, her wedding.
Holding her babies....like my mom did for me. Little treasures to guard, to pamper, to spoil. Sharing our lives and our love; sharing our hopes and dreams; sharing us.
Moving Callie around for several years, until finally settling down in Vicksburg, allowed her to blossom and grow into a beautiful, talented, selfless, young adult. She never met a stranger and would give generously of her self and her time. That move was major intersection number 2.
Many weekends, she spent with her grandmother and great grandfather. I told my mom that "as long as she wants to come and as long as you want her to come, I want her to be there." Now, I am glad that I shared my baby with them. My granddaddy is with Callie now but the memories that my mom has of their time was meant to be...shared by them!
Alone for fifteen years...she and I... (except for my wonderful mom and grandfather....brother, sister and families) and then Chris came into our lives.
What a shock to our family. Chris and I were getting married. Callie would finally have the father image in her life. I would have my world complete. Callie was now fifteen but as the old saying goes..."better late than never."
We enveloped Chris into our world with one large swoosh. He became a friend and pal to Callie. He became a husband and soul mate for me. I could have never wished for a more special man. He and Cal connected immediately...just as he and I did. Chris met both of us on different plains...me-the older, stubborn, set-in-my- ways adult and Callie-the today's teenager. He gracefully accepted his position and our transition was made at the next major intersection of our lives.
In the meantime, Callie had gotten a boyfriend...a real boyfriend...Michael...
She was in love, I was in love...our world was making full circle...The emptiness part of our lives had been fulfilled. It was almost like a fairytale...too good to be true.
I had settled into a new career in the casino industry. (That was the cause of our move to Vicksburg.)
Callie had made a place for herself in the Vicksburg teen scene. We had both made many new friends, had numerous activities keeping us both busy...she was in piano, ROTC, theater, American Red Cross, art...I had a new husband.
We were planning her night out to the ROTC Ball. We had bought the perfect black beaded gown, had ordered her shoes, had made her hair appointment. Callie's excitement was enough for the rest of the house and Chris and I took delight in planning the next "treat" that she would have for this very special night.
Spring Break had come and gone. Callie was surprised that Monday morning... her first day back to school ...by her boyfriend, Michael. I was preparing her breakfast when he knocked on the door. They had breakfast together. I had left them alone...their time alone was so precious and few that I knew they didn't need me in there. Michael left for school and Callie talked to me down the hall while she finished getting ready for school herself.
She left-and through the open window-she said, "Bye, Mom. See you when I get home. I love you." I reminded her of her orthodontist appointment that afternoon. She said that she wouldn't forget...and yes, she had her lunch money...and off she went.
I continued working around the house on my day off...thinking to myself...our road was smoothing out. Our path was not as steep or winding...and the intersections became less stressful... Until Undersheriff Jeff Riggs knocked on the door.
My Callie had been involved in an accident right down the road and had been transported to the hospital. This, my friends, was a BLIND INTERSECTION! As you know, we lost my precious baby eight days later.
I was lost, alone, scared...blinded by emotions...not my Callie...not my love, my world, my everything! She couldn't have been taken away...she couldn't go...she hadn't finished living and loving. Her dreams...my dreams...our dreams...destroyed...vanished into thin air...her hand was so cold. My poor baby...she was always so cold...always curled up under her "banky"...how, why? I can't move forward through this intersection. I can't move.
Please don't ask me questions about donation. Don't ask me about the "arrangements". Don't ask me what she should be dressed in. Please, please, take that tube out of her head and put her hair back. Please, take those needles out of her arms...take that weight off her leg and get it in a cast. I know her leg is broken, her heel is crushed, her brain is swelling. Please help me keep my baby warm...Please!
Breeze, help me. Momma, help me. Tricia, help me...my Callie is leaving me.
Chris, Cal is leaving. Our beautiful Callie is never coming home again...oh, Chris!
The doctor asked about organ donation. Breeze and Mom helped me through that intersection. I had died at the red light and they help get me going again. My baby was gone. My life was meaningless. My world was shattered. Everything I had done for the last 15 years, I had done for her...
How can I continue tomorrow when today was canceled and yesterday was deleted? My intersections were becoming major interstates with exit ramps everywhere...yet, I was dead heading--straight to nowhere. Without my Callie, who cared?
My love, my warmth, my energy, my smile had all been replaced with loss, anger, hatred, emptiness. I had no focus. I had no light. I had the quiet house. I had her mangled car. I had her blood soaked clothes. I had her lunch money. .I DIDN'T HAVE MY CALLIE.
Who am I? What am I? What else? Intersections approaching without warning...sliding silently past.
I lost my Callie on March 24, 1998. My first year was tough. Don't let anybody tell you that it's going to get better...Sure, some things are easier to manage through but it only takes the wisp of a dandelion petal to knock you backwards and spiral you into yesterday over and over...day after day.
Who have I become? A Donor Mom.
My child became a donor. She has given hope to at least 6 people. She gave them another day. She is my ray of sunshine!
Because of Callie, I can love, share and laugh again. I can wake each day knowing that she gave the ultimate gift. I am Delaine because of Callie. I can reach out to people and let them know who she is and what she has done. I can give of myself. I can give to my husband, Chris. I can give to my family. I can because of Callie.
My humor was always something that Cal teased me about...saying, "Mom, you are so siddy (silly)" as she hugged my neck. I can cry because she accused me of "picking out the saddest movies." I can love, I can smile, I can be because of Callie.
My Callie has connected me to a wonderful group of donor moms like me. We all share a common denominator... our children have assured their futures by being organ donors. Thanks to all of them for allowing me to be me... whether I am full of hope or down right blue. We share our lives through our children and without them, I might still be on hold for tomorrow. They have been lighthouses at my intersections.
Of course, to my family... you are my strength and the backbone of this clan. First you molded me and then you molded Callie.
I know that my next intersection may be full of obstacles but with the person that I have become and with the force I have behind me, I will endure. I now know that I am Delaine...bruised deeply...but I have a new purpose: for my Callie...that her death was not in vain; for my Chris...that he is my soulmate; for my donor moms...that we can make a difference in our children's lives; for my family...that I hold each of you dearly each day (whether you are physically with me or not); for myself...strive to be the best Mom, continue to give of myself unconditionally, and even though I might cry today...I will also smile!
Delaine PLH :o)
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