Wednesday, August 2, 2017

April 25, 2007- July 31, 2017

Monday morning Rebecca passed away in her sleep.  Susan went in to start Rebecca's day and Rebecca was already in Heaven.  We were quickly surrounded by all her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and loved ones.  We wept, prayed and held her body one last time.    
It was an honor to call ourselves her family.  She without speaking a word transformed our hearts and minds and gave us the courage to speak out.   She without walking a step gave us courage to walk on mission trips.  She although blind taught us to dream about the beauty of Heaven.  We wanted her here with us, but God called her home.  She inspired us as a family. 

Your prayers, texts, calls, posts, cards, gifts and presence have been soothing like a healing ointment to a wound. 

As I looked back over this blog last night, I was reminded that God has carried us through this journey by commissioning our friends and those around us to be his hands and feet.  We are honored to receive your prayers.  You have been a blessing to us. 


Obituary:

Rebecca Leigh Gatti



A celebration of life for Rebecca Leigh Gatti will be 4 p.m., Thursday, August 3, 2017 at Cypress Baptist Church. Officiating will be Brother John Fream and Dr. Fred Lowery. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the church. Interment will follow in Rose-Neath Cemetery, Bossier City.

Rebecca Leigh Gatti passed away in her sleep on Monday, July 31, 2017. Rebecca bravely battled a birth-related brain injury for over ten years. During her brief time here on earth, she impacted and inspired many. She is survived by her parents Senator Ryan Gatti and Dr. Susan Lockhart Gatti. She is survived by her loving sisters Katherine, Elizabeth, and Charlotte. Her sisters loved her every day of her life and blessed her with true compassion. She is survived by all of her grandparents Allen "Al" and Marcia Lockhart, Robert and Jean Gatti, and honorary grandparents Mel and Glenda Allen. She is also survived by her aunts and uncles Robbie and Jennifer Turner Gatti, Allen and Casey Allen Lockhart, Randy Gatti, Robert "Bobby" Lockhart, and Regan Gatti. She is survived by her cousins Allison Lockhart, Claire Lockhart, Brandon Lockhart, Amy Lockhart, William Lockhart, Hal Gatti, Hayden Gatti, Hunter Gatti, Maigen Gatti, Moregan Gatti, and John Robert "J.R." Gatti. She is also survived by numerous great aunts and great uncles.

Cathy Jacks was Rebecca's best friend and caregiver for 10 years. She spent countless hours caring for Rebecca and humming her favorite songs to her. She made a point to spoil Rebecca every day.

Honoring Rebecca as pallbearers will be Kyle Kirsch, Jeff Patterson, Josh Pettigrew, and Mark Rodie. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be the ladies who attended to Rebecca during church services and the professionals who provided her with specialized care in her home.

Special thanks to her physicians Dr. Scott Ritch, Dr. Pena-Miches Aristoteles, and Dr. Sunny Hussain for the love and compassion they shared with her.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made to the Cypress Baptist Church Night to Shine Event or the Cypress Baptist Missions Fund at P. O. Box 340, Benton, LA 71006.

Romans 5:3-5 "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."




Sunday, May 15, 2016

Prayers for Monday

Tomorrow Susan  and I will present "Rebecca's Law" to Senate Finance Committee. I hope you'll remember us in your prayers.

Many parents and families of brain injured children have reached out to us since the bill was filed and they've asked us how we get through it.

Katherine was 7 when Rebecca was born- she took it the hardest. She loves her three baby sisters. It's clear from her speech from church last year - there's only one way to make it through this.

Katherine and Beth love God and have not become bitter.
Katherine's video

Thursday, April 28, 2016

9th Birthday- "Rebecca's Law" needs your support

Rebecca's Cousins
This week we celebrated Rebecca's 9th Birthday.  She is a fighter.  "Rebecca's Law" was written in her honor and to deter this tragedy from happening to more families.  Make a call or send an email to the members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to help reduce avoidable child brain injuries by supporting SB 78 "Rebecca's Law." 

Reach out to them here:  http://senate.la.gov/Finance/Assignments.asp


Rebecca sitting
at my Senate Seat
Susan and I testified before the state senate about child brain injuries a week before her birthday.  Watch the video and share it with others so that her story can help other children.  

http://senate.la.gov/video/videoarchive.asp?v=senate/2016/04/041916JUDA_0

"Rebecca's Law"

Katherine leaving Polaroid's for the
kids in Haiti 
In the 1970's the legislature agreed that a brain is worth $500,000.00. 
Katherine and Beth with
new friends from Haiti

SB 78 has started a discussion on our 40 year old medical malpractice cap of $500,000.00 for catastrophically brain injured children who suffered an avoidable brain injury. A cap means that it is the most that can be awarded by a judge or a jury for the harm the child suffers.  Simply put a child's brain is worth more than that. Rebecca's law allows a family who falls victim to an avoidable catastrophic brain injury the right to collect up to $5 million dollars only if a panel of three doctors agrees unanimously or a jury finds unanimously that the brain injury is catastrophic and caused by the error of the Doctor. A unanimous panel is rare because the doctor is allowed to pick one on the three members of the panel. 

