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Rainbows in the Storm
Journey Through My Daughter’s Heart Transplant
byAngela Flemming Cairns
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It was dark and the roads were empty. My neighborhood looked quieter than usual as we walked outside. The morning air made me shiver, so I pulled my scarf closer to my face. There wasn’t much to say as we put our bags into the car. I longed to pick up my little girl and carry her in my arms, oh how I missed those days (she was nearly my size now). I desperately wanted to keep her safe. My heart beat so hard and felt physically sore like it hurt from the inside out. Glancing back, I wondered how long it would be until I saw my house again. I wondered how long it would be until I saw my two other sons. I wondered if they would be able to get back to sleep. It was only 4:20 in the morning. I wanted to hug them and tell them again that I loved them. Our rush out the door didn’t seem to give us enough time to say “goodbye” properly. My husband, Lucas, sat in the front of the car and my dad drove. My thirteen-year-old Luka-Angel sat between Mum and me. My son Jazz (who had only just turned ten) was in the back. I suddenly noticed how serious we all looked and mustered the strength to lighten my face for the sake of my precious girl.
At the airport, I sat unusually still, and stared out at the slightly brightening sky and wondered why it was no longer dark. My heart felt the pure darkness of night. What seemed like only a few seconds later, we were on the plane and I wondered if anyone around us knew our circumstances. I wondered if the air hostesses knew the truth about our situation as they treated us so kindly that day. When they came and offered us muffins and cups of tea, I declined. I had made my decision that I would not eat until Luka could. I resigned myself to thinking that perhaps the plane might crash, and we could get this thing over with, before it even began. Then I thought about my sons whom we had left behind, and decided maybe a crash wasn’t the best idea.
As the plane started to take off, everything within me wanted to stop it and say we were getting off. It was now in motion and I knew that there was no turning back. I knew we had to go through this at some point. I never dreamed that it would be now or that I would be witnessing my little girl go through this before her dad. It all felt so horrible, and on the inside I was in an absolute panic. I knew I would never be okay with it at any time. My heart was so heavy, and I tried the best I could to engage with Luka-Angel and just treasure being in her presence. We watched the sun begin to shine from outside of the window. The clouds looked so pretty. “Looks like heaven,” Luka said. Luka’s face lit up as we flew south over some snow-kissed mountains, and I wondered if she would ever get to the snow. We had always planned to take our kids one day. I pulled out the plain white cards I had packed, supposedly for the ward when she was recovering, and said to her, “Would you like to write notes to anyone now? Before your surgery?” Luka jumped at the chance. She sat with her faithful security toy ‘Cowcow’ in her arms and wrote and wrote until her hand hurt. I took a moment to swap seats with Lucas to allow him a turn beside her. The tears were threatening to spill over again, and I didn’t want her to see me cry. ‘She needs to see you be brave and be strong,’ I told myself biting the inside of my cheek so hard it hurt. I closed my eyes quietly beside my mum as if sleeping, and started praying Psalm 58 fervently, ‘Have mercy on me Oh God, Have mercy on me for I come to you for safety, in the shadow of your wings I find protection until the raging storms are over.’ I had prayed this Psalm over and over again these last few months. Then the quiet tears took over. I quickly brushed them away while my mum tried to console me. “I can’t cry Mum, I can’t do that to her. I have to be strong,” I said. I was interrupted by Luka calling me from across the aisle to come and braid her hair. ‘Make me brave, make me brave. Give her peace, give her peace…’ I whispered in desperation to God.
As I conspicuously knelt up on the seat beside Luka doing my best to braid her hair, I didn’t care who behind me could see. I was conscious I was sticking up above everyone else’s seats and we were at the very front in the plane, but I decided it didn’t matter. I wanted these two braids to be the best I had ever done for her. I couldn’t allow myself to think that they could be the last braids, yet the thought hung wordless in the shape of a feeling at the back of my mind. The day that I had dreaded for so long now, had arrived and a part of me wondered how we got here.
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About the Book
Rainbows in the Storm is an intimate and raw look into a mother’s heart as she encounters the shocking diagnoses of two of her children with a terminal heart condition. You will journey with her while she desperately tries to find hope and courage among her pain as she faces some very unexpected circumstances. This book reveals that God can heal hearts that are broken physically, emotionally, and spiritually and that he hears our prayers, speaks to people, and still does miracles.
The author includes personal journal entries, Bible verses and a vivid depiction of events from her children’s diagnoses through to the heart-transplant of her daughter. However this is no ordinary transplant! There are many complications and shocks encountered. You will walk away with lessons on parenthood, persevering through pain, and inspired to have greater faith in your own hardships.
About the Author
ANGELA FLEMMING CAIRNS is a woman of passionate faith whose motherhood has encompassed more than her own biological children. Angela has learned through many challenges to take one day at a time, rely on God’s strength, to always hope and never give up! She has been in ministry and leadership in The Salvation Army for more than twenty years, is an outdoor enthusiast and avid runner who values life to the full. Angela has completed varying Biblical studies, an Associate Diploma of Arts (Music) and enjoys creative worship leading, preaching and public speaking.