On a different note, Ashley Cox Stegall, a girl that I used to hang out with when Matt and I first started dating, and Tobi went to her son Leighton's birthday party, had to take her husband, Jason, 31, off the ventilator Monday morning, the 14th of December, due to him being brain dead. They think that it was from H1N1. He had been a decorated soldier in Iraq, and received 2 purple hearts and bronze star and a few other medals. He'd returned from Iraq and was in El Paso Texas for 2 weeks before coming home. He went to the doctor the Monday before his death complaining of breathing problems and the doctor discovered he was in liver failure. He was flown to DC where he went into a coma. Ashley had posted via her phone, on Facebook, that she had to make the most difficult decision of her life to remove Jason from life support. I wept and wept for her, as my heart broke. It brought back all the emotions from when Dr. Randolph in the RNICU said to me before Matt got to the hospital, "You have to tell us what you want us to do. Do you want us to perform CPR on Layah if her heart stops? Do you want to discontinue care now? or just wait until her heart stops on it's own?" Matt was my support, and my strength, besides the Peace that I experienced after we decided what was best for Layah. Having to make that decision for my husband, I could only imagine the magnitude of pain she felt at that time. She and Jason have a little boy, Landon, just 10 months old. She had 2 boys, Leighton who is 9 or 10, and Logan, who is 8 or 9, with her 1st husband, Leighton, who was in Delta Sig with Matt. It just breaks my heart that Landon will never know his daddy. I'm so thankful that they did have him, so Ashley will always have a piece of Jason that she can hold and kiss. I know that at the time she found out she was expecting, she wanted a girl, but now, I know that Landon is that much more a gift, because he looks just like Jason. She didn’t get necessarily what she wanted, but what she needed. I pray for her many times throughout the day. I think of her having to get funeral arrangements made, go through his clothes, and just try and do mundane chores and “life” for her boys, and how difficult it will be. I hope her close friends and family will help her with those arrangements, as well as take care of getting the Christmas gifts under the tree for Leighton, Logan, and Landon so that Ashley can focus on beginning the grief process for Jason. It's just so sad that he comes back safely from Iraq, and dies from a virus. It just seems so unfair. Why would God allow that to happen? I think it’s okay to question Him, although we’ll most likely never get an answer, and even if He did answer, it probably wouldn’t make sense to us here on earth. Just as there is no understanding losing Layah before she had a chance to live. We just have to accept in faith, with life, comes death.
Matt and I were talking and I think that these soldiers are given so many vaccines and drugs before going over to war that these can cause the body to go kinda hay-wire, and turn on itself, or that they are in such close quarters with one another over there, it could weaken their immune system. This is the second soldier, we know personally, that is our age, late 20's early 30's, that comes home dying or to die of something unrelated. Matt's friend Ian Hogg was diagnosed with ALS a few months ago, and he's so young too.
As I read today, the devotional mentioned Jehovah-Jireh, "The Lord will provide" The verse mentioned was Matthew 6:8, "The Father knows what you need before you ask Him." I read it differently though. It says, 'what you need', not what you want. The Lord knows. I wanted Layah to survive, but the Lord knew I needed Luke's life. I wanted her to be healthy and live, but the Lord knew I needed Luke to be born fullterm, and healthy and whole. He does provide what we need. I cant imagine all the “wants” Ashley has. I know she wants Jason here. I know she wanted to grow old with him. I know she wanted Landon to get to know his daddy. What I also know is the Lord will provide. He will provide Peace to her through the Holy spirit. He will also bring her comfort, throught His spirit and through friends and family. He will provide Joy, maybe not for a while, but one day, He will provide it. I pray that the Lord will provide hope in her. It's hard, even as a Christian to have that sometimes. I know, even though I had so many praying for me, and supporting me, I just simply wanted to go to heaven and be with Layah, and not feel the pain of her loss. I can only imagine the magnitude of Ashley's pain, but the Lord knows. I'm so thankful that she has the boys, and little Landon to have a piece of him always.
Lord, you know Ashley's grief. You have felt what she feels. Hold her Lord, letting her know to rest in you. Give her strength to go on, for her boys. Give her peace, knowing that, as a believer, we can grieve unlike the world, we can grieve with hope and the truth that we will be with them again.