November 29, 2010
Final thoughts from Dad
At approximately 11:22 pm last night our beloved Lindsey was released from her broken body and allowed to enter God’s kingdom. God must have needed a new teacher, one who understands what people, especially children, sometimes have to endure during their earthly existence. We as a family are obviously devastated and saddened by this loss, but because of the enormous faith Lindsey displayed during her life we have to hold onto that same faith and be happy that she is indeed in a much better place, free of suffering and sorrow. She can fulfill her dream, albeit in a different place, of teaching children. During the times that I sensed she was very sad and very frightened I would try to comfort her by reminding her of the numerous small children we had met during her treatments who had indeed lost their battle at a very young age, these beautiful children I told her were not finished learning and would need a teacher in heaven too. This statement seemed to comfort her, seemed to make at least a tiny bit of sense of what was happening to her because perhaps she would indeed be able to fulfill her ultimate dream—to teach and make a difference to kids.
Lindsey enjoyed twelve “normal” years before the battle with brain cancer began. She was playing competitive soccer and doing quite well; three weeks later she had been diagnosed with the brain tumor and was headed to New York for surgery. I am aware that this information is already well known by most but I repeat it because it shows what Lindsey is really all about, it shows how she made adjustments with grace and dignity when her world was turned upside down in an instant. After the surgery she couldn’t walk, talk, or care for herself, she was in tremendous pain and yes she cried, but she never complained. She taught herself to write left-handed as her right hand no longer worked. She relearned simple tasks like tying her shoes, clasping her bra, simply walking and even though she walked with a limp, she never complained. The love and compassion she showed for others during this time was truly amazing. She told Sandy and I on more than one occasion that she was glad she was the one in the family who had the tumor because she simply couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her parents or siblings suffer. Lindsey described herself choosing the words kind, caring, and compassionate and I have to agree whole-heartedly. I would readily add the words strong and tenacious.
Although Lindsey had cognitive impairments following treatments she refused to give up. Yes, she would become frustrated by the extra time she had to invest into studies while her peers and siblings seemed to excel with relative ease, yet she stuck with it and in fact was on the honor roll repeatedly during her high school years. I am especially grateful to Lindsey’s peers at UCM who realized that although Lindsey didn’t have enough hours for her education degree she did in fact have enough for her Bachelor of Science. Thanks to these wonderful students and several of her professors after seven hard fought years Lindsey fulfilled her dream of earning her college degree and was able to walk across the podium with enormous pride and satisfaction from a job well done.
Lindsey was filled with excitement because she was about to begin her final semester of college, complete student teaching, and work toward acquiring employment. In January however the first of two car accidents occurred, within two weeks a second accident occurred and we knew we needed Dr. Allen, her neurologist , to evaluate. We took Lindsey for the needed MRI and then waited………, two days later Sandy got the call from Dr. Allen. Lindsey asked that my father, Dr. Jay Morris, accompany us to her appointment with Dr. Allen for the results. We were all taken into a dark office where the disk of Lindsey’s brain scan was inserted into the computer. Although Dr. Allen was carefully describing the regrowth of the tumor I looked to my right and saw my father’s face illuminated by the computer’s glow and I knew instantly that my beloved Lindsey was about to receive the most terrifying news of her life. After viewing the scan we were taken to an adjacent examination room where Lindsey received the prognosis of the images we had just seen. I’m quite sure that her screams could be heard throughout the entire office. Numb, I observed in total disbelief as Sandy and my Dad did their best to comfort her. I was at a total loss for words, I simply put my hand on her thigh and turned my head as the tears streamed down my face. The prognosis was dismal.
What followed next is what I believe was a shorter than usual “WHY ME!” grief period for Lindsey. She wept, she was angry, she ranted justifiably over the fact that she was so very close to earning her teaching degree and marrying the man of her dreams and now it was seemingly being jerked from her grasp. “ Why, why,why,why, me , I’ve already been through this and I thought after ten years I was safe. Please tell me why!! “ It wasn’t long however that Lindsey displayed an acceptance of her situation. What she did next speaks volumes about the person she had become. We witnessed her going to her study and her storage area in the basement and carefully organizing, categorizing, and boxing up all the teaching supplies and tools she had saved for the day she got her own classroom . Once she satisfactorily completed the task she phoned our neighbor’s daughter who is employed by Lee’s Summit R7 school district and asked her to please use them in her classroom. This was a very mature and selfless act which made me very proud. A hand made poster from the students who received the supplies hangs in Lindsey’s room which has a circle of the children’s hand prints surrounding a picture of all the books and supplies she had donated and the words, “your gifts have fallen into good hands .” Lindsey also had Aunt Nancy help her get pictures enlarged which she knew I cherished. They took them to be framed and brought them to my office where they now hang and remind me daily of the love we share. Also on the office wall there is a school assignment Lindsey completed entitled, “My Hero,” she wrote this paper referencing me but I certainly believe it pertains to her so much. The following is a quote from the paper………
A hero is an everyday person who can change the world for the better. It could be simple like helping one person out or by helping millions.
Responsible, honest, trustworthy.
Courageous and Brave - Is willing to take risks, stands up for his/her beliefs.
Intelligent - logical, sees the big picture, identifies the problem and plans a solution.
Selfless and humble-puts others first, doesn't seek rewards or prasies.
Has a sense of humor
Mentally strong and self confident - fear, mistakes, problems don't stop him/her.
The difference between the first and second battle with the tumor was hope. The first go round there was always hope and optimism, the second time there was none. Watching Lindsey slowly deteriorate from this disease has been gut-wrenching , I won’t repeat the information documenting the downward spiral because Sandy has done so already in this blog. It just hurts and hurts to the very core of your being to watch your child, your twenty-five year old daughter decline day by day.
Lindsey's only request was that she be able to die at home and I gave her my word that she would be able to do so. Dr. Taylor said it would take an army to accomplish this enormous task but that it could be done. I have to thank my wonderful army, the core of which was Sandy and Nancy. Our trio learned to do many tasks that hospice normally does which certainly helped Lindz feel more dignified and intimately loved. You allowed me to keep my word and I will be forever grateful to you. To the rest of my little army I say thank you so much, we did it.
I will end by quoting something my mother said when she was here last, she said as she wept, " I never knew anything could hurt this much." I couldn't agree more.........This HURTS!
Information about Lindsey's memorial will be shared at a later time.... a private family graveside service will occur for immediate family members prior to the memorial.