Here, Donna, tells the story in her own words.
M￼y daughter Indi had the brightest smile on the planet. Right from when she was a baby, she was such a joy to be with. She lit up people’s lives wherever we went.
Indi was our first child and her dad, Paul, 35, and I were besotted by her. Then at 14 months, her hands and feet started blistering.
The blisters went up her arms and legs and grew in size so rapidly, doctors had to wrap her in bandages and put her in an induced coma. ‘She has a blood disease,’ they said. ‘We’ve never come across it before and we don’t know how to treat it.’ Then Indi’s little limbs developed gangrene.
When she was just 18 months old, there was no option but to amputate her legs up to the knees and her arms up to the elbows. ‘Our poor baby,’ I sobbed in Paul’s arms.
We brought Indi home in time for her second birthday. After that, we were always in and out of the hospital. Her disease was so rare, she was the only person with it in the world, so they named it Indigo’s disease. Our girl had prosthetic limbs fitted but they didn’t attach properly, so she mainly used a wheelchair. Despite that, she went to the local primary school and learned to write by holding a pen with her arms.
She had heaps of friends and even a few boyfriends. Everyone loved Indi. Living life to the fullest, my girl even got to meet One Direction. Her favourite time of the year was Christmas. Sadly, she always got very sick a few weeks beforehand.
Each year, we were told she wouldn’t make it to December 25. She always did, but she spent every one of them in a hospital bed.
In November 2015, when Indi was 10, she was back in for a routine blood transfusion. But she went into a seizure and suffered four bleeds to the brain. ‘She’s not going to make it this time,’ I sobbed. ‘It’s too much to fight!’ But I was wrong. Two of the biggest bleeds stopped, and Indi was allowed home.
‘My wish is coming true – I’m going to have Christmas at home, with all my family around me,’ she smiled, thrilled. ‘Yes, you are,’ I said, hugging her.
I went mad decorating the whole house with a beautiful Christmas tree and draped battery-operated fairy lights everywhere so that Indi could finally enjoy her favourite day at home.
But on December 23, the bleeds came back and Indi was rushed to hospital. We spent Christmas Day at her bedside.
She was so excited when she saw our present to her – a camping barbecue. But she was so tired, she could barely unwrap it. On Boxing Day, Indi knew her time had come. She put her arms around me as tightly as she could. ‘I love you Mum,’ my precious girl said softly.‘I love you too Indi,’ I sobbed, hugging her. Then she told her dad she loved him too.
Indi suffered four more seizures and never recovered. I held her in my arms and wept for my brave little girl.
Back home, we were in disbelief that we’d lost Indi. She was just 10 years old. Three days after Christmas, Paul had a yellow envelope in his hand.‘What’s that?’ I asked. ‘I just found it in the top of the cupboard,’ he said. ‘I’ll put it away for later.’ ‘No, let me see it,’ I said. I opened it up and inside was a poem I’d copied years before, when Indi was just a baby. It was called Merry Christmas from Heaven.
As I read it, tears blurred my eyes...
I still hear the songs, I still see the lights, I still feel your love, on cold wintry nights. I love you all dearly, now don’t shed a tear. Because I’m spending Christmas with Jesus this year.
I knew then it was a message from my darling daughter to say she had safely reached the other side. It gave me so much joy. But that wasn’t all.
‘I’m so sad Indi never got to have Christmas Day at home,’ I said to Paul. And then, all the fairy lights in the house came on. ‘Oh my god,’ I cried. ‘They don’t have batteries in them!’ Paul checked. ‘You’re right,’ he said, amazed. ‘How’s that possible?’
Next, a crystal ball on the shelf, which also had no batteries in it, lit up. Then Paul’s mum, Sandy, who lived over the road, rang. ‘All the lights around my garden wishing well have just come on even though they haven’t worked for years!’ she cried.
We dashed outside to look and it was true! Not only that, but all the fairy lights at my house and, incredibly, also in my mum’s garden continued to go on every evening. ‘Indi’s still with us,’ I said to Paul through my tears.
Almost two years on, it’s wonderful to know my little girl is lighting up the world from heaven.
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