Friends Wedding
A catastrophic brain injury means a brain injury that is moderate to severe that includes and causes the partial use of one limb, paraplegia, or quadriplegia. 

Most do not realize the $500,000 cap is universal to all citizens. This bill only allows children with catastrophic brain injuries to have a higher cap. Many families with catastrophically injured children must file bankruptcy after they "win" their case.  Although the law provides for unlimited medical expenses, it does not make up for the harms and losses a family suffers when a brain is ruined by an avoidable mistake.   
 
While this bill will not help Rebecca- it will increase safety in hospitals. Although she will never have a voice on earth- she is a voice for other children like her -many of whom have not been born yet.

Contact members of Senate Finance and ask them to help prevent avoidable child brain injuries. Ask them to pass this law to put patient safety above profits when it comes to babies who suffer avoidable catastrophic brain injuries.
 

Family Update

Uncle Robbie, Katherine, Becca
and Hayden

The last few years have been great.  Katherine is a sophomore at Airline has maintained straight A’s thus far in High School while taking AP and honors classes.  She is also enrolled in college classes and has made all A’s so far.  She has traveled to Haiti, El Salvador and Mexico on mission trips.  She will serve a Student Body Vice President next year at Airline.  She and I went to Haiti in Nov. 2014 and then convinced Susan and Beth to join us in Nov. 2015.  She loves playing the piano and planning mission trips. 

In 2014, Katherine asked me to go with her to El Salvador on a mission trip.  While there she let me know that God was calling her to do mission work and that she wanted to go on another trip to Haiti.  I told her I would go with her.  She signed us up and in November 2014 we went with a great group from all over the country to Oban, Haiti.  We had a great mission trip and Katherine and I decided we would go back each year with a group from our church.  I went to training in Atlanta with 410 Bridge where they assigned me to be leader for an area called Bossier (Bossy -Ay), Haiti!  How awesome is God that he would pair us with a city with the same name as our home town.  We went back in November 2015 with Susan and Elizabeth and a few members of the church.  Also, it worked out that the trip was scheduled before we decided to run for office and, no coincidence here, the runoff was on a day that we were in Haiti!  So we went to Haiti and missed Election Day. 
Kauai with four adults and
six girls under 15. 

I want to do the rest of my mission work in Kauai, Hawaii- fun bucket-list trip with family and friends. 

Beth was a natural in Haiti and all the kids flocked to her.  The language barrier did not bother her a bit.  All the kids loved her.  She enjoyed going to Juarez with Samaritans’ Purse to hand out Christmas Shoe Boxes in January.  She is making straight A’s and enjoys dance, cheer and basketball.  She also helps teach second graders at church.  Beth is an excellent painter and loves the piano.  She is throwing the discus in track and keeping us busy! 

 Charlotte loves Kindergarten and had made many friends.  She is learning all about the Bible and loves to give “eye exams” to share the gospel.  She has taken up fishing and caught 19 in one outing.

Charlotte on Campaign


Charlotte giving "eye exams"
Rebecca is such a fighter and great example for our kids.  She has outlived many everyone's expectations and reminds us daily of God's grace.  Her ninth birthday was a blast with all the cousins.  Her seizures are getting pretty severe and the medicine change recently did not change the frequency or duration, but we have hope that she will respond. 


Hope you'll review the blog, read it, share it and keep us in your prayers!


Haiti 2015

Friday, April 25, 2014

Becca's 7th Birthday!

Easter Picture with Blade
Char kissing her big sis
Honored to celebrate Rebecca's 7th Birthday! She is a fighter. Thanks to everyone for prayers and support.

Thanks to Ms. Cathy for loving her daily. Al and Marcia Lockhart- aka nana and pops. Big thanks to those at our church First Baptist Bossier - who spoil her each Sunday- Carla Miley, Josh Pettigrew, Alice Harville, Kim Johnson, Diana Crews, Chrissy Baird, Valerie Lyles, Mr. Lawrence Lee and their families. Special thanks to Whitney Hedgepeth who watched Becca when Ms. Cathy was out of commission.


Everyone wears purple n gold
We are blessed by the love you show her. God's grace is shown daily by our Providence Classical Academy family.  Special thanks to all those too many to name.

Many people think that when we die, our Savior takes us to the side to watch the video tape of our life.  Since we aren't bound by time, it won't take any time at all.  Every decision, word, thought and deed will be filtered through.  A proper accounting.  
Beth and Becca Swimming
Maybe it starts with the knitting together in our mom's womb- or His thought of us before He laid the foundation of the earth.

In pondering how painful it would be to watch my sinful life video with Him- it dawned on me that there were parts of the video I would not remember. No one remembers the part of the video of being woven together in their mother's womb, but its such an important time!  The knitting- double helix by double helix- cell by cell.

And most don't remember the last years because of fading memory. The first time a person really experiences these parts of their life, will be in Heaven. Can you imagine the conversations? "So that's why I'm funny, you knitted that into me." "Wow that person visited me in the nursing home and read to me? I did even know them - are they here yet? " "Wow that person prayed over me- can I meet them." " I didn't even know to thank that person- can I thank them now!" During those times the roles played by others greatly impacts us. While I