Rosemary's Blog


Taylor Trew’s Senior Speech
April 26, 2009, 3:52 am
Filed under: Family and Friends

heather-trews-beach-photo

A few days ago I sat with my mom to shuffle through pictures from my past. From my first step to my first day of school, they were all there. All the little things I remember from my childhood. Playing in the sandbox, swimming in the pool down the street, and riding my bike, and she’s in all of them. My sister and my idol. It’s crazy how things change, and how much you end up regretting the little decisions in your life.

It all comes back to a church picnic. This picture of a seemingly beautiful day was torn down the middle, a deep gash in a magnificent portrait. This portrait was of my sister, Heather. She was rushed to the hospital and soon diagnosed with E-coli, a bacteria that lives in the intestines of all living creatures, but in which certain strains more harmful than others. My parents took her away to a hospital a few hours from our home. She developed HUS or hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare disease during which red blood cells are destroyed. Her kidneys failed. She slid into a coma. She was seven.

Things only got worse after that brutally memorable day. Years of unimaginable struggle pursued: thousands of pills, treatments, a kidney transplant and rejections followed. She was a completely different person. Broken.

Then her life took a turn that we all feared would come. Addicted. She was addicted to the medicine that was supposed to make everything better. Today, it is estimated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that 7% of all patients who are prescribed narcotic drugs become addicted. That’s more than 4.7 million Americans alone. But she abused them, and that’s when everything spun out of control. She came to me sobbing, begging me to keep her drugs for her until she got back from rehab. Stunned, I accepted. She was the one person in my life I knew wouldn’t judge me, so I how could I judge her? So I kept her secret and locked it away.

This understanding, however, turned dark. I can’t explain what happened, but I couldn’t forgive her. She did everything in her power to tear my family apart. She was selfish. It was all her fault. So I ceased my connection with her. To me, she didn’t exist, the biggest regret of my life.

To me she was gone. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and the months passed by without her. A year or so later, on a visit home, she stopped in the hallway and held me. I sunk into her arms. I finally began to forgive her and realize that I had always loved her, and no matter what I always would.

But again, things changed. She had started rejecting her kidney again a few months before and her health seemed to get progressively worse. She awoke one day in complete agony, and was quickly taken to the hospital by her boyfriend. She was diagnosed with pancreatitis and my parents rushed to her side. I stayed in school since the normality of my regular classes and school activities covered over the realities of hospital visits and the significant worries in my mind.

One night in the hospital, her breathing had slowed, and my mom realized that she wasn’t breathing at all. They shoved my family out of the doors as they tried to revive her, screaming at her to open her eyes, to move anything, but it was too late, she had already slid into another coma.

They called. But something was different. They told me I needed to come. I was startled; this hadn’t happened in years. I arrived at the ICU of a hospital in Mississippi. She was already in the coma. The doctors tried to explain what was happening but their words flew by me. She was dying, and that’s all I needed to know. I had been quiet for days, not shedding a single tear, a slate of stone. Then I remembered her before the E-coli. Memories welled up inside me and transformed into tears. Now I was the one breaking. I held her seemingly lifeless hand in mine and sobbed for hours.

I woke up the next morning, empty. Walking out into the hallway, I saw everyone pacing around me, my mom sobbing. I knew she was gone. I walked through the doors of the ICU hallway and gazed into her room. Her cold, naked, inflamed, and purple body lay on her bed. That mental picture will be engraved in my mind forever.

When I allowed myself to hear them, I listened to all the great strides my sister had made in the years that she had lived away from home undergoing treatment. She really had turned a new leaf and was a completely different person. If I had only been able to get over the years and years that she was torn, maybe I could have seen it in time and stayed close to her in the last few months of her life. But I didn’t and I can’t take that back no matter how much I want to.

I’m not here to try and make you feel sorry for me or my family, I’m here to tell you to never leave a conversation on a bad note. Don’t hang up the phone mad, don’t let stupid arguments fester, and never go a day without telling your friends and especially your family how much you love them.

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Drew’s Heart Message
April 26, 2009, 3:33 am
Filed under: Family and Friends

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Monday, April 27, 2009 will be Drew’s 35th birthday. Naturally he and Jeremiah are always on my mind but when one of their birthdays approach, I seem to focus more on one than the other.

Last Tuesday, I took Hootie out for an early morning walk in Hilton Head and a red Miata was the first car to pass me. I mentally said, “Hello Drew.”

On Thursday night, Luther and I went to a movie. As we were leaving the theatre, I heard “Every Breath You Take” coming over the speakers in the lobby. As the crowds rushed past us, Luther and I stood and marveled at how our sons are able to let us know they are near.

We left very early yesterday to drive back to KY. About six hours into the trip, I was at the wheel. Lost in my thoughts of the boys and the various crosses beside the interstate, I was jolted to my senses by a soft but distinctive thud on the windshield. To my amazement, a red heart was right in my line of vision.   How in the world could a red heart be right in front of me?  Why not?  If I have learned one thing in the years since the Drew and Jeremiah were killed is it that they now possess abilities far beyond my human comprehension.

The photo that appears above is one of two I took with my cell phone while driving 70 miles per hour in six lane traffic (do not try this at home!).  I prayed at least one would show the heart.  I had no way to focus the phone, I just pointed and clicked.  A cropped version of the red heart Drew sent me is attached.