Jacob McConahay's Journal
Written Dec 16, 2013 12:35pmAt 2:36 this morning we lost our beloved Saint Bernard JJ. I can't tell you how broken hearted I feel. He might have been just a dog but in my eyes he was a Saint. He had complications from surgery that couldn't be fixed. All day yesterday he would come and sit by Ben and I and he just looked so sad like something was wrong. He wanted hugged a lot and his paw held and I just knew. After driving to Indianapolis last night, there was nothing else that we could do that would promise that he wouldn't suffer anymore. Ben stayed home with the kids while they were sleeping and I was able to hold his head in my lap and hold his paw while he went. He went fast and peacefully. I feel so bad because I wanted to save him so bad.
So Jacob Richard your puppy is home with you. He will watch over you and keep you company with all our other loved ones until I get home.
Please pray for our children. Like I said to some people they may not understand but this was one of my children. I adored this dog and so did the rest of the family. Gracie had already had a lot on her and all the changes have been tremendously hard on her. We wanted to tell them together, so we are going to tell them tonight when Ben gets home. And then I ask for peace. I always try to stay positive and upbeat but sometimes life's suffering is to much to bare.
Written Dec 13, 2013 3:21pmHere we are again. Another Christmas season. I would like to say I am prepared but I am slackin big time this year. Ben and I just moved to Bloomington. I know the last time I posted we were on our way to Florida this month, but God had other plans. Ben got a job working for Indiana University as their locksmith. He has been working there for the last two weeks and seems to be enjoying it. I think he has been overwhelmed by all the locks that he know is responsible for and he REALLY misses Westfield Schools staff. I miss him at Westfield too. You don't realize how conveniant it is to know so many teachers and staff until you move and neither one of us know anyone at the schools down here at all. And so far it has been a bit scary. We moved here the weekend before Thanksgiving and had plans to have a week to where Ben and I could find our way around the campus and town. God changed those plans as well. We had our nephew and a few other family members and friends help load the truck and get us down here and the second day we were here J.J. (Jacob Junior) our ST. Bernard, decided he was going to flip his stomach. I didn't know anything about that and I have been in the dog business for 11 years. We had left the apartment for a few hours to take our nephew home and when we got home, Oh MY!!! did we have a surprise. Ben and I were overwhelmed to say the least. J.J. had gotten sick ALL over the apartment. I mean ALL over it. He was so lethargic and just didn't act right. He laid in the kitchen and just didn't get up. We thought he would pull out of it and me being me thought about a cow that my uncle had one time that had a stomach bloat. It was a calf and it had eatin to much. The vet came out and stuck a needle in its chest with a tube and filled it with Pepto. SSSSOOO I decided to take a big medicine dropper and shove a bunch of pepto down his throat. (Never do that at home) You will wear pink stuff all over you, all over the walls, needless to say, it didn't help. I slept out on the couch so I could sleep near him and hear if he got sick again. He never did. But the next day his stomach blew up like a balloon. He wouldn't hardly pick his head up to look at us and I knew we were in trouble. I took him to vet number 1 who told me his stomach wasn't twisted and they were able to deflate it. I got him home and the next day his stomach blew up again and it was bigger then the night before. His eyes were not focused and it was like he was dying. So Ben and I and our kids took him to vet #2 who told us his stomach was indeed twisted and we needed to rush him up to Fishers, IN 1 1/2 hours north to do an emergency surgery to save him. I had been up for a very long time with him so I was already tired but determined. I brought Ben and the kids home and off to Fishers J.J. and I went. He had two catheters in his front legs and an I.V. bag hanging from the backseat to give him fluids. I knew that was a bad idea from the moment I saw him. And all I could do was cry and tell Jacob, U can not have your dog yet.
On the way to Fishers, it brought me back to the Riley days with Jake. Something major happen like a fever break out and off we went to Riley an hour away. And I would pray and try to keep calm while I was driving. Just that panic moment. I reached 69 and I was almost to the vet when J.J. pulled one I.V. out.I heard this big swoosh and I pulled over and not only had he pulled it out and was bleeding he also wrapped the iv fluid bag around himself and had peed all over the back end and had it all over him. At that moment, as cars were zooming by. I literally thought I could just sit down on the side of the road and tell God, I GIVE UP!!!! and Cry and cry.
