Sunday, August 8: Update

Heidi had a hard day today. Our morning walk wasn’t the smoothest. It was getting hot and Heidi was having none of it. We’ve been working with Heidi on her decision-making skills and talking her through her bouts with negative thoughts. Heidi and Tiffany have similar struggles with self-talk: once a negative thought comes into their minds, it is a short trip to more challenging thoughts. We’ve been able to help Heidi break away from downward spirals with silly things to make her laugh. We used to make her look in the mirror and make a silly face when she would feel sad: the effort to make a silly face was always enough to break the hold. But as she’s gotten older we’ve started working with her to take her own thoughts captive.

Our efforts have been complicated because of Claire’s accident. Heidi has real source for pain and grief right now. The sadness and complaints that comes from not wanting to be outside on a hot day can be a front for other feelings. That’s what happened today. Heidi’s walk was miserable. It ended with a timeout in her room while she settled down and collected herself. We had the same discussion that I’d had with Autumn yesterday: we may not have control over our circumstances, but we do have control over our response to them. Heidi recognized the correlation with Claire’s accident. She didn’t want to cry. She really did have a stiff upper lip; it was her lower lip losing the battle.And it was something that happened at the beginning of our walk pushing her over the edge.

Along our tree covered walk, lilac bushes add some flavor to the canopy. Bright pink bunches of flowers accent the green. We stopped at one along the way to show Claire the flowers. Autumn picked one bouquet off the ground and held it in front of Claire’s face. Tiffany leaned over Claire and said, “Remember these flower Claire?” Her voice cracked before finishing with, “You and Heidi used to love picking up these flowers together.” Tiffany pulled back mouthing “I’m sorry” before closing her eyes as she tried to collect herself. We didn’t know that one other person had been struck with that memory as well. I didn’t find out until after we were home.

Heidi’s stiff upper lip broke when she told me what she’d been thinking at that point in our walk. We had told the girls – and the reason Tiffany mouthed “I’m sorry” – that we wanted to make every effort to not cry in front of Claire. We have reasoned that Claire needs our strength, not to be concerned with our sadness. Heidi remembered this. And mumbling through her tears she told me that when Mommy talked to Claire about the flowers she was sad too, but she “didn’t cry because she wanted to be strong for Claire.” My heart broke for Heidi. But it was going to break some more.

Heidi also told me one of the reasons why she was looking forward to school this year, her first year. She’d had the opportunity to watch Autumn’s triumphant return each day for the last two years, heralded by Claire yelling “Autumn,” running up to her and hugging her. Heidi said she watched this every day and thought it looked fun. She was excited to start school so Claire would do that for her. She’s not excited anymore. She’d rather stay home and help Claire get better.

Feeling my own resolve wavering, I hugged Heidi and asked her if she wanted to help Claire now. I ushered her into the living room to help Claire and then retreated to the bathroom to deal with my own pain. My daughters are growing up too fast. They’re dealing with things that are too far beyond their years. I’m grief-stricken for them. What more could a father ask for than to have three daughters that just want the love and adoration of each other and serve one another to earn it? At the same time it is sweet to have Heidi lean over Claire and whisper, “We’ll get you better so we can play with my doll house together,” and heartbreaking that she can’t do it now.

I love my daughters. They are precious to me and it pains me so to see them go through this. I pray that they will see a victory soon. Because I miss seeing them play with Claire. I miss hearing Claire cry out “Autumn” after school. And I can’t wait to hear her yell “Heidi!”

33 thoughts on “Sunday, August 8: Update”

  1. Wow!!! and I think I’m having a upsetting day! My prayers this week are for your daughters to have peace in thier sweet little souls!!! Praying for strength for you and Tiffany!!! Roman 8:28!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your daughters with us. I weep with you today as I hear the sweetness shared between these sisters. I have two boys (adopted half brothers our special miricle brothers) and I know the great joy in watching them love on each other! We pray for Claire and her recovery and we pray for each of your family!

