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Danielle’s Story

Welcome to Danielle's website. Danielle and our family appreciate your visit! Please send us a message, we read every one, and count them among our many blessings!

Life can change in an instant...

July 11th, 2010 was a perfect day, Danielle, her sisters; Taylor & Rachel and I (mom, Lynell) cantered the 8:30 mass at Blessed Sacrament. Jeff (Danielle's Dad) was in the choir loft with us, and Danielle went to the front of the church, I remember my pride as she gracefully approached the alter, and my worry, there had been a mistake in the assigning of the responsorial psalm and Alleluia we had been practicing, and we came into church a half an hour early to learn a new one at the last minute. I remember praying Danielle would do well. The music started, Danielle took a confident breath and sang beautifully, there was a bobble in the organ music, but she continued without error. I wanted to cheer and clap, but refrained, but anyone who turned around would have been blinded by my smile. Next I sang the Alleluia, and the girls and I all silently high-fived one another and hugged, we had gotten through the most difficult parts. We were using our God given talents to worship Him in His house, for His followers, it felt good! We got home and started to prepare a meal, Fr. Hoelfer and Jeff's sister, her husband, and children would be joining us for chicken on the grill. Everyone arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, at the end of the meal Danielle, cousin Riley, and sisters - Taylor and Rachel gathered around the piano and sang a song for Fr. Hoefler that they had written themselves, "What do you see?". Each girl had written a verse telling us what they see when asked, where is your home? It was wonderful. Again tearful pride and smiles burst from me. These girls are truly exceptional. We as parents are doing a good job, talented, well educated, well rounded young women, life is good. Soon after this it was time to go to Jeff's cousins to celebrate his (cousins) birthday at the lake house. There was swimming, and food, and laughter, a beautiful, perfect day... the lake had calmed down and although previous to getting there we had told the girls, "no jet skis, don't even ask, the lake will be too busy" the question was asked, by someone else. The lake was calm, very little traffic, but we were visiting, and had said, no. Danielle's then 18 year old cousin said he would take Riley and Danielle for a ride. Danielle was up on the deck with Jeff's sister and I, reading a book, typical Danielle. (I am smiling as I remember). "Mom, do you think I should go on the jet ski?" "well, your cousins will be leaving soon to go back to Australia, go make some memories", I responded. And so she put her favorite bookmark in her book, and skipped down the back hill to put on her life jacket, and I watched her ride away on the back of the jet ski. 10 minutes later, a second jet ski left the dock with Danielle's uncle, cousin and sister Taylor on board. As that 2nd jet ski left, we had no idea the fun, memory making leisurely ride dynamic would change to one of, 2 jet skis and a near deadly collision. Danielle's bookmark is still marking the last page she read. Do we blame ourselves, should we have explained the perimeters we expected to be followed? What could we have done to avoid the outcome? Many, many decisions and actions could have changed the outcome of July 11th, from one extreme to the other, there could not have been an accident at all, or, the accident could have been fatal. Danielle's Uncle and 18 year old cousin acted as hero's in the moments that followed, assessing the situation, realizing Danielle's needs were critical, giving her mouth to mouth, CPR and getting her to the dock as quickly as possible to receive immediate medical attention. The moments that followed Danielle's lifeless body being hoisted onto the dock will forever be engrained in my memory. I still have not asked details of what actually happened at the accident site from my family members, I don't want to ask them to re-live it, and it will not change the outcome. None of our lives will ever, ever be the same. I offer these facts not for judgment, but in the hope that you may encompass our entire family, all involved, in your prayers. We have not placed blame, but have offered forgiveness, in case the people we love blame themselves... Danielle sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, her recovery is slow, and challenging, we have faith in God's plan for us all, and we ask that if it is His Will, Danielle be Miraculously and completely Healed in the name of Jesus and for the Glory of God.

Please be part of a Miracle, Pray for Danielle. ~Lynell.

