30 Years - Year 19

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1 Comments A+ a-

My 19th year was one of the hardest years of my life. I learned many hard, but extremely valuable, lessons that year. Some of them were at the expense of others, some were at the expense of my own ideals and convictions. Truthfully, it was one of the ugliest years of my life. But that year is “beauty from ashes” personified, and only God can receive the glory.

Out of respect for family members, Jon, and even for myself, I won’t go into many details. I’m more than willing to share my story, so if you’d like to know, just ask.

But I will share one of the deepest, most painful memories from that year.

I’ve mentioned my sister’s struggle with anorexia on here before; Alli was admitted to Children’s Hospital on her 15th birthday. We were able to wish her a happy birthday before Mom and Dad took her to Denver for an evaluation. I don’t think we expected her to be admitted so fast, but the doctors were worried.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until Mom and Dad took us to visit her for the first time.

It was a surreal feeling walking down the hallway to her room; I kept wondering how it got this far over and over in my mind. When we walked into her room, there she sat, pretty lifeless and a little gray around the edges. She was tiny, oh so tiny! She barely took up any space on the bed and she seemed happy to see us, but was still pretty emotionless.

It was then that I noticed the cart next to her bed, the heart paddles hanging from the side. I glanced sharply at Mom, shock evident all over my face. She brought her finger to her mouth in a “shh” gesture, and mouthed the word “later”. Why would that possibly be in her room, unless they needed to use it?! Mom later confirmed to me that yes, the doctors were worried that her heart could give out at any time and that was the need for the heart defibrillator by her bed.

We put on a brave face for the rest of the visit. Joking with Alli, trying to get her to eat a snack, trying to get a smile out of her, pretending that it was normal to be sitting around a hospital room with a very sick sister. I managed to keep my composure throughout the visit, but I could feel the panic rising.

I made it to the elevator. And that’s when I lost it. Sobbing, I leaned against the elevator wall. The pain was so great! How on earth did this possibly happen? How could my little sister be fighting for her life? And most importantly, why couldn’t I do anything to take away this fight for her? I begged and pleaded with God to let me take on the fight instead; I was willing to do anything that would bring her back to us healthy and whole. You can’t imagine the guilt I felt, as the big sister, I felt this was something I should be able to fix.

It was a long road for Alli, for my parents, for our family. It was hard; harder than anything else I’ve been through so far in this life. But amazing things happened through Alli’s struggle, it brought our family to a different path, to leave an amazing legacy for all of us. A new heritage!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." –Jeremiah 29:11

"To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning..." –Isaiah 61:3


I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.


Write comments
9:52 AM delete

Wow Jenn, wow. Thank you for sharing. This has been incredible to read along all these reflections of your life with you. I am inspired and in awe of you as a woman, a mother and now as a "girl" - you know?

I haven't been able to comment because I have been reading from my google reader on my blackberry and can't figure out how to comment from there as of yet, if that's even possible. But I am back on line now, as you probably saw on FB, and I am back blogging too. I have missed you!