Annette was born in September of 1992. She was the second of our 4 children. Soon after birth, it became obvious that we were given the gift of a special needs child. She had a genetic syndrome that was never named, maybe it is just a one in a trillion thing or at the very least, does not have enough identifying characteristics to give it a name. She was able to grow into adulthood. She functioned at about the level of a 3-year old child. She had a funny sense of humor and would get a dirty smirk on her face when she knew that she was funny. Annette loved animals, cats and dogs being her favorite to watch. She loved to go places, always ready to go to the next adventure. She could spot the golden arches far ahead of anyone else. The next time you see a McDonalds, stop by, and order a strawberry shake or some fries and enjoy them for her!
As the years went by, Annette started to have behavioral issues and as such, we were unable to care for her anymore at home. She also was plagued with seizures. At times she would have many a day and sometimes could go a few weeks without one. The last year it was not fun to be Annette. The seizures became more frequent and she lived 1½ hours from us so we could not visit her as often as we would have liked.
On September 25, we received a call that Annette had 15 seizures and was in the hospital. She ended up having aspiration pneumonia. That night she was put on a ventilator. The doctors and nurses did everything they could. We had hope for a few days that Annette was making positive strides. It was not meant to be. On October 10, it was realized that one of her lungs had collapsed. The doctors did their best to re-inflate it. Nothing worked. On the morning of October 11, her doctor came over, with tears in his eyes and said, “I’ve tried everything. I’m so sorry”. At 4 pm that day support was removed. Annette looked so beautiful. She was at peace. There was nothing hooked up to her. She was sedated to keep her pain to a minimum. She held on through the night. At 5:55 am on October 12, Annette’s heart stopped beating. Both Daddy and Mama were with her. Daddy was reading to her; Mama was holding her hand.
When we realized that our daughter’s days on this earth were coming to an end, one of our questions to the doctors, nurses and social workers was if any of our daughter’s organs, eyes or tissue could be donated. We had hoped that her death would enable others to live a better life. We are so happy that others have been given the chance to regain their vision, or at least make it better. Even through our sadness, we are so happy that through her cornea recipients, our daughter lives on. It is a huge comfort to us.