On February 2,2007 a beautiful little girl came unexpectedly to our family through adoption. We had previously kept other newborns under special circumstances while they awaited adoption so when our caseworkers name came up on our caller ID, we knew our life was about to be turned upside down for a time. This situation was different in that the child did not have a family waiting to adopt her. The baby, whom the nurses had been calling "Angel Grace" was born on January 30, 2007. She had a heart defect and Down Syndrome and her birth mother had signed adoption papers right after the birth. When we got to the hospital to see her the first time, the nurses had cut out pictures of angels and taped them to her isolette saying "we think she's a little angel." She was a beautiful baby and I was instantly struck by how she looked like my own biological children at birth. We agreed to take her home with the promise that we would consider being her forever family. We named her Jalayne Grace and a week later agreed to adopt her. Laynee was a beautiful, content child and she won our hearts instantly. She had a small atrial septal defect and a large ventricular septal defect in her heart that would someday need to be repaired. In April at about 2 1/2 months, Laynee went into congestive heart failure and needed surgery much sooner than expected. On April 24 the surgery was performed by doctor Fortuna at OSF. 10 days later the rhythm of her heart was still not able to synchronize and a pacemaker was put in her tiny heart. From that moment on, Jalayne's heart was paced 100% of the time.
Laynee blossomed in our home and family and touched the life of nearly everyone who met her. She was full of joy and happiness almost all the time. She rarely cried or fussed. She was strong willed and determined and radiantly beautiful in her pure simplicity. She was the perfect example of love without conditions.
On Labor Day weekend 2009, Jim decided he wanted to take Grandma Glueck to southern Illinois to see "Fat Man's Squeeze" at Giant City State Park. Grandma and Grandpa Glueck and our family spent a beautiful weekend together with Miss Laynee being the center of attention most of the weekend. Grandpa Glueck toted Laynee around on his arm most of the time and on Labor Day she learned to call Grandpa "PaPaw." We returned home on Monday Sept. 7th, 2009. After dinner we all went outside, Jim to his shed, Grant to hunt, Jamee and I to the driveway to wash our cars, Brock was working on homework and Jade and cousin Garrett were playing "chase" with Laynee. On one of the trips chasing Garrett and Jade around the house Laynee stopped to play in our soapy bubbles in the car wash bucket. With a soapy beard and a big grin she ran off to follow Jade and Garrett again. I was just finishing drying off my car and told Jamee we needed to make sure of where Laynee was so that I wouldn't run over her while putting the car back in the garage. We soon discovered she wasn't with Jade as we thought and we all began the search for Laynee. I, assuming she had followed Garrett to his house next door to see her beloved "heehee's" (horses), walked across the pasture to my sister Karla and Marty's. Laynee wasn't there either and panic instantly wrapped around my throat. The gate leading up to our deck surrounding our pool was open and Jamee was looking for Laynee around the pool. Instinct told me to pull the solar blanket off. With Jamee's help I pulled one section of the blanket up and there was our precious Laynee with her pink shorts and blue shirt boasting "it's good to be me" face down in the brilliant blue water. I pulled her out and frantically began trying to save my baby. Marty was there in an instant to help. Jamee called 911 while Marty and I did everthing in our power to make Laynee breathe again. Laynee was rushed to ER but soon after our arrival the doctor informed us that while the pacemaker was working, her heart would not respond. Our precious Laynee Grace had gone to be with Jesus.
Our life, which had been so beautiful all weekend, was turned upside down in a matter of moments. Time seemed to stand still, nothing would ever be the same without our little ray of sunshine, our very special little girl.
Losing a daughter, a sister is something we all think happens to someone else. The unthinkable has struck our family. The pain and sorrow is incomprehensible. We all, in our own ways, struggle to know how to handle this thing called "grief"
CS Lewis once said that "grief is like the sky, it covers everything." In recent weeks, our family has found that this is so very true. It seems that there is no right or wrong way to travel this path of grief. I have created this blog in hopes that some day we will be able to look back on our journey and see written proof that our great God never leaves us. God is good all the time.