Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Meal Hope

john and i spoke with a counselor for the first time a couple weeks ago and she was so gentle, gracious and loving. she validated our pain. even though i hesitated to go (because what could she possibly say to make me feel better?)... i was so glad we did.

while we were there, somehow the topic of friends and family came up, and particularly their reactions and responses to grief - our grief, as well as their own. and she said something that i hadn't thought of before. she said one of the reasons that people sometimes draw away from someone else's tragedy is because it is a stark reminder that tragedy is, not only possible, but could happen to them.

if it happened to the butlers, it could happen to me.

we are every parent's worst nightmare.

so they hide. they escape. they don't let themselves think about it.

it reminds me of when noah was in the hospital and one of our friends posted a link on facebook to our story and encouraged others to read it and pray for noah. and one of their friends, who i didn't know, commented on their post saying something like, "oh my God that is terrifying. my daughter is about to have her first baby, so i can't read that right now."

like our situation was a contagious disease that could be caught or something.

but thankfully i had friends and family who, in the face of fear and terror, stepped into the sh*t with us.... unlike that idiotic lady who could just look the other way and continue on with her blissful, pain free life.

and one of those people who's doing the hard journey with us is my college bestie.

during the most hellish time in my life, this was a friend who is there...every step of the way. she sent me flowers when i went into labor. she was one of the first people to meet noah on his first day of life. she brought her laptop to the starbucks in seattle children's hospital and camped out there all afternoon, just in case we needed her or wanted to vent. she would drop whatever she was doing to drive to wherever we were to pray with us when we were in despair. she was on our doorstep, along with another bestie, the day after noah passed away. they even helped coordinate details for noah's memorial when our brains couldn't even function. she was one of our lifesavers.

and she did all of this while pregnant. pregnant.

she told me later that someone asked her, "how can you experience all of that horror firsthand? be so close to something so awful? that could literally happen to you. isn't that too scary to witness?" and you know what this rockstar of a girl said, "i just pretty much forgot i was pregnant." she put her own self aside...that's what she did. she's one of the most selfless people i know.

her precious baby girl was born a few days ago and for months i wasn't sure if i'd be able to go to the hospital to visit. i wanted to. i wanted to more than anything. but i was scared. it was the exact same hospital noah was born in. the one i spent four nights imprisoned in, separated from my boy, because of my dangerously high blood pressure. the place where i experienced my greatest joy and my darkest nightmare.

i was afraid if i went back i would have a nervous breakdown. that i would cry. that i would make a fool of myself.

that i would miss noah even more, and my broken heart would break beyond repair. 

but because she showed up for us and put her fears aside, she inspired me to do the same. so i went. (but not before i had a minor freak out in the hall and almost didn't go through the hospital door.)

it was very difficult to step into that room.

but like almost everything in life, it wasn't as bad as i thought. my friend was gracious. (of course she was.) her baby was gorgeous. (of course she was.)

and i saw a glimmer of hope. (of course i did.)

hope in the form of a mcdonald's happy meal. 

this beaut is what caught my eye when i sat down in my friend's hospital room, as i held her day-old baby. 

and with a million awful memories flooding my mind, that little unassuming, leftover meal snuck in a happy one.

i love the wizard of oz and i love rainbows.

a reminder that dreams really do come true. and they aren't all nightmares.


  1. Thanks for continuing to share and let us in on your and john's journey.

  2. Blessings on your head, McCayla. You are a good-hearted and courageous woman, and you're going to come through this. It has changed and will change you (of course it has! of course it will!) but who you are at your core will only grow stronger and more beautiful because of it.

  3. You're so blessed to have a friend like that, and so brave for going back to the hospital. I continue to pray for you guys.