  3. Tyler and Tiffany,
    This post made me cry for all of you. What a complex situation you are all living. I’m glad at least that both Autumn and Heidi will tell you what is on their hearts. With trepidation in my own heart, here’s something I’ve been thinking about. Do you remember writing, in maybe the second week at Medical City, when they were having so much trouble coping with what was happening, that you thought that maybe down the line, some family counseling might help? Is now the time, do you think? Could someone at Grapevine help you find a specialist to work with them, or to help you work with them? It’s just a thought, so please don’t be offended. The two of you are doing such a wonderful job, but you are suffering too. If there is anything at all (besides the prayer and support you are getting from so many) that can help, I want you to get it. Love and prayers and ongoing support until Claire and all of you are healed in every way, Dodie

  4. Poor little Heidi, she is such a sweet heart. It makes me so sad she has to go through this too. School will probably be a much needed distraction for her. I know she will long to be home with Claire, but she will also get the chance to focus on someting else. I love those girls so much, I long for the day when Claire hugs them and says their names again. Love you guys!

  5. I feel your pain. I think it is very good you are each letting your hearts feel and express it, because as Claire heals each of you are healing too.i pray you FEEL the arms of Jesus.. Right now, I pray for the God of all Truth to help you and minister to your hearts in exactly the way He knows you need . Thankyou that they are allowing themselves to mourn their losses.Give
    them new hope. Jesus, would you please do this for Tyler, Tiffany, Autumn, Heidi, and Claire

  6. Tears are running down my face. I wish there was something all of us could do to make Claire’s recovery faster! You all have such a strong love for each other! Your strength through all of this will continue to guide you as Claire does get better; leaning on each other and supported by all the people pulling for your entire family. I know there are a lot of people praying for all of you and I know I will continue to keep your family in my thoughts everyday! Hang in there!!

  7. This is one of your posts that got to me. Thankfully, a box of Kleenex is handy. Seriously, I wish there was a parents of the century award…you two so deserve it. Each of your daughters is blessed beyond measure to have you two teaching them such important life skills, and loving them so much. I know you’re just doing life the best way that you can, but I wonder if you realize how truly exceptional your ways are? My guess is that many adults reading this blog are learning from the things you’re teaching your girls through every struggle – learning things that were never taught to them as children. You are blessing us, far and wide.

  8. Wow! That would break my heart, too. I pray that as you go on this journey together that each one of you will find rest for your souls and strength to make it through another day. We all love your family so much. Reading your Claire Journal has become a very important part of my day. God bless you all!

  9. Tyler, what a heartbreaking day for you guys. I am just sitting here crying for your big girls. As a parent of girls about their age I can’t imagine this. I am so sorry. …so sad with you.

  10. My heart breaks for Heidi and Autumn too. It is so hard for us as adults to accept what is happening with Claire, so for little ones, it is so far beyond their comprehension. Praying that you will all be able to help one another through this difficult storm you are going through. Special prayers for the girls too!

  11. When you have a child with additional needs over the other children, it’s such a delicate balance to address the physical needs of one as well as the emotional needs of the others. I think you all have done an exceptional job of finding that balance, even when Heidi was having a tougher time that Autumn and Claire. Those memories are tough, yet something to hold on to for now until new memories can be made.

    I hope the transition to school is good for the girls. Let us know what we can do as the Landry family to help that process go as smoothly as possible for all of you.

  12. WOW! Tyler, my heart is saddened as tears stream down my face as we think about what has been in the past. But I rejoice in the love, strength & encouragement that your girls SHARE between the THREE of them, then, now & in the future!!! You are definitely a BLESSED man to have such wonderful girls! I am so thankful that you encourage them to express their feelings & not bottle them up! We all look forward to the day when Claire will yell out their names & rush to give them & you HUGS!!! Hang in there…you are doing an AMAZING job!!! Praying for you always!

  13. I was a child in a family experiencing trauma. I remember vividly carrying that weight; I clung to Jesus w everything in me, cemented to him so early in life. Although that alone is a sweet gift, if I cd hv talked to my parents…

    I wd hv said “I wd love Nana around a lot, available anytime so I can go to her n she wd say “Lovey how are u?” And she wd listen & listen till I run out of words, n make me cookies & ice cold milk n brush my hair…

    I wd hv said “Mum why don’t u go see ur friend Martha more..” because Mum wd be so much more refreshed n haPpy when she returned to us.

    I wanted to be involved; it knitted us together as a family but I wanted it more like The Waltons with an extended solid support system I cd lean on, my siblings cd lean on, my parents cd lean on.