We finally reached the vet #3. They proabably thought I was insane. I looked absolutly terrible at that time. I couldn't pull myself together. I had to have help to lift him out of the back of the car because I had thrown my back out a week prior. When the nurses come to help me, they took him straight back to surgery. 6 hours later, at midnight, he finally got out of surgery and I was able to pet his head for a minute. He had 40% of his stomach removed, had it tacked up, so this will not happen again, and had 26 staples holding him all together. I felt like I had just been through a snow storm, tornado, hurricane, all in one. It was like the time that the doctor's told Ben and I that they were going to do a little biopsy of Jake's leg to identify what kind of tumor they were dealing with. I went that day with a few family members but my husband had gone to work. I told him to go ahead that I would need him later for other visits or hospital stays. When we went in, there were three different surgeons. One to do the biopsy of Jake's leg. The other our oncologist, to out Jake's central line in, and another to do the spinal tap. That was when I heard that Jake had stage 4 Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. And that we needed to do everything in our power to save him. What was a little surgery ended up being 6 hours. I spent the first hour of that time in the little chapel at Riley. On my knees, balling like a baby and asking God why. Why not me, instead.
When he came out of surgery the nurses showed me his two tubes coming out of his chest, it looked so wierd, and his leg was in a huge bandage from then knee to his foot, and he had two big bandages on his back. I was devastated. I have never felt so many emotions up to that point. But somehow in the mix of all that, God gave me a peace that I can't explain. I was calm, and determined we were going to be ok.
The following weeks after, Jake had overcome taking chemo pills that he couldn't swallow without me basically shoving them down him. Talk about worst mom of the year award. Chemo drugs, loss of hair, loss of school, loss of so many things. But we gained relationships with so many people that would always mean a lot to us. Even now. When Jake got sick in the middle of church one Sunday, he spiked a fever. Within a few minutes Ben and I were rushing home and I sat in the back of our van holding Jake's head and squeezing it as hard as I could because he hurt so bad. Within 20 minutes of being home we were on our way to Riley and he had spiked a huge fever. We ended up in the hospital for almost three weeks. We missed a lot of Christmas parties with family, holiday baking, shopping, normal things that people do. But oh the experiences we had. Some terrifying. I learned exactly three years ago that they were doing another surgery on Jake. He needed his central line takin out and but in a port. I had a long talk with his surgeon about amputating his leg and after talking to him I learned how grave Jake's situation really was. I learned that they gave Jake a 30% chance of surviving 6 months. the tumors continued to grow. But the love that all of us had for that 7 year old little boy went way beyond words. God toughened my up in that stay. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. We made new friends, had Christmas parties with family in our hospital room, saw Santa in our room.
I'm not saying all this to complain. I just needed a moment to get out all these feelings. We barely made it home that Christmas. But I am so glad that we did. It was our last Christmas as a family of 5. It hard sometimes to remember the three rules I tell myself all the time. Every day. 1. Get up 2. Show up 3. Dress up
When I need a day to get myself together I let it happen. Today has been that day. The kids and I have baked all day. We have flour and bowls and choc. chips everywhere. The 13th of December will always be hard but it gives room for the 25th to be so great. Don't forget to love your loved ones this Christmas. Its not about gifts or cookies for that matter. Its about saying I love you. I need you in my life. You have made a difference in my life. I appreciate you. Hug you kids. For crying out loud, if it weren't for my two kids I would not be here. If I was I wouldn't be half put together like I am now. I have this friend who has known me longer than my husband. We used to work together. She has a sister and she has been very ill. My friend told me that she has not been much of a believer in God but the last month watching her sister go through all she has, she knows God's been there.
