Linda, A Mother’s Ultimate and Unconditional Love
Linda wanted to be a mom from as early as she could remember. Coming from a large family, she knew she not only wanted to be a mom but also wanted her children to experience the joys of being part of a large and faithful family. Her dream of becoming a mom was fulfilled when she welcomed her first child, a daughter in 1981. Over the course of the next 15 years, her prayer for a large family was answered. Linda would have 3 daughters from a previous marriage and when she married her second husband, Allen, she would lovingly welcome 3 step-daughters into her life. Her and Allen would go on to have 2 more daughters together. Girls! Girls! Girls!
Kimberly, Linda’s second eldest daughter, was just like her mom. She too yearned to be a mother- she had a pretty good role model. Kim’s sister, Sarah remembers that when they were growing up, Kim just loved kids. “She was always the person to call when the neighbors needed a babysitter. Every time we played house she was the mom; every time we played school she was the teacher. She always had this motherly instinct.”
So when the Kim shared the news she was pregnant and was having a girl, the family rejoiced! Kim was going to finally be a mommy!
On June 2 2011, Kim went into labor and rested at home to save her energy for the delivery. Her labor progressed well and her family was impressed by her calmness despite this being her first child. She was a natural!
What ensued with only a few pushes left caught everyone by surprise. Kim turned to Linda and said, “I can’t breathe.” Kim repeated herself again and then went into cardiac arrest. The medical staff responded immediately and Sophie was quickly removed and unharmed.
Kim suffered an amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) and began the fight of her life. The damage to her brain brought on by acute hypoxia would leave her in a persistent vegetative state or a state of reduced cognition. Once stabilized, Kim was flown by helicopter to a brain injury treatment center that specializes in brain injuries such as hers.
AFE Foundation Executive Director, Miranda Klassen, remembers the moment she received the call from Kim’s aunt Donna. “It was a difficult conversation and heartbreaking to learn of what had happened. Having had previous knowledge of brain injuries, we knew it was going to be a marathon recovery, not a sprint.” A week later, Miranda traveled to visit Kim in the hospital to spend time with Linda, Allen and her extensive family. Together, they discussed a variety of options. Recognizing the cost associated with the care Kimberly needed, the AFE Foundation quickly stepped in to provide support both logistically and financially. Miranda recalls, “we were able to find a suitable home for Linda and Sophie to stay in while Kimberly received specialized care at a facility hours away from their home.” Allen remained at home taking care of their other children.
Linda and Sophie spent two months away while Kimberly received various medications and with hopes it would help bring her to a greater state of consciousness. Sadly, the medications did not yield the results everyone had wanted. They headed home defeated.
Linda and Allen quickly had to assess Kimberly’s medical needs and together they decided they would care for Kimberly in their home. However, there home was not suitable for all of the equipment needed. Allen, a general contractor, found a home in need of major renovation and was able to turn it into a perfect and customized home that could accommodate Kimberly and Sophie!
Linda has never left Kimberly’s side from that very moment in the delivery room until now, 4 years later. She has taken on the role of nurse and manages all of Kim’s daily needs. She has also helped raise Sophie and helped her better understand her mommy’s condition. Linda loves to shares stories with Sophie about Kim’s childhood.
Kim has overcome seemingly immeasurable odds. Doctors attribute it to Linda’s constant care. She has been a tireless advocate for Kim from rehabilitation, to nutrition, to patient and disability rights; she has been Kim’s greatest champion. Kim is no longer in a persistent vegetative state but is now considered semi-conscious. She can respond to commands, and is working on swallowing by enjoying yummy whip cream! She is alert and gaining more strength each week. Linda says her favorite is seeing Kim smile or laugh.
Last June when a golf tournament was being held in memory of another mother lost to AFE, Linda decided it was time for Kim to have her first overnight outing. They made the 4 hour drive and everything went so well. Kim’s vital signs indicated she was relaxed showing Linda she was able to travel! That afternoon, so many who have been touched by AFE loved on Linda, Kim and Sophie. Despite all of the obvious suffering there was tremendous joy in so many hearts that afternoon. There was also a deep respect for everything Linda has endured as a mother. Her strength and resilience are nothing short of super-human.
Today, on Mother’s Day, we are especially honored to share Linda’s touching story and show others the finest example of unconditional love. Happy Mother’s Day Linda and Kim. You are in our hearts forever!