August 27, 2008


I went to the hospital last night with my mom. Unfortunately, our favorite lady mummy, Stephanie, was getting her bandages changed after surgery so I couldn't see her. I arrived in the Burn Unit arms loaded with letters, cards, paper balloons (with handwritten well-wishes from the Primary children in my ward) and more quotes for Christian and Stephanie's walls. When I walked in the room, Christian had his eyes wide open. My mom told me that the doctors had "extra" sedated Christian because he was moving around too much (like he wanted to get out of bed). We kind of laughed at that . . . totally Christian. He's always moving, always acting, always working. I know he's fighting really hard to be healed, which is a great sign.
Even though Christian's eyes were open, I could tell he didn't fully understand or see what was going on. As I started taping up the things I had brought, my mom and I read him some of the quotes and letters from dear friends and family. He would turn his head and look back and forth at us, as if to thank us for being there. He moved his arms high above his head as if to say, "Get me the ---- out of this bed! Can't you see I'm fine?" Sometimes he would close his eyes and nod off, I can imagine his movements took a lot of energy.
The best part of being there last night was seeing how my mom reacted to Christian's panic. She stood right next to where his eyes were looking, staring straight into his brown eyes. You can see a strong string of worry behind all the medication and Christian's eyes were wide open with worry for Stephanie and the children. I loved seeing some of that panic lessen as my mom looked directly into his eyes as she quietly whispered over and over again, "I love you Christian. You're just fine. I love you."

In the last week, I've often thought about what it would be like if I were the one in that Burn Unit and not my brother and his wife. I can't honestly say that I'm selfless enough to wish it were me instead of them but I find so much comfort in knowing that if it were me, my mom would still be right there whispering over and over again, "I love you Elizabeth. You're just fine. I love you."

I am so grateful that I have a family who will sit in a hospital waiting room for hours just to hear news from a doctor, for a brother-in-law who will always call on your birthday and leave silly, ridiculous messages on your phone, for a sister who will spend her afternoon at the Burn Unit with a magazine but not even look at it, for a brother who lives out of state but calls (and webcams) several times a week to get an update and cry together, for a sister-in-law who makes caramel corn to send to my lonely, worried brother in Germany, for a sister whose doctor husband pesters nurses and surgeons until questions are answered and for so many others. And I'm most grateful to say that I don't take any of them for granted.


  1. Liz, it was nice to read this. Is there something hindering Christian from speaking? Tubes, etc? I'm also grateful for that Mark and Sarah duo that you and I share as siblings.

  2. Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. Thank you so much for sharing such a private moment between your mom and Christian. The strength you all show is so inspiring.

    Also,I am writing in hopes that you can help get the word out for what I hope to put up on my blog tomorrow for a silent auction. My husband had won some tickets to a Diamondbacks game a while back, but took a while to tell them when we would be able to go. He finally got around to it, and we recieved them yesterday in the mail. We weren't even sure if we were going to go because the game is this coming Wednesday at 12:40 in the afternoon. When I opened the envelope I was shocked to find that they were 4 tickets to DUGOUT BOX seats valued at $125 a piece plus a pass for parking. My thoughts immediately went to Christian and Stephanie, and the recent game they went to. Then I thought this would be great to auction off. My only fear is that I won't get enough traffic to my blog, and they will go for far less than they are really worth. I would appreciate if you could say something about it on your blog so I can hopefully raise enough money worthy for Stephanie and Christian. Thanks.

  3. Emily,

    Yes, Christian and Stephanie are both intubated. I just love Mark and Sarah (and you by association!) :)


    Oh heavens! You are so thoughtful! I will most definitely put those up on my blog! Thank you! Just a thought, Design Mom (who gets insane amounts of traffic at asked that we comment on her blog if we plan to do the silent auction. She will then put a link to our blogs on Thursday saying that you can donate there. In any case, I will be happy to put those up on my blog.


  4. Elizabeth,
    you dont know me but I am a friend of your sisters Diane. I have been reading yours and Alice's blogs for months. I got brave and left a comment on Alice's blog and have been in contact with Diane. We almost made it to lunch before this all took place. I just want you to know your a such a special person and your family is amazing. I wish so much that this hadnt happened to such a wonderful family and I cry almost everyday. Your family has touched so many lives thru this tho, and I dont know of a stronger family that could go thru this. You all have touched so many lives, and will touch so many more. I know this doesnt take away the hurt and heart ache but know that those of us out here LOVE you all so much.
    Thanks for taking the time to write and keep us hoping and updated. I love your family so much.

  5. Liz, you're awesome.

    Your out-of-state brother links to Sarah, in case you want to fix that.

  6. Liz, that was a beautiful post! I love your family too. I have always felt so accepted and comfortable in your family. We're going to Bluewater this weekend for our Ballard family reunion. Let me know if there is something there that needs to be done, or brought back.


  7. that made me cry. thanks for sharing your thoughts! many prayers for you all.

  8. Liz! I can't imagine what your family is going through right now.

    I have read NieNie(along with the rest of the world) for the past year & through what has happened, I have been checking for updates all over this blogging world! I came across your blog & had never put it together that Christian is your brother! Matt & I have been praying for your family & I know you have strong family support from the Clarks & Nielsens. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING I can do. Meanwhile, I am going to put up a link for Nie.

    I'm SO GLAD I found your blog, because I love reading other updates along with CJanes & it is always fun to re-connect with people I haven't seen for years!

    Praying Daily,
    Staci Allen

  9. Thanks for sharing those precious thoughts and feelings with us about your amazing brother. I look up to the both of them and to you and your family so much. I pray for them and for your family constantly. It is amazing to see what the Lord has in store for them. What a miracle it is that they are still living from such a terrible accident. It is so incredible how much faith, hope and love everyone has for them, especially all of us that don't even know them. I will continue to pray for you guys and I just want you to know how grateful I am that we were finally able to meet each other over a year ago after all of these years of not even knowing that we were cousins! Love you Lizzy!

  10. Dear Liz-

    You are an amazing writer. It is so interesting that you say that Christian keeps trying to get out of bed. My mom did the same thing. You are exactly right when you say that it is those who want to keep moving, working and doing that are ill content in being in a restraining hospital bed. We love you and are praying for you. I'm sure that Stephanie and Christian must know that their family is there supporting and loving them as well as the spirit. It makes the atonement take on new meaning when things like this happen.


    Romans 8: 35, 38-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,...shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

  11. Liz- My husband and I are praying for you and your family.
    April (used-to-be Ashby) Standring

  12. Liz, I'm grateful to have such a wonderful sister. You are so sweet and talented and thoughtful. We truly are blessed with a great family.... I can say that without bragging because it's true. :)

    I love you Liz!

  13. Liz,

    A dear friend of mine, who was also badly burned, and had a LONG recovery, said that he could hear everything when he was where your brother is at now. He said that sometimes he was confused, but he knew who people were and could hear them talking. He wanted to talk with them, and was frustrated that he couldn't. I can imagine that it must be maddening for Christian. I am so sorry that this happened to your family. What a tragedy. If Christian is a fighter, he will get through this. The process is long and hard, but he can do it! You are all in my thoughts and prayers. P.S. I REALLY want to donate, but the Pay Pal link is not working.

  14. What a great family. Truly. Isn't it wonderful to feel so blessed amidst such adversity?

    JBrink (Alice's Friend)

  15. Liz, this is beautiful! We are so grateful for you too. You're the best!


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