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From a shocking death to a miracle birth, here's another example of the unusual twists and turns of life
Stephanie DeNicola-Turner, Emily on first Mother's Day.
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By Cathy Dyson
Stephanie, who lives in Albemarle County and works in Culpeper, emailed recently to say she's been through grief similar to what I've written about since my father died last year.
Her mother died on New Year's Eve 2010, after struggling with chronic
At one point, things were so bad for Stephanie's mom she wouldn't leave home for fear her oxygen tank would run out. She was on a list for a double-lung transplant, and her family worried that she'd get too weak and sick to survive an operation.
But in late October 2010, her mom, who lived in the Queens borough of New York City, underwent the 14-hour operation.
"Much to the surprise of the doctors, she came through well," Stephanie wrote.
By Thanksgiving and Christmas, her mother was recovering at an amazing rate. On a given morning, she'd talk about showering, making the bed and fixing breakfast--things that used to take hours. She even resurrected a long-abandoned tradition and visited an uncle to ring in the new year with him.
"Five hours later, my dad called with horrific news," Stephanie said. "While laughing at my uncle's, my mom had gotten up and collapsed. She was pronounced dead when the EMTs arrived."
I can't imagine what that must have been like for her family. Why did she come so close to death and survive an arduous operation, only to die when she seemed so alive again?
Stephanie's story doesn't end at the grave site.
She and her husband, Chad, had been trying for about three years to have a baby. Stephanie has rheumatoid arthritis, and she'd stopped taking her medicine for the disease while trying to get pregnant.
When she saw her mom at Christmas, her mother noticed how "out of control" Stephanie's body was without the medication. She encouraged her to get back on the regimen--and consider adoption.
"Following the grief of the services and medical bills, I completely forgot about getting pregnant," Stephanie said. "It was the last thing I could think about."
You know what's next.
Stephanie found out in mid-February she was pregnant, and after a difficult pregnancy and delivery, gave birth to a baby girl, Emily, on Oct. 7, 2011.
"She is our miracle," Stephanie said.
Even though both her parents have brown eyes, little Emily got her grandmother's blue-gray ones. I'm sure Stephanie is reminded of her mother every time she looks at her daughter.
I can't imagine how bittersweet that is, knowing that her mother will live on in her daughter while also realizing her mother never got the chance to hold or rock her sweet granddaughter.
"Grief returns to me in surprising places," Stephanie said, "when Emily woke up with her first cold, had her first smile, crawled."
Life is filled with unusual twists and turns, no doubt.
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425