I leave you with this:
I must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God. Even though the journey is long, and I know the road is hard. The one that has gone before me, he will help me to carry on. And now I know the truth. I must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God. Mountain of God~Third Day
Written Oct 8, 2013 12:12pmTo Everyone whose lost someone they loved, long before it was their time. You feel like the days you had were not enough when you said good-bye. And to all of the people with burdens and pains keeping you back from your life. You believe that there is nothing and there is no one that can make it right.
There is hope for the helpeless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken heart, there is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, that will meet you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus.
For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on, that have lost all of their faith and love, they've done all they can do to make it right again, still its not enough. For the ones that can't break the addictions and chains, try to give it up ,but you come back again. Just remember that you're not alone in your shame and suffering.
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken heart. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, that meets you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus.
When you're lonely, and it feels like the whole world is falling on you. You just reach out, you just cry out to JESUS, Cry to Jesus.
To the widow who suffers from being alone. Wiping the tears from her eyes. For the children around the world without a home, say a prayer tonight.
There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken heart. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, that meets you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus. Cry out to Jesus.
~Cry out to Jesus, From my favorite band~Third Day
I said I wasn't going to do this but I am anyways. I wanted to tell all of our family and close friends by phone first...but I am so full right now if I don't get this out of my system I am going to lose more sleep than I already have. But before I do, this song just gets it. Doesn't it. My hearts been broken for a couple of years now. I can't get back to that old Tosha. I look at photos and happier times when I was a tad younger. Like when I graduated High School. I still remember the day. I was carefree. When I moved to Florida with Ben. Not knowing him for very long. I packed up a few things to fit in his 89' camaro. His pride and joy. Literally, I only took a few bags. But I was excited. Happy to leave this small town(then it was a small town) for bigger and better things. I had just started my grooming career. Our first apartment was nothing fancy and Ben and I slept on an air mattress for a very long time until we finally were given a bed. Ben worked for an assisted living place and that is where most of our furniture came from. Hand me downs. We were so young. 18 and 19. Babies. I had Jake when I was 19. We were terrified. But determined we were going to be great parents. Marriage and babies, we thought life was going to be easy. It was for awhile. Then life happened. Struggles with advancement in jobs, me being a boss for awhile to a large salon, moving back to Indiana. Ben going to tech schools. Having Jonathan, marriage struggles. family drama, dogs peeing on the floor, you name it, we've probably been through the majority of stuff and have only been together for 10 years. Jake having cancer was devastating, but Wow....we learned ssssooo much. I learned to say, "no" I learned to put my kids first before jobs and wealth and advancement. I learned to value each day. And you can't explain to people the day to day of cancer. It is what it is. Filled with surgeries, chemo, radiation, drugs, lots and lots of drugs. oxygen, hospice, hospitals, throw up, constipation, hallucinations, fear, anger, resentment, hope, joy, tears, pain. You feel it, you walk through it, every day is not like the other. Jake was lucky in the part that he reached out of his suffering and pain and conquered this world. Taught hundreds of thousands of people to give back. To love each other and to be there for each other even if that means stopping, buying a pillow pet, and donating it to a child that needed to know they were loved and not forgotten.Then the end of his life came and I had to say goodbye for now. Holding him in my arms I still feel that moment. That moment that I knew there was going to be no more days of heating up frozen shrimp in the microwave. no more drugs, no more hugs and love from my oldest boy. No more pain. No more pain. There is not enough days. Those final days.
Having to do the memorial service just about did me in. I remember singing but it went by in a blur. I remember the Super Baskets of Hope, delivering all those pillow pets to sick kids, always be in my heart.
Selling our old house. Moving to my grandparents farm. Helping heal Gracie's heart from losing her brother has been no easy task. I think she has aged to 13.Watching Jonathan grow into a handsome clone of his older brother. Ben and I learning to stop holding our breath and learning to live again. Its been hard. We have fought. We have yelled. Well, I've yelled. He tells me not to yell. Sometimes there is nothing that makes me feel better than to yell and cry at the same time and stomp my foot. Ben says when I am mad at him my lip quivers and loves to point it out when it happens. Doesn't help things either. We have learned to give each other space when we are having an off day. We have learned that grief is an added family member. it will always be with us. Jake was just that special of a kid. The kids, every day includes hugs for two people and safety for one. "Please give Jake and hug Mark a hug and please keep Uncle Brendan safe." Every prayer.
Next on the list is....we are moving. AGAIN!!! We are moving to Florida in December. In two months y'all. We are terrified. Really really nervous. We have prayed and prayed. Gracie had a 20 minute prayer at the dinner table one night. Please help us find a nice house and jobs and a yard. And on and on. All the doors just seem to have slammed shut for us up here. We have looked at houses but none of them fit. We have been offered different things but none seem to be ok. If we have to pull the kids out of this school district and start over an hour from here why not just pack up and move 1300 hundred miles away. I mean the McConahay crew have never done anything half way, right?
My heart and brain have been conflicting on all this. I don't want to leave some of the people I love. It is hard to invest yourself in so much and so many people and leave. It feels like a bad break up. I have been so conflicted that I dream at night and I try to sort through all of it in my sleep. So when I wake up I still feel exhausted. Or I stay up and think about this person and that person. What will he do if I leave? Like me being here is going to make or break anyone but its that thought that I am close just in case they might call and need me. Its been so bad that someone I dearly loved, who passed away, visited me in my dreams and told me it was ok to move. I know that's weird but it sure helped me. I was in the middle of this debate and I had this dream that all these family members were in this room and I went to each one and told them we were leaving and why. And he just stopped me and took me to this log cabin type house in the mountains. There were all these brown labs, which he loved, and a fireplace with his chair that he always sat in, he told me to sit. He told me to just quit all this nonsense of questioning myself and doubting, I am good enough, I will be fine, Jake is fine, I can't stay in this town just because of all the memories. I can't go to Riley just to sit outside the cancer unit thinking he is going to come out. Its not going to happen. Jake is gone, he isn't coming back. He is happy. I couldn't make him more happier if he was here. I sat on this warm leather couch, with this big ol' brown lab, he had his head on my lap and I just sat and pet his head, I felt like I was in a counseling session, which is what I used to do with him the year after Jake passed. He never counselled really, he told stories, he asked questions to make me think. He said I helped him but money couldn't have bought what he gave me. I used to listen to his stories, stories of being in the Navy and stories of when he got married, stories of the boys, the dogs, his job. He let me know I was loved. The day that I married Ben he came up to me and told me I was the prettiest bride he had ever seen besides his own wife. That is big shoes to fill. I needed to know if I left here that everyone is going to be ok. no man left behind type of thing. IF I could take everyone I wanted to that would be great. Just let me go down and find a big enough town to fit us all. This special person gave me the ok. At the end of my dream, I felt a lot better, I felt like I was at home and if that was what a peak of Heaven is like I hope it is like that. I big rustic cabin with overstuffed leather couches and chairs and a big fireplace, with dogs and people I love. He told me he would continue to watch over my Jacob. And I know that he will. If I trusted Jesus enough to tell Jake that when he died he wouldn't be looking into my eyes any longer he would be looking into Jesus eyes and holding his hands. If I had enough trust and faith to do that and to watch it happen and to hear him say he saw Jesus, Then why is it so hard to have faith and trust to pack up and move 1300 miles away and start over. Its hard. But Its the same thing. I am going to rock this life that I have been given. I have stuff to offer. I am going to move to Florida and see what a difference we can make down there. The town Ben and I have been looking into has a children's hospital in it. The sky is the limit. Did I want to leave yet, NO. Did I want to go out like this, NO but when God slams all doors shut, there is no magic key that is going to open it back up. Not unless you want to be miserable. And I am done with that. Mark gave me peace in that dream. My family and Ben's family will be ok. Our friends will remain friends. The things we have accomplished here we will do down there. And when we come back to visit. "Watch out" Cuz you haven't seen nothing yet.
CRY OUT TO JESUS AND HE WILL GIVE YOU REST!!
See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to a place I have prepared for you.