Latest Journal Update

The Birthday Girl

This past Monday, April 13th was Danielle's 19th Birthday! There was not a lot of fanfare... I went into Danielle's room at 5:55am to start the morning routine, with the exception that I lit a candle and entered her room singing "Happy Birthday". Danielle responded with a beautiful smile, and I told her to make a wish and blow out the candle with me... she did not draw a deep breathe, or pucker her lips, she just starred at the flame, I once again asked God for Miraculously healing, her birthday sure seems like a good day for a Miracle, and I blew out her birthday candle, and waited. I guess my sadness seeped in at that moment. I gave Danielle her medications, changed her, and started her morning feed, washed her face, and picked out clothes, and the day continued for the most part, the same as everyday for the past 4+ years... Danielle's continued complete and total dependence upon Jeff and I for her every need. Throughout the day I received many text messages for Danielle with Happy Birthday Wishes from family and friends, some asking me to distribute hugs, and / or kisses, which I did with as much joy as I could, I didn't want my sadness to seep onto Danielle like some awful virus. NINETEEN!... I never would have thought we would be still doing this (caring for Danielle as we do) for the past 4+ years, celebrating another birthday without her actively participating. I did not bake a cake, she can not eat it,... we did not buy her any gifts, she cannot use them, we have in the past; a new fancy pen set, a leather journal, drawing pad, favorite items that would be sure to entice her into movement, but there are too many of them in her room right now collecting dust, waiting for her hand to grace them with her untidy scrawl, creativity and adventures... waiting, waiting, waiting. When I tucked Danielle in that night at 8pm it was with a very heavy heart, and I slumped down the hall to my own bedroom to crawl under the covers and try to wish the rest of the day away. Even as I type this, I know I was selfish, dwelling on my own feelings, instead of celebrating. It is just SO heartbreaking to see Danielle this way, to know that she has missed her ENTIRE high school experience, driving, dances, dating, and all of her previous school mates are finishing their first year in college, and Danielle remains broken. sigh.

Moving back in time a week... Good Friday we loaded up the BRB, "Big Red Bus" - (a used shuttle bus with a handicap lift that Jeff found online and a very talented mechanic repaired for us), and we traveled to Destin Florida for Spring Break...technically I guess we did get Danielle something for her birthday, well it was really for all of us, OCEAN THERAPY. Easter Sunday was also Rachel's 14th birthday and we attended mass at Resurrection Church, I am sure you know where I am going next... Easter - the Resurrection of Jesus, Resurrection Church AND Rachel's birthday... the PERFECT day for Danielle's Miraculous Healing, in front of a church filled with Jesus' followers. I prayed and I prayed, hot tears falling one after the other into my lap. Please, Please, let us all witness a Miracle TODAY! Again, I swallowed my disappointment not wanting to ruin Rachel's special day... Why do I keep setting myself up like this???? I know why. HOPE. Confident Expectation that what God placed on my heart WILL happen. And although MY own feelings and emotions go up and down, God remains the same, constant in His love and purpose for our lives. The rest of the week was relaxing, our condo was fantastic with plenty of room for Danielle's wheelchair and a huge balcony for Danielle to enjoy the sun and waves and to watch whoever was NOT up on the balcony with her, meaning she had a great view of myself or Jeff, and Taylor and Rachel playing in the waves, and sand, and swimming in the pool. We left early (3am) on Friday morning... which was actually my birthday, and arrived home in the late afternoon without any issues. Thank you Lord for safe travels, and for every breathe we take, God is good all the time. It is always nice to go on vacation, but always wonderful to get home!!! We are still going through emails, laundry and mail, but it was SO worth it! Danielle received some wonderful cards in the mail, including a very special one which traveled to us from Cousin Riley in Australia. The envelope was decorated with hand-stamped and colored butterflies, and as we opened the envelope little heart confetti sprinkled Danielle. Attached is a photo of Jeff and Danielle on the therapy mat while Jeff read the letter out loud to her... I must admit there were some tears shed as we shared Riley's vision of herself and Danielle traveling together, creating new memories and going on big adventures. We obviously can't make any of these travel plans yet, but I feel in my heart we will... hopefully soon!

I have one more thing that I would like to share...  I recently received a letter addressed to me, from someone, whose name I will not share and who has reached out to us in the past. She has a rare gift, she is able to communicate soul-to-soul... you may be a skeptic, and that's okay, the message is wonderful either way. This letter was written as if dictated by Danielle herself, and I will tell you this message lifted me up in a new and very different way, I am positive you will understand why after you have read it.

