On Thursday, November 16, we all went to a Candlelighters meeting downtown. Candlelighters is a children's cancer support organization, and we had been going to their monthly family dinners. Hope loved to go there. It was the Thanksgiving celebration and there was a Boy Scout troop serving dinner and there were clowns for entertainment. She sampled several different desserts (she didn't really eat any of them, but she liked to have me take her over to the dessert table to pick something out). She made a new friend, and played ring-around-the-rosy with her and Navy. She enjoyed watching the clowns perform, and got a couple of balloon animals from them. Later in the evening, she started feeling tired and said she wanted to go home, which was normal for her. Overall, I think she really had a good time. We went home, got the girls ready for bed, and tucked them in. I laid Hope down, covered her up, kissed her head and told her I loved her.
On Friday morning, I got Navy ready for school. Navy and Hope's rooms are right next to each other and usually when I turned on Navy's light to get her ready, Hope would come staggering in rubbing her eyes. This morning that didn't happen, and I assumed she was sleeping in -- I didn't want to disturb her. We went to tell Sharolyn that we were going and that Hope was still in bed. Sharolyn asked if I had checked on Hope because she had a very low fever the day before. I said I didn't, but I would. I went to her room, felt her forehead, and it was cold.
Hope had died early in the night.
No one knows why Hope died. We initially assumed Hope had gone into septic shock during the night. She had been in the same period in her treatment, she had a low-grade fever, and we knew from the previous episode, that it could occur very quickly. Dr. Wells concurred; that was most likely the cause. The autopsy showed we were wrong. The official cause was Cardiac Arythmia, primarily because there was nothing else that could explain it. Dr. Wells has done everything he can to try to figure out what could have happened, but the actual cause is still unknown.
Hope was buried in an old cemetary in the Texas Hill Country on some family land, where she loved to go to see the deer and cows and rabbits. The cemetary has many graves of young children from back in a time when losing children was not so unusual (although I'm sure no easier). next>>