A journal of daily lessons that I am learning and passing on as a result of writing and selling my books as well as being an employer.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Rest in Peace Dawon
(Dawon in Reddish Blouse)
I met her when she was about 7 years old. During some of our visits to the south, I saw her maybe 3 times. Whenever we came to town, she was somewhere else like Little Rock. Her parents had broken up. Even though dad was constantly in contact, we weren’t. I saw Dawon again 1 year ago. We were in town for the Fourth of July. We sat at the dining room table of my mother and law and talked for hours. She was so proud of her children and showed me so many pictures of them in her cell phone. We talked about her job and what she wanted to do with her life.
Fast forward 1 year. She contacted her uncle and said, “I have leukemia and I want to come and stay with you. Washington University accepted me to help me find a bone marrow donor.” We said it was okay. For the next three months she came in and out of town and we took her back and forth for all kinds of tests. I invited her to go to church with me and asked our elders to pray for her. Our pastor was out of town. The elders (5 of them) circled her and prayed for her. A couple weeks later, Washington University found not one donor but 5. I had never heard of a person finding five, it’s hard to get one. I told her, “You’re in good hands. Barnes Hospital is #8 in the country for what you have.” She flew in to get her transplant, all went well. The hospital wanted her to stay in St. Louis for about 6 weeks to monitor her. She wanted to get back to her children. She missed them. My husband and I did all we could to convince her to stay. She was going against the doctor’s orders to leave. They gave her a list of do’s and don’ts. I was there. You must wear a mask; you must take these immune pills. These are very important to your surviving. Please do these things! You must do them. The nurse hammered on why! You could catch a disease, get Gravis Host disease. She assured them. “I will take them.”
One month later, Dawon was helicoptered back to St. Louis from Little Rock. She was in critical condition. She was in ICU for 2 weeks. When we inquired we were told the bone marrow transplant worked. “Unfortunately, your niece didn’t take her immune pills. This was critical to her survival. But we can help her. She is with the best. If she allows us to we will bring her back.” I went to see her almost every day. Dawon was refusing medication. “Why Dawon? Why won’t you take your pills? You can’t survive without them. The doctors can’t force you.” I begged her. She promised to take them. But she still refused the nurses. When I would go she would take them. “Dawon,” I said you have to take them. Why are you trying so hard to die?” “I’m not I don’t like the pills.” I would call the nurse in and she would take them. But I couldn’t be there every day, all through the day to make her take her medicine. Dawon was 32.
I called the doctor. “Why won’t she take her medication?” The doctor said, “She is a very sick young lady and she is suffering from severe depression. What is rational to us is not to her. We have to treat the depression first, so she’ll take the medicine.”
Gravis Host is a common side effect of a bone marrow transplant. But it attacked her body in an extremely serious way. The doctor said it attacked her body more serious than they had seen. It seemed they could not heal her stomach. This infection was all over her body including her eyes and weakened her so badly. “Please fight Dawon, please! Please take your medicine.”
“No, they are trying to kill me.”
“The nurses and doctors.”
“You have the best doctors in the world. Please let them help you.”
“Okay, I’ll take my medicine.”
“Please fight for you babies.”
I have studied Depression. But I have never seen it like I saw it with Dawon. I’ve never seen a person who wanted to survive and fight but didn’t have the energy or will. In addition, the doctor said that by Dawon taking so much medicine, it made her hallucinate.
I’m sad but I am happy about one thing. I tried to call a lot of people to have them to pray for her when I saw her at her weakest. I couldn’t find anyone. But I remember when my father first got sick, my brother who is a pastor sent my family to pray with him and to ask these questions.
Do you accept God as your savior? Do you believe Jesus died to save us from sin? Do you love Him? She said yes to all three. She was lucid too. I miss Dawon. I grew to love her as a daughter. I went to see her almost daily. I prayed with her and pushed her to live. Dawon loved her children and her fiancé Rob.
Yesterday I went to visit her. As I stood there stroking her forehead, she lifted her head up and opened her eyes. It looked like she was trying to say something. I followed her eyes and they landed on her right hand. She was lifting her hand from under the cover, I grab it and we held hands. The chaplain came in and prayed. I held her hand. Her eyes were wet and tears were flowing. I left about 40 minutes later.
That was at 6:45 p.m. Monday. At 12:00 midnight we got a call that Dawon had died at 10:59 p.m. I’m so glad her children got another chance to see her. They left Sunday.
I don’t know what to do with myself. I miss taking her slushes, shaved ice, candy and chips that she never ate but requested every time she saw me. I miss taking her DVD movies that she never watched because the disease affected her eyesight. I just miss her so much. She was only 32. Everybody said there’s a testimony to this. I couldn’t find it. Today I texted my brother to let him know Dawon had died and he texted back. “You seemed to be the MVP (most valuable person) in Dawon’s life in her final days upon this earth. God had you there to comfort her and you again made the sacrifice to obey Him. You are an inspiration to me Rose. You have in you a best seller if you can only see the life you live yourself. It’s not a novel or fiction. Dawon’s greatest testimony when she sees you in Heaven will be that you were Christ to her. What I am trying to say is you practiced in her view the love she was looking for all her life, she found in you, practically a stranger. Thank you for being my sister!” Now don’t get it twisted, I understood what my brother was saying. He wasn't saying I was God. He never knew that Dawon’s mother never came to town to visit her in the hospital for whatever reasons.
I share this story with you because I don’t want people to fear transplants. Her transplant worked. It was other things that played out here. We have to help people when they are weak, check on whether they are sticking to their medication routines. Remember they are sick, they may forget to take their medicine. I believed God could have changed Dawon and healed her. He is the author of our lives and He knows our destiny. But I want to believe he healed her long enough because He wanted her to experience someone else, Him. She needed time to go to Him, she needed to hear all these prayers and she needed to confess with her own mouth she loved Him.
I offer this to you. Don’t wait until someone is sick to tell them about God. If you don’t want to talk about Him, show others his love through your action. I already miss her but I am happy she was in my life even though it was but a short time. I’m a better person because of Dawon. Sleep in Jesus, Sweetheart!
My husband Cedric and I, as well as my daughter Adeesha thank all of you for going through this with my family and praying for Dawon. Please keep her children in prayer. Thanks to my siblings and nephew Edward and Nikina and Nookie for making Dawon a part of our family.
I am an author and newspaper columnist. I love writing in all forms. I have been married 24 years and have one daughter. I have written five books but I'm most proud of "Backroom Confessions" and "A Hole in My Heart". I co authored "A Hole in My Heart" with my then fourteen year old nephew. Although I work full time I also own two companies, one is a non-profit organization and the other is a for profit business.