Inspired by the affection and energy of her daughter, local designer Elizabeth Lucas shares her story of love, loss, hope and healing.
On April 4th 2010, I was blessed with a baby girl. Though saddened by the news of her condition of T21 (Down Syndrome), I made up my mind, this would not be a keep back and I would do my best to bring her up in a normal setting. Jan’ette Elizabeth Lucas Hudson was a happy child who had a love for music and dance. She was an Easter and Carnival Princess and paraded with great success. She was loved and known as ‘ChunkieTing’ by many.
With great joy came sorrow as my princess was struck with strange illnesses on different occasions. As her mother I begged God to transfer her pains and discomfort to me. It was hard to see my child sick and not being able to do anything. The doctors often helped, but there were times it was a big mystery.
Her 6th birthday was to be celebrated with her classmates but she was too sick. The birthday bags were shared amongst the patients on the ward. I told myself this was probably best as it brought smiles to the children that received them.
It was a heart-wrenching experience hearing my little girl cry out in pain and there was nothing anyone could do. Jan’ette first lost her sight, then she became crippled…she could not watch her favourite show The Wiggles and she could not dance anymore.
The innocence of a child is an amazing thing because they do not know the danger around them. The times when she was not in pain she spoke to me, sang and listened to music - which was her comfort. She was finally admitted to the JBF Ward where other tests were done. I still held on to the little hope when the doctor delivered the sad news of her diagnosis - a rare form of Leukaemia.
It was hard, but I coped with it because when it came to spending time with my daughter, every second counted. I could not sleep, and in the little time she slept, I worked.
As a designer I had deadlines, so I reached the point of sitting and watching my daughter while hand-stitching wedding gowns. The ward became our home, the other parents, patients and nurses were our family.
My last few days with Chunkie were fully hers. There was not much improvement and time spent with her was important. I asked the Creator what it will be. While there I watched children come and go, my baby seemed to be going and not in the way I wanted. The day finally came and I spoke to my baby…I asked if she was leaving mommy. The doctor told me the machines were keeping her breathing and her heart pumping. I told them it was selfish to keep her alive for my sake, just let her rest…her dad understood and agreed. In her final hours I told her to go to sleep, no more sticking. I sang some nursery songs in her ears because the nurse told me her hearing would be the last to go. Her feet started to go cold and I told her father she is going.
What happens after you lose your heart? You go numb, everything echoes, you hope it’s a bad dream. To this day I wish and hope it’s just a dream. I keep her alive within me. My daughter had an energy that was amazing for her age. I honestly believe that God had given me a chance to care for, love, laugh and dance with an angel. That angel, my angel, has set a direction and a purpose in my life. I have no other children but I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and talent to the younger generation. I also have the experience of a mother who knows sacrifice, holding on, letting go and how priceless time is.
JBF – During the COVID crisis Elizabeth made masks for patients on the JBF ward as well as patients in the children’s clinics.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:25
Founder – The Just Because Foundation
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