Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home for Christmas

Suzanne Miller has been a member of the Hammond Police Department for 14 years. She is a sergeant police officer, and she sees “bad guys” every day. Miller often watches people make decisions that rip their families apart.

Lately, however, she has seen the other side of humanity -- the softer, gentler side. She has watched small communities bond over a five-year-old child and her miraculous story of strength and survival.

Miller’s granddaughter, Madyson, was in a car accident on Sept. 18. Her mother, registered nurse Sonya Watts, had to administer CPR at the scene of the accident to revive her. The accident left Mady in a coma for three weeks and resulted in a severe brain injury.

At first, Sonya and Brian Watts received very little hope concerning their daughter’s future. They were first told that she would die, then that she would have very little brain activity, if any, if she were to live. Now, they are celebrating that she is expected to walk out of the hospital on her own.

Miller always believed Mady would pull through. Like any other grandma would be, she was scared, but her faith never wavered. She prayed hard and clung to her family and church family at New Sharon Baptist. Her friends became her family. Strangers became family too.

“I’m emotional,” she said through tears. “I’m so grateful to everyone who has been there for us. It’s overwhelming how good people are.”

The most recent act of kindness was a fundraiser at the Loranger Volunteer Fire Department. Loranger firefighter Robert Morel Sr. and his wife Cindy, along with Wilbert and Tuffy Campbell, also of Loranger, coordinated the event that included a jambalaya dinner and bake sale.

Stores from this small community, as well as in surrounding communities and even some from out of state, donated gifts for a silent auction organized by Marianne Polmon. Eloise Sance of the Hammond Blood Center oversaw the blood drive at the event that collected around 125 pints of blood in Mady’s name, and firefighters who don’t know the Watts family were there from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. helping with the jambalaya dinner and ensuring the event ran smoothly.

“We could not have made it without the love and generosity from everyone,” Miller said. “I had one lady hand me cash and say, ‘It’s a gift from God.’ Some are giving to Mady’s bank account anonymously. People have been absolutely wonderful.”

In addition to fundraisers, Miller said Madyson is on numerous church prayer lists. Pink "A Prayer for Mady" bracelets adorn the wrists of all her supporters; even Mady is wearing one. Facebook prayer groups are growing by the day, and Sonya and Brian still receive constant messages of support.

“God gave us Mady back,” Miller said. “We’ve all learned so much from her. She’s our miracle. She’s getting stronger every day.”

Madyson’s outlook is good. Her doctors have decided that she will go home on Dec. 23, three months and five days after the accident that turned her life upside down. Her family – the blood relatives, friends and strangers who have come together during these short months – will be waiting with open arms.

“I’m most thankful to God, but I’m also thankful for Sonya,” Miller said. “She’s my hero for bringing that baby back. We have been blessed ever since. Form the first responders, the nurses and doctors at Children's Hospital in Jackson, as well as all the nurses, doctors and therapists at the Children's Hospital in New Orleans, this has all just been so wonderful.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We're going through a FB split ... Jake Narro will have his own page on Facebook

It’s time for us to face the truth. It’s over. It’s been coming for a while, and it isn’t working anymore. Really, it never did. We’re just too different. I have asked Jake for a Facebook divorce. We are gong our separate ways on Facebook.

We have agreed that it should be quick – for the children’s sake. Jake is going to move to his own space, but we are going to share custody of our friends and family. It will be a 50/50 split, and we are going to let some of our friends decide who they want to live with.

Some of you may decide it’s best to stay with me full time, and some of you will decide to live with Jake full time. We will not make you feel bad if you choose one of us over the other. After all, it’s your Facebook life; you have to choose how you live it. Still, some of you may decide you would like our 50/50 arrangement; we love you all and respect your decisions. Sure, it will be difficult for all at first, but we are going to work with you to make sure the change is as smooth as possible.

I have to be honest and say that this divorce is not uncontested. Jake fought it all the way, bless his heart. The Facebook marriage as it is just never felt right to me though. And our indecision on posts, and who would post when, was confusing to all our friends. People didn’t know who they were talking to, and I felt it wasn’t fair. Jake, of course, thought that was the fun part.

I have agreed not to change the locks. Jake can still come over when I’m not home and make sure the page is safe and secure. He said I can come over to his place too. We are going to “just be friends” at first and see how it goes.

Property division was difficult. Although Jake will now have to come up with his own likes and dislikes, he is staying strong. He wants to set a good example for our children and show them their father can be independent and take care of his own property.

The Facebook divorce will be final soon, and we will send out a notice to all of you. Some of you will start getting them today or tomorrow. Let us know what you would like to do simply by confirming or ignoring. Again, we understand your decisions and respect them. Jake is nervous, and because we've shared our page for so long, I’m asking you to help him make this transition a little easier. Post a message, tag him in some pictures; just make him feel wanted.

I have a lot of guilt with this decision, but I feel it’s for the best. I know it's the holidays and a special time of year, but we’ve just grown apart. Jake is spending lots of time on Facebook, and it’s confusing my friends. I don’t want to lie to myself any longer. He’s moving out. I will never forget this time with him, however, and I will cherish it always. I wish him the best.

Jake's new Facebook page is located at!/profile.php?id=100000495543026. You may find him through his username: Jake Narro. I will be using Amber Reetz Narro.

Don't be surprised when we "remarry" on our separate spaces though. We're thinking of Feb. 4, 2011, which will be our 11th anniversary; hold the date! We'll probably have a really quick ceremony on our homepages and post an announcement for you to "like" that we will once again be virtually hitched to match our status in our real lives.

The children and our immediate families already know. They think our split is "hilarious."

** Just in case some of you are confused by the joke -- we're not getting a real divorce. We're still happily married and living in the same house! We just don't want to confuse our friends with who is posting what. We still call each other "honey."