Saturday, November 7, 2009

Remembering O'Neal

It's been almost 7 years since November 19, 2002. That's the day I don't enjoy remembering, yet I'm not panicking over the tight throat or the tears when I do remember.  It's the day O'Neal McKenzie Scrivner chose Heaven over this earth.  She was 19 months old at the time.  What does one do when the doctors say it is a malignant tumor and they have done all they can do.  They send hospice out to prepare the family for death.   But this family believes in miracles, believes that with God ALL things are possible.  This family believes that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.  Reports were coming in from all over the USA of believers praying and believing for O'Neal's miracle.  
I had gone to Dallas to help Joel and Jennifer during this time.   That morning, I offered to stay with O'Neal so that they could go to church together.
I placed O'Neal on the bed and laid down beside her to sing to her.  She had been making a few little humming sounds and I asked her if she was singing with the angels.  I never expected that she really might be doing just that.  --- And then, the next time I went to kiss her, she was cool and I think not breathing.  I started doing baby CPR while trying to call Joel and Jen on the phone.     They rushed home but O'Neal was gone.   The shock, the unbelief, the inability to know what to do next, Suzanna and I continued to give CPR for another hour --- how do you know it is OK to stop?  How can you know what to do when this is not suppose to happen to our baby?
The worse moment was when the funeral home people came to pick her up.  The man stood there with his arms outstretched and a blanket on them saying, "place her in my arms when you are ready" and he promised to hold her all the way and then just stood there waiting for Jennifer to give her up.  It hurts so bad to see your children hurting.    The devastation for a new Mommie and Daddy.   The confusion of knowing God was able to do the miracle but accepting that GOD's All Knowing Wisdom is so far above our understanding..... He had a different plan in mind..  His ultimate plan was greater than our wants.
I don't know how Joel and Jennifer dealt with it in the months to come. It required a lot of strength from God, and of course, there was nothing easy about it.  But for me .... well, my VW Bug became my alter of tears.  And I also think that is when I started playing with photography and playing with pictures on the computer.  It became my coping therapy.
After the funeral, when I came home, the main interpreting job that was available for me was at a Mental Health Facility about an hour and twenty minute drive from home.  Every morning I would get in the car and cry for one hour and twenty minutes.  There was a little store just down the street from the job site.  I would pull in, go in the restroom and wash my face, look in the mirror and smile and then go to my job.  It was a job-site of total depravity, desperation and filty beyond description.  The two clints I was assigned to work with were severely mentally ill.  One was extremely violent with minimal language whose communication consisted of yelling, hitting and pooping in his pants.  Here I was, sent to interpret for him when he had not communicated using sign language for years.  I learned to work through grief  by determining that I was going to find a way to get him to look at me so communication could happen. I put all my energy into a terrible situation and accepted the challenge to make communication better for another person.   So, each day I spent 6 hours working,  And when it was time to go home, I climbed into the Bug, surrendered my smile and cried all the way home.   I'm not sure, but I am thinking that job lasted for another 8 months or so.  And along with the communication work was the laborious work of getting through my own stages of loss.  Being willing to write this in my blog is still another step of dealing.
So, here we are today,  seven years later, seven is a good number and life is good!  Joel and Jennifer have two more adorable little girls, Sydney and Blakely -- precious gifts from God.    I still cry in the car sometimes, and I'm still playing with pictures, and now I'm learning how to blog.    Yes, life is a process.
O'Neal, we loved you and still  miss you, but we will spend eternity with you when our work on earth has ended.  And we who knew you and loved  you and fought cancer with you, have become greater because of you. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart.
    I am still crying too.


  2. It does still hurt to remember...I mean--real, physical chest pain. I wonder if that will ever stop? But we only grow through pain and trails, right? I have to believe we are all more humble, broken and compassionate people for going through that with Joel and Jen. We love you, O'Neal.


  3. Kevin: Your Christmas cactus photo was pretty, but your O'Neal remembrance was wrenching. Kevin