Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

We made it home!!!!

This picture was after our arrival to the Salt Lake Airport
as we reunited with our family on Wed afternoon.

The hustle and bussel of packing to come home, saying goodbye to our friends at Lucille Packard (CVICU nurses & docs, 3 West nurses, and the transplant team), saying goodbye to some of our friends in Palo Alto, taking care of Mason's last appointments and gathering all of his information to bring back to his doctors in Salt Lake........left me little time to get emotional. But after boarding the plane, wiping down our area w/ clorox wipes, and getting Mason comfortable for the flight, my tears began to flow almost for the entire 1 hour and 30 minute flight HOME.

Two days shy of five months ago Mason and I had said goodbye to our family not knowing how long it would be until we returned. Mentally I had prepared myself for 12 months ("hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" ........ and 12 months is not even near the worst length of time that families have relocated to wait for an organ transplant). As we had said goodbye at the security gate that night the fear of the unknown got the best of me. My tears began then and continued for several days. At times I would muster up enough faith to hold my composure, but spent many times a day on my knees pleading to my Heavenly Father to reassure me that I had made the right choice for our Mason . I would plead in my heart praying to my Father Above through out the whole day to comfort my family at home, to help them know that even though I'd left them temporarily to help Mason, I still LOVE them just as much and more!

You all saw the ups and downs of this Transplant Chapter of Mason's "Broken Heart Journey", but yet witnessed with me the miraculous way everything just fell into place. You have truly witnessed with me MANY tender mercies of our Lord sent down upon Mason and our family. I know with certainty that the Lord's hand was there preparing and making Mason's new chance at life possible. He was there during Mason's surgery calming the hands and minds of his surgeon and doctors to be very precise in all they did.

As I cried tears of joy and victory on our flight home. As I cried tears of gratitude for blessings of miracles that have been gifted upon my sweet baby. As I cried with excitement to go HOME to our family.......I began to cry for our special donor family who at this time I'm sure still mourns the loss of their dear child. Here I was crying with happiness that Mason had beat the odds and I was bringing him HOME a new beautiful healthy heart, and some where out there our donor family still cries because they miss their angel who has gone home to heaven. I said a prayer to help comfort this wonderful family, as well as thanking Him who made all this possible. Him who carried me at times of complete exhaustion and heart break. Him who has been so good to me.

Here are a few more pictures from our preparation
and arrival to our Home Sweet Home:

I borrowed a scale at the RMH so I wouldn't go over the 50 lb
weight limit this time. Mason was so excited to sit on it and
scoot around the floor with it just like he use to at HOME.

We came home to a huge sign on the garage from a dear friend,

signs made and put up by my darling and excited kids,

and the outside of the house and yard adorned with
yellow ribbons and balloons (Thank you Vick family).
What a great welcome back and homecoming!!!

If I tried to thank everyone who has helped our family the last 5 months (well, really the last 31 & 1/2 months since Mason was born) I don't think I could fit the list in my blog! Seriously, there have been so many family members, friends, neighbors, church members, and strangers who have served us in various ways I wouldn't even know where to begin. But, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING and most of all for your PRAYERS and LOVE!

I will try to update about Mason's progress at least once a week.

Goodbye, until next time.


Jenny Lincoln said...

How wonderful! I'm so happy for your family that you are all finally reunited. Will always keep Mason in our thoughts and prayers.
Heart hugs,
Jenny (mom to Aly-HLHS)

Emily@Little Forever Family said...

Welcome home Stricklands, welcome home. The journey has been long and I know that although it is far from over, this is a huge step in developing some normalcy into your lives. :)

Bob and Joan said...

So excited to see you safe at home! This has been a long journey but hopefully this will be your most difficult chapter in the book they call life. With your husband near by and your children to also give love to you and Mason there is going to be a lot of sunshine. Thank you for making it possible to learn of and pray for Mason and his angel heart and the family who blessed you. We will not forget them.

Traci Bulkley said...

Tears of joy for your family! What a miracle to be all back together again. You are such an inspiration to me. On the really hard days I think of Mason being 3 1/2 and know that it is possible. He gives me hope for Maddox. Thanks for sharing his story, the ups and downs with us. Here's hoping for no sickies!!

She Made Mention said...

I am so happy for you and for your family. Mason is so lucky to have you all. You have been so deeply blessed and I am so very happy for you! So nice of you to think of the donor child and his/her family! You are incredible and I can't wait to finally meet you all.
much love,

Mindi said...

So full of joy for you. You did it! And you did it in faith. Well done.

We all know the journey is not over. We will be close by watching and praying that the Lord continues to unfold miracle after miracle for your family.

Mindi and McKay

The mom of 4 monkeys! said...

Yay, this is one of the most wonderful posts I have ever read! I pray for Mason all the time and will continue!
Thank you God for getting Mason and his mommy safely home to the rest of their family with a new healthy heart!

Kyle and Alli said...

YAY YAY YAY!!!! We are so excited for you guys. I can't even imagine what the flight attendants thought of Mason with his mask and his sweet mama crying the whole flight home. :) I would have been doing the exact same thing. I hope that you continue to have all of the help you will need at home since Mason still needs to much of your precious time. We won't stop our prayers in your behalf, but we are so glad that Mason's story has a sweet homecoming right now!!!

Skye is the Limit! said...

What a beautiful family and an amazing homecoming!! I am so glad we found your blog, and look forward to keeping a close eye on you all <3 Keep smiling!!

Becca said...

Welcome Home sweet Mason!!! I am so glad to see him doing so good. Thanks for letting us in on the Miracles!

Stefenie said...

Welcome home. What an amazing journey it has been for all of you. I'm saying many prayers that your homecoming will be one filled with so many happy times together and very few speed bumps.....praying for NO speed bumps too!!

Kimmie said...


Jamie said...

What a beautiful post, Summer. Your gratitude and humility is so very inspirational. I'm SO happy for you and your family! Being reunited with family is such a great feeling, but I couldn't imagine how amazing it would feel after such a long and difficult battle. I'm so happy for you guys that everything has gone so well for little Mason. We'll keep praying for him!

Angies Support Team said...

Your house it absolutly beautiful! So happy to hear that you guys are home! breath taking! So awesome :) yay!

Keri said...

So so so happy for you, Sumer girl. I can't imagine how much you must have missed your others, and are so grateful for Miracles for Mason. I will still be thinking of you and praying for you.
I love you tons!

Michelle said...

You did it! You did it! And while this journey will still continue... you have climbed a huge mountain. Welcome to the top! Summer, you are such a good example to me. An example of faith, the power of prayer, knowledge of Heavenly Father and His divine role for Mason and your family. You are an example of the perfect mother. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

:) I am so happy that you two are home now! :) I look forward to hearing from you still and being uplifted by your little Mason.

Summer said...

My own tears are flowing. What a joy to pop on here and read this. God Bless all of you. What wonderful news.
Please do keep us posted on how things are going.
I will continue to keep you all in my prayers to the Heavenly Father.
What a blessing Mason is!!!
Summer Vlietstra

Mindi D said...

What an amazing journey for your family! Thanks for sharing it with all of us! You guys are awesome! Emjoy being home!!

madelyn said...

Home, sweet home! I'm glad you are all reunited. May the rest of the summer be filled with joy, laughter and love as you settle into your 'new normal.'

♥Stef said...

I can't imagine how good it feels to be home! I am so glad this part of Mason's adventure is over. What a miracle!

Shirleen said...

Summer, your testimony and faith have permanently touched my heart. Wish your family the best of everything. It's been my privilege to know you and Mason. Thank YOU!