Suffering Joy

We have had some very ups and downs kinds of days that have been very hard but also very good.

We had the Thanksgiving party for the kids’ biological families. Kirk and Barrett’s family came, as they always do when they are able. I am grateful to them because they are kind to the other children as well. This is especially meaningful when their families are not able to come, or in Mary’s case, while she is still grieving grandpa this holiday season.

We very much enjoyed dinner with Nathan’s parents and Keyssie, who surprised us by actually showing up for family dinner! It was a delight to see her again, and now I know the feeling of being a parent of a child who doesn’t visit often enough… no matter how often they visit, since we can’t go back in time and things be like before when they were young and lived at home and needed us more. I don’t know when we got that old, but with her that’s where we are.

The other children, of course, are still so young even though we are so old.

It’s funny to think they are aunts and uncles to Keyssie’s baby boy, especially our baby girl who is only two months older.

My bone pain has been more severe than it ever has been thus far on the cancer journey, and we are praying it is not permanent like they said it might be. Sometimes I cannot get out of bed or walk, and when I can the ache and burning pain stays with me. It has made me poor company, but the children are sweet and Nathan is so attentive. I am grateful, especially when the pain has been bad enough I have had to start a pain management regimen for the first time after having avoiding it for so long.

We got the holiday cooking done, though, and we got the Christmas trees up!


That’s in our front room, or the music room as the kids call it, but we also put up a tree in our dining room. This is the tree that we only decorate with the homemade craft ornaments that we make with the kids all month. Alex has done this with us for three years, and Mary was here last year to do it with us, so the boys know and are excited to get started!


Nathan’s parents have been so great to help us this week. The kids finished their video, and they let us come use their internet to upload it. Then today they watched all six kids so that Nathan could take me on a movie date, which was so sweet of all of them.

Tonight, though, the baby is sick. After two really good weeks, she now has a fever over 102 degrees, is red and blue, panting, and shivering, and not doing well. We have talked to the pediatrician and the pulmonologist and she has her home health nurses. They expect her to head back to the hospital soon if she does not improve or gets any worse in temp or color. They think her pneumonia is worse and she has another virus. They have officially put us in isolation and on home precautions, including this sign on our front door now:


They also sent these stickers for our car, so in case of emergency people would know to look for her first, I guess:



Nathan has given her a blessing, and I will stay up with her tonight as we alternate her medicines for fever, her antibiotics, her breathing treatments, and manage her oxygen. She has the pulse ox monitor and the heart monitor also. We will all do our best, and everyone is on call for her if she needs to go into the hospital tonight.

We have prayed for her, and Nathan has asked me if I am going to be okay when she goes. They want to start hospice services for her little self, and all her blessings give specific promises but also talk about her brief mortality. We pray for her, and we cry.

Nathan also talked with me tonight about my own health, and verbalized his awareness that mine will not improve but continue to be a struggle. We had lots of crying to do tonight, I think, but not without peace or hope or knowledge of things to come. We know our plan, we love our family, and we fight for the promises given us.

Last year President Monson said:

The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. Every day of our lives courage is needed—not just for the momentous events but more often as we make decisions or respond to circumstances around us. Said Scottish poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”

We appreciate your support and your prayers.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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