By Kaelinne Daniel
At 28 weeks pregnant, my husband and I learned our daughter was very sick with a congenital heart defect. We were told they weren’t sure what the future held for her, but we knew we would fight by her side and not give up.
On September 3, 2014, Scout Nicole Daniel, entered our world. Scout filled the room with the sweetest cry I have ever heard, and then within seconds, she was whisked away to NICU to be intubated. At just five days old, Scout had open heart surgery where they discovered more complications. At that moment, I thought wheeling my baby to have a major surgery would be the hardest thing we would go through, but I was wrong. For me, watching my daughter trying to recover from open heart surgery was definitely the hardest.
For 73 days, my husband and I sat beside Scout’s bedside praying she would recover. We watched as her cardiac team rushed to her side twice, as she coded before our eyes. Scout was so sick. It seemed like it was daily that they were finding more and more wrong with our perfect little beauty. There were so many times that I asked Scout to keep fighting because I needed her, and she did just that.
On the worst day of our lives, November 15, 2014, we held our youngest daughter as she forever fell asleep in our arms. I told her how proud I was of her, and how she was my hero. I sang You Are My Sunshine as she made her journey to Heaven, and I told her it was okay to go. I couldn’t stop kissing her sweet face and telling her how much I loved her.
The moment we were told her heart was no longer beating, my world came to a stand-still. What was going to happen now? My youngest daughter had just died, and now I was expected to go out into the world and carry on with life. In my mind, there was no possible way I could do this.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
In order to take back my life, I had to find meaning as to why this all happened to Scout and our family. As I sat and thought about Scout and her beautiful life, it all started to come together. Every day I prayed for Scout. I prayed she would be healed and she would no longer experience any pain and suffering. I prayed that I could take her place, and that Scout would be spared from the pain. My prayers were answered, just not in the way I had imagined them to be. You see, my baby is now pain free, in Heaven, and I am the one suffering. I am full of the pain, living without my Scouty here on earth, and that’s okay. It’s okay because I would rather be the one suffering instead of my child. That’s my job as her mom. That was a huge moment for me.
Once I realized this, it has been easier for me to move forward in life without Scout. However, moving forward brings guilt that I am still trying to overcome. Initially, I thought moving forward meant that I was betraying Scout, but that’s not the case. Moving forward is a step I need to take in order to be a good mom to Scout’s brother and sisters. I also have to move forward in order to be a good wife. I never want my living children or husband to think I just rolled over and gave up on life after we lost Scout. I want to show my children that we can overcome the worst things thrown at us and become better people because of it. I want their lives to be richer because of the life we have lived. I want them to find faith, and know their sister is okay in Heaven. All of this can not happen if Mommy is wallowing in despair.
That means I have to come out of this fire, and celebrate Scout’s life in every way possible. I’ve learned that if I celebrate Scout and speak of her daily, she will always be with us. I will forever have random, bad days because I am a grieving mom who misses her Scouty so badly that I physically hurt. That’s what love feels like when you lose one of the most important people in your life.
Some may say that Scout’s life was cut short, but I honestly believe in my heart that Scout lived a full and beautiful life. I thought my hopes and dreams I had for my daughter died with her that November day, but they didn’t. As long as I live, she will live on. She will live on through her siblings and every life she has touched. She was the strongest and bravest person I have ever met, and I wouldn’t change anything about our journey. Scout was chosen for me for a reason. I learn daily why she is my daughter and I feel so blessed that she is mine. If I were given the opportunity to start over and avoid the heartache, I wouldn’t. I am head over heels in love with my daughter and will continue to share Scout’s love to anyone and everyone. I am rising above the pain and heartache so I can live a happy life in Scout’s memory.
Man, I love that little girl. Who knew such a small one, who had the most beautiful eyes, could change the world? But she did, and she will continue to. I love you Scout Nicole, and you will forever be my hero.
Kaelinne Daniel is a 34-year-old mother of four beautiful children here on earth and one beauty who plays in Heaven. In Scout’s memory, her family has started a project called, Scout’s Love. You can find out more about Scout’s Love at the website, on Facebook, or on Instagram.