"Please tell my Mom that she is the most beautiful lady in the world universe! Tell her she does everything perfectly for me. "I love you with all my heart, Mom! Just wait!" Danielle P.S. Tell her there are angels surrounding her when she takes care of me. Their wings support her and hug her."

Please, keep praying for Danielle. ~Lynell

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Comments

16 Comments

Gina Johnson-House
By Gina, Jim, Jace and Kayleigh House (I am an old classmate of Heidi's from Little Flower)
Lynell, you are such a talented writer, you have a true gift and such a pure heart. My family and I will continue to pray for Danielle..........for all of you. Thank you so much for allowing us all to be part of your journey.
Happy Belated Birthday to you all - April is quite a month of birthdays as mine and my husbands are in April as well!
The message from Danielle made me smile.... and I believe she is right!
May God Bless You All....
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Jeanne Eide
By
What a beautiful message from Danielle, and she is so right. Another great post Lynell. We will continue to pray for Danielle and the rest of the family. Love you all so much!
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Terri Stanton
By Terri Stanton
Lynell, you have such a gift at expressing your feelings on paper. I completely appreciate your feelings. It's very difficult for me to always put on a "happy face" for Joseph's birthday too. I think other people HOPE that it's a happy birthday so they try to help put the "happy" into the day. However, the honest facts are it's a sad day for those closest to the broken one. Rob and I shake our heads every time we recognize that Joseph has suffered through 5 birthdays. We then look at each other and remind one another that we need to have a posture of gratefulness, grateful that we even have him to kiss 100 times a day, that we can hold him in our arms, that we have the privilege of caring for them every day no matter how heart wrenching it is. This is certainly not the dream we had for our precious children but it is a lot better than not having them at all. James 1:12 reminds us "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." Keep the faith, a great crown awaits you too.....I love you my sister!
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Gail Doyle
By Gail Doyle
Sending positive thoughts and prayers to Danielle and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!~
Never give up ..Hope is all we have sometime and I believe in miracles God bless and be with you all
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Gail Okeson
By Gail Okeson
I will keep praying Lynell - every day! Bless you all.
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Dawn Johnson
By Dawn Johnson
On your 19th Birthday may you be adorned with loving wishes from dear ones to fill your days ahead with happiness galore.Each day is a gift from God. Make sure that you rip off the wrapping paper and enjoy what is inside. Happy Birthday!
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Julie Sheldon
By Julie Sheldon
You have every right to be angry. You have every right to be sad. You have every right to be impatient. Caregiving your grown child is one of, if not, the most difficult job there is. You are faced with what could have been and what is every minute of every day. It would be disrespectful and vain of me to tell you to keep fighting the good fight. However, you are not only surrounded by angels, you are an angel and an inspiration to all which may be what God's plan is.
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Jane Pichler
By
Oh Lynell ~ Another absolutely beautiful, heart wrenching journal entry! Each one, is such a "special gift" to all of us followers.....allowing us an open and honest view of your heart, soul & mind ~
And what a wonderful gift it must have been for you to receive that letter!!! What a blessing and joy it is that God has gifted certain people with these gifts! I believe with "all my heart" that those are the words that Danielle's "Spirit" spoke to her "Spirit" and wanted you to hear! Praise be to God ~
Birthday blessings are wished for you, Rachel & Danielle!
Still praying for each of YOU.......and especially Danielle ~ God Bless you all ~
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Debbie Johnson
By Debbie Johnson
Thank you for continuing to share your story with us Lynell. I can't even begin to imagine the daily challenges you face and the heartache you feel as a mum, let alone the exhaustion. You are all doing an amazing job in your loving care for Danielle. It is exceptional and I'm sure if she could speak then that the words in that letter is exactly what she would say. Her smile when you came in with the candle for her birthday says it all.

Lynell your trust and faith in God inspires me and I'm sure so many others.
May God's continuing presence and love uphold you, lift you up on angels wings and give you strength each day as you continue to trust in him. God is doing far more than you can hope and imagine. My prayers are ongoing for you all.
With love
Debbie in Australia
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Missy Broeker
By Missy Broeker
Beautiful post. Happy birthday to all of you!
Praying...xoxo
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1 person hearted this