By: Debbie Moore-Black, RN
We lived in the woods. 5 acres of trees. You could barely see the sky. We left the big city, for this piece of heaven. And by chance we met a couple that had a 5 year old daughter. Our son was 4 years old. They became best friends. They’d swing on the swing set, play in the sandbox and they’d splash each other in the little pool we had.
Kayla was this sweet tiny girl. Creative, artistic and smart. Her parents were like us. Pretending to be hippies and so called “living off the land.”
We had play dates, went out to eat together and we all became fast friends.
Kayla had long blonde hair. She was quiet. But she was a smart beauty.
A week passed and we hadn’t seen each other.
We called and called. And finally Kayla’s mother answered the phone. Barely able to speak, she was gasping in between breaths.
Kayla woke up in the middle of the night. Screaming. A blood curdling scream.
“My head hurts, my head hurts”.
Her parents rushed her to the hospital.
They figured an ambulance would never find them out here in the woods. This lost paradise.
Kayla’s brain was scanned.
Diagnosis: AVM. Cerebral arteriovenous malformation.
I was just starting nursing school and I knew very little of what an AVM was.
Arteriovenous malformation. An abnormal connection between the arteries and veins in the brain that usually forms before birth.
Many times it is undetected. With no symptoms. Until their is a rupture of one of the blood vessels in an AVM.
A stat MRI confirmed her AVM.
She was rushed off to surgery.
The neurosurgeon worked on her relentlessly. The risk was high. The prognosis was poor.
All of her long blonde hair shaved off.
All we could do is hope and pray.
But she remained in pediatric ICU.
On the ventilator.
Neurologically she never got better.
Her parents were zombie-like. Their precious Angel. No previous symptoms.
The light of their lives.
And she was pronounced dead after two days in ICU. There was no brain activity.
Somehow we all drifted apart.
We told our son that his little best friend is with the baby Jesus.
He was 4 years old and never quite understood what happened to his best friend.
As tragic as this was, Kayla’s parents chose to donate vital organs to other children.
They found out that little Kayla’s heart was a compatible match transplant to another little girl who had a severe heart defect and only had a few months to live.
We went to the funeral. The sadness was palpable. The little mahogany casket with bright daisy’s on top. Her favorite flowers.
The preacher talked about Kayla. Her love and sweetness. Her very short life.
But he also talked of how Kayla lives on. And her spirit is alive.
How do you lose a child, but choose the most unselfish act of giving life to another?
Sweet Kayla with her long flowing blond hair.
An Angel here on earth for just a short time.
But her spirit lives on.
The gift of life.
(Photo Google stock)