    I grew up positive funny well-adjusted but the rest of my family didn’t fair well. But I remember the heaviness quite clearly.

    I think ur sensitive enough to find out what each family member needs to thrive thru this challenge. For me, it was each of us having their own support person(s) as a constant in our life so that each time we come together, there’s refreshment, a bounce in our step, a twinkle in our eyes…lifting that heaviness of the trauma off of our shoulders. Then we cd hv truly felt we can do this together for the long haul if need be.

  14. I helped lead my son; Andrew’s, class this morning at IBC. In his class there was another sweet little girl who very jovially aksed for prayres for her sister who’s b-day is this wk. She said, “she will be having more scans to see if her two tumors have gotten smaller and her leukemia has completely gone away or is just in remission”. I was SHOKED that a 4 yo new this much information and could communicate in such “grown up” words. She said how much she loves her sister and loves coming to church to tell others about her sisters cancer so they can pray for her also. I will focus my prayers this wk on sweet Heidi! I know God is protecting her and allowing her to learn, grow, and mature in the rate HE desires for her. Thank you Tyler and Tiffany for remaining in HIS will and staying strong for all of your kids!

  15. My dear Tiffany and Tyler,
    How I grieve for you! I could not get through this update without retreating to get a Kleenex. Mom and I are so far away yet yearn to be close. I grieve for not only your lost dreams but for the lost dreams of Heidi, Autumn and Claire! In time, there will be new dreams fulfilled yet different then the ones you had just a few months back. My prayers are for each one of you as you struggle to reorient your lives. I pray for Claire, that she may someday begin to talk so that she can make her needs known and that one day soon she can say “Autumn”, “Heidi”, “Mama” and “Daddy”.
    May the mercies of God follow you each and every day.
    He is close by you know. He may be silent but He is very close by.
    Love from Dad

  16. Dear Tiffany and Tyler,
    I could not read this post without crying, but also warms my heart to realize the great love that exists in your family. May God continue giving strength that you need and Autumn and Heidi continue to be the wonderful sisters they are.
    Always with you in thoughts and prayers

  17. Words from another member of the Kleenex brigade. In reading your updates these past few days , I too thought is there someone equipped to counsel this family. I know Our Lord has the exact person just waiting to reach out to u all. Please look for them and let them help…..Our thoughts and prayers continue to be uplifted for each one of u – for each and every need…..Be strong ……Feel the Love. From near and far. Barb and Frank

  18. I never fails to amaze me how open and honest you are with the feelings of the family. They are truly very lucky girls to have such strong and caring parents.

  19. Tyler, last night’s post took my breath away when you started to say that Claire’s plumbing had not been quite right since the accident. I was interpreting that there might be an additional setback. I had to walk away from the blog at that point and take a break before I could go back to read more. I was relieved the outcome was a positive.

    You can’t take a break like I did this morning. You are very talented at conveying how taxing these changes have are impacting you… otherwise none of us can even begin to comprehend.

    Your words in this afternoon’s posting filled my heart with so much emotion I felt like someone wrung it out and filled it up with even more… it kind of hurts, actually. But your outlook is positive. You inspire by allowing us to share in this and feel like we are a part of your journey. I struggle because I feel like we might be peeping toms. So much of this is private, but the awareness of Claire’s recovery is important. Tiffany’s, Autumn’s & Heidi’s recovery are important. By sharing your story, you and your family are making a such an impact on others in so many ways that they cannot be defined. We can’t thank you enough for that.

    The Claire Team have a lot of cheerleaders out here. We are rooting for you!

  20. Dear Tyler and Tiffany,

    Thank you once again for allowing us to share your struggles. I’m praying for all of you that our gracious, good God will redeem even the most painful and exhausting parts of this journey. I know it feels like your sweet daughters are bearing heavier burdens than they should have to and losing precious childhood opportunities, but I believe God intends it all for good purpose and will give them better gifts than anything they have to give up. I believe that for both of you, too.

    May He grant you grace and peace, moment by moment.

    With tender thoughts and much love,

  21. I cannot tell you how much I wish I could just wave a wand and make everything go away for you all! I have tears streaming down my face just thinking of you, Tiffany, and your beautiful daughters. I really dont know what to say, I really dont… Just hang in there and continue doing what you are doing. The day will come when you do hear Claire yelling “Autumn” and “Heidi”….it will come soon enough, just take it one day at a time. Love,Strength, Happiness and Prayers to all of you!

  22. I just want you to know we are praying for you guys. I weep for your girls and what they are going through. I’m so, so sorry and I have no words other than I know my God is an awesome God and I know he has you and your family in his hands. I will continue to pray for you with good updates or sad, as in this case. You girls are amazing in their love and commitment to each other. What a tribute to you as parents!

  23. Oh, Tyler, you have way too much to grieve for on so many levels. You obviously feel so responsible for everyone, yet I’m asking you to let all of your family, friends and posters who are complete strangers help with that burden.

    It’s okay if your girls grow up fast; many people do for whatever reason, and they’re no worse for the wear. Your girls will only get stronger and carry a less selfish and more tolerant perspective of the world throughout their lives. I think that in itself is wonderful! They’ll be fine. Someday, family counseling will be even more helpful.

    Also remember that you and Tiffany operate within one time frame, Autumn and Heidi are on another, and Claire is on a different one altogether. And in two short weeks, Heidi will be in the brand-new world of kindergarten. Now, THAT’s scary!

    Please have faith that your children will find a way to just be kids when they need to. And I’m certain that Autumn and Heidi worry about you as well and wonder when you and Tiffany will be able to go out and play again. Adjustments are so very, very hard on all of you right now. Just don’t lose sight of the built-in and extremely tough resilience of children. And know every day that you’re never alone.

  24. Tyler and Tiffany-you don’t know me but my name is Jenna and I’m from Oregon. I read your blog every day. You are loved, and I am praying God’s peace and strength over you and your precious girls today.

  25. Lord may You touch this family deeply and heal their hearts, be their comforter, hold them close.
    We remain with you, standing in faith, that the Lord will heal Claire completely! Thank you as always for your daily updates. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily.

  26. My heart grieves for you, Tiffany and the girls. I am reduced to tears many many times reading your posts. Especially today!
    What a precious realtionship your girls have. I am encouraged by the strong bond of love that is between you all. It confirms my faith that you WILL get throuh this season. You really ARE great parents.
    I pray that God will continue to refresh you each day Spirit, Soul, and Body!!!
    Love you all!!

  27. As I read the post today, my heart was breaking for little Claire and all of your family. You guys are always in my prayers. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that GOD hears and answers each and every prayer. Keep hoping and believing. We serve a BIG GOD:)

  28. As I’ve read the past two posts, I’ve been struck by how intentionally you pour into your daughter’s lives, not just providing them with what will make them happy and comfortable here and now, but with the things that are hard now, but are good for them in the long run; like your discussion with Autumn about persevering until the end, even when things are rough, and your conversation with Heidi about not being able to choose our circumstances, but being able to choose how we respond to them (something my husband is always reminding ME of). These examples, of course, are in addition to the countless things I’ve read about you doing for Claire over the course of these past couple of months. Your daughters are so blessed to have a father that loves them so much and so WELL. Though you are in a very, very difficult life situation right now, your girls are seeing you and your wife through the joy AND the pain as you hold on to hope and purpose in your lives. Continue to do what you’re doing. Live life honestly before them. They are watching you and learning from you. I say this not to make you self-conscious or question what you’re doing or the way you’re doing them, but rather to encourage you in the tremendous job you ARE DOING. I continue to pray for your family. Your story is inspirational to all who read it.

  29. You know I heard once before that as adults we carry our grief arond like a backpack and it goes everywhere with us, but children carry their grief like a suitcase. They pick it up and carry it a while and then they put it down for a while. Sounds like Heidi picked up her suitcase today and carried it for a little bit.

  30. Hello, Heidi and Autumn. I just read about your courage and your hope for Claire to get better. I hope she does too. I’m sure daddy will keep you strong.

    I am Sr. Dorothy and I work with Brian Schmisek at the School of Ministry. I am a Dominican Sister and I just wrote to my congregation of Sisters and Associates to ask them for prayers for your family, and especially for Claire. I have no idea what is ahead but I want you to know that you have over 400 people praying for your family.

    Sr. Dorothy

  31. What a sweet post. No wonder you guys have so many readers and followers, praying for your Claire and your family. You are able to take a moment in life and describe it so beautifully. So many people are learning from your experiences. Now I can’t get my mind off my family.

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