As January rolled on it felt like we were just existing. Days were filled with radiation treatments and we were having to administer medications to Bri around the clock still. Angie, Bri, and I were sleeping downstairs filling up the couch or a blow up mattress. Tori would sleep downstairs as well on the weekend. Brianna continued to fight during the late night and early morning as she was not enjoying having to wake up for this. Angie was so awesome during this whole time sacrificing her sleep to get up every six hours so that Bri got her meds on schedule. The taste of many of the meds was very unpleasant so we were trying to mask it by putting them in either juices, pudding, or yogurt. We were still having to thicken all her drinks with a gel that helped insure that her fluids went down her throat instead of down her airway.
The steroids continued to give Bri a huge appetite. She was eating much more than me and Angie and was always wanting more. She did not want snacks, she wanted full meals. I felt like an expectant father again making food runs at all hours just to keep her happy. This would continue for quite some time.
Around this time we were approached by Ashley Cassili and Amanda Wilson. Tori was playing for the Mafia Fastpitch Softball organization and Mandy and Ashley were involved in many ways. They had talked with Ric Everman, founder of the organization and “The Godfather” and they wanted to do something to help us with upcoming medical bills and living expenses. They were proposing a spaghetti dinner in early February and wanted our approval. I am not sure what in the human psyche tells us to shy away from charity but I was feeling very funny about allowing this dinner to happen. I think it must be pride. I felt a little embarrassed that people felt like we needed help and maybe I had some denial about not being able to handle the upcoming expenses. I held out for about a week before finally answering them and approving of the dinner. The date would be February 5th and would be held at our former church, Mt. Gilead in Mooresville.
The nights during the rest of January were not getting any easier. Angie and I would still wind up crying ourselves to sleep. I recall nights that I waited until everyone was asleep and I would just look at Bri sleeping. A song came to my mind on many of those occasions, one that I’ll bet most of you have heard.
Sometimes late at night
I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She’s lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark
And the thought crosses my mind
If I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt the way I feel
About her in my heart
If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way
To show her every day
That she’s my only one
If my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes.
Now I believe that these words sung by many artists, but probably made the most famous by Garth Brooks in the song “If Tomorrow Never Comes”, are not really about a father / daughter relationship but they do fit in my life. Those words went through my mind as I watched Brianna sleep and it never failed to bring tears to my eyes. I try to never leave my house, whether going to the store, to work, or farther away, without telling all my girls that I love them. You never know if tomorrow might not come.