Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Last week was by far one of the toughest my family has faced since our second child was born. Backing up to the week prior to Monday 11/25/19 our daughter went through a series of six biopsies of her thyroid. Something she had been dealing with for about two years, this being the second round. The words micro calcification's came up and I don't need to dwell on telling you all about that power packed duo, you can look it up, hence the need for further testing. Two nodules had doubled in size over the course of what was presumed a year. As I sat in agony watching my child lie trembling, a human pin cushion I told the doctor we would not be putting her through this again. She concurred without hesitation and when she was finished she began texting the surgeon of choice. By Thursday of that week at noon we had a surgery date in place, it would be Black Friday, which happened to be the following week.
We had friends and family praying although most were not aware of the fear standing behind us that we would not let penetrate our minds. I've told many, for whatever reason I had a peace about it and I was not going to over think it. As time went on, that may have changed a bit but more on that later. Fast forward to Monday afternoon around 4:00pm. My sister in law reached out to MacKay and I asking "have you heard about Kylie"....SILENCE....frantically, I'm reaching out to my pregnant friend and mentor with no response. Finally Millicent responds with a copied text about my dear friend. At 23 weeks pregnant she was short of breath and called her husband to return home. She and her daughter whose birthday was the day before waited, while in wait, Kylie passed out. Ambulances arrive to a now home and fear stricken husband and daughter as she lie lifeless on the floor. All we knew was she had been rushed to the hospital and they were doing everything they could to save her and the baby boy she was carrying. A fury of phone calls and texts began to take over the evening. Ultimately the call no one wanted came, Kylie, my friend, someone I spoke to on a daily basis had now gone to be with her Heavenly Father. Her baby boy fighting for his life and prayer request posted on every social media outlet there was.
Fearing the worst, I lie in bed crying and praying for that baby Monday night but inside I wondered how having to juggle a very sick baby boy and a five year old who had just lost her mother would be for my now widower friend Chris. We've always heard God has a plan and I would be lying if I said I didn't sit there and wonder why or how all of this happened. Believing that God has a plan for each of us before we are ever born is hard to fathom some days; especially those when you think of that child, her dad and Kylie's parents, knowing all of it was ultimately His plan for each of those effected people. It's hard, faith has never been sold as easy but we must have it, even on the darkest days. One Tuesday morning we got word that baby Hank had been relieved of his earthly struggle and was now riding the wings of his Momma. As all of our old circle of friends came back together upon the unbelievable news of our friend and her baby dying I remembered how just the very week before Kylie shred with me how much she missed our group.
As my family gathered for Thanksgiving we couldn't help but think about Kylie's family and how this was one of many "firsts" they would have to have without her and baby Hank. In my mind I felt like getting the holidays over with in the beginning may make things easier than having to re-live it all; months and months down the road. I don't know that to be true for anyone in particular, just my thought if it were me. On Friday morning we kissed our baby girl who was terrified now more than ever, good bye as the doctors rolled her back for surgery. She was to have a thyroidectomy and it would be done inside of two hours. Around the third hour I was getting a little unnerved. The doc finally called and let us know he also needed to remove a large portion of the thymus, what the heck is that we thought, but, he deemed it necessary and of course we had no objections. All of what he removed was sent to pathology and that's where my own fears began to set in. Granted, these troublesome parts were now gone from her body but if cancer could grow there, where else could it? Wondering minds DON'T WANT TO KNOW! Trust me when I say, you don't want that level of wondering where your child is concerned.
Presley bounced back from the surgery like I'd never imagined. We were released from the hospital Saturday around 11, made it home in time to shower and change so we could attend Kylie and Hanks visitation. My sister came to stay with Presley while we paid our respects and said our goodbye to the friend we would one day, see again. The outpouring of people was so comforting; to know the lives she had touched was incredible. Not only with her but her family members, those there to give their support to her husband, mother, father, brothers and sisters in law. It was amazing to see the turn out and think, if she could see all those people and know what she meant to each. On Sunday we gathered at our old church surrounded by hundreds of people who shared a bond with Kylie and/or her family. The sunlight beamed through the windows and cast a glow on the shiny white box holding she and her baby boy. We listened to her brother deliver a eulogy that brought laughter through tears and changed the way we will forever hear Alvin & The Chipmunks and May the Road Rise to Meet You....oh the stories. It was truly a tribute to the glory God gave us all for knowing Kylie Mitchell Hightower, a girl with a dream and every single ounce of drive to chase it.
It occurred to me as I stood in the back of a church filled to the brim on three floors that one only sits on the front pew of a church for the happiest occasions of their life or the saddest. My wheels started turning on that thought and I began asking myself, when the day comes that people I love sit on the front row in my honor, will I have made the same impact on lives as Kylie did?