This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.

From this point forward, I’m going to be sharing the text of posts as they were written at the time. Some will come from this blog; others, from our CaringBridge site. I may from time to time write my own reflections after re-reading, but mostly I will just be sharing words as they were written. So much of this journey for me is revisiting what happened, and realizing just how difficult the journey was for us. And now, seeing how far we’ve come since that time.

Looks like I actually got ahead of the calendar, so we are back to one post per day. I will still be combining posts from a few days, especially since towards the end of Samantha’s life, the posts got shorter. We spent more time focusing on being present with her. In addition, as she slipped away, there was less and less to share with friends and family. We are headed into the final weeks now.

This post marks the beginning of the last week of our daughter’s earthly life. The summer of 2011 brought lots of wildfires to Texas, which is why there weren’t fireworks displays. Everything was far too dry for it to be safe.

Journal entry by Stephanie Pittock — Jul 3, 2011

Sammy had a pretty good morning today – quiet, mostly sleeping. Aunt Allison, Micaiah, and Nana stayed home with us. We just hung out and waited for the rest of the family to come home from church. This afternoon/evening has been more difficult for her. We spent some time with her on oxygen to help with her breathing, the first time in several days we’ve done that at a time other than at night. Right now she’s doing ok. The oxygen seems to help calm her down and slow her breathing. I think when she gets more oxygen with each breath it makes it easier for her. I also had to check on some of her medicines, since we haven’t had a nurse visit since Wednesday and I realized with the holiday tomorrow we might end up running short. Thankfully hospice took care of things and had the medicine she needs brought to us by courier. If our situation wasn’t so awful I might start feeling spoiled by that kind of treatment!

Last night I found myself overwhelmed by sadness about what is happening to our little girl. Every day we get with her is such a blessing, but eventually those days will stop, and we will be left with our sadness. We get so much encouragement from all of you for having strong faith and being able to share so much, but the truth is that when I stop to really think about the fact that our little girl is dying, I fall apart. So I spend each day plugging away at whatever needs to be taken care of, or I tune out reality by watching television or playing games on my phone. Or I just hold my little girl and soak up every second in wrapping her little fingers around mine, smelling her hair, kissing her face, and talking to her. We encourage her daily, sometimes hourly to go home to Jesus. Yet I find myself hoping that she will stay a little longer with us. And so far she is still here.

One of her doctors from the hospital visited our church this morning. He told Travis he was so surprised to hear that Samantha was still with us. She is such a little fighter, and she seems to truly love this life. Yet I know that she cannot go on forever like this. She has lost so much weight this week and her breathing is more and more difficult. And I do not want her to suffer. We pray constantly for the healing that comes with heaven. And I find myself wishing that the healing could have come in this life, and asking questions that have no answers, questions that begin with “why?”

Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of our nation. In a lot of ways, I am kind of thankful that the drought in Texas has caused all of the local fireworks displays to be cancelled, because we would have had to miss it anyway. We will wait to see if tomorrow will be another day to celebrate with Samantha in this life, or to celebrate that she has moved on into the next.

Journal entry by Stephanie Pittock — Jul 4, 2011

Just a quick post tonight via my phone. Sammy is not doing well tonight – lots of junk in her throat and lungs. We’ve suctioned her several times and now have her on oxygen. It could be very soon (although she keeps surprising us and rallying).

Thank you for your prayers and support during this entire journey. We know the end is just around the corner, somewhere out of sight.

Journal entry by Stephanie Pittock — Jul 5, 2011

Another quick phone post. Sammy’s care is taking more of our time in the evenings because it is when breathing becomes the most difficult for her. Lots of suctioning and breathing treatments and we’re putting her on oxygen just after dinner.

The nurse came today which was great. We missed her a lot. Samantha woke up a bit for her and then for a while this evening. She keeps hanging on. But her heart rate and respirations have slowed significantly. Another sign that the end is near, yet she is still with us.

Next post coming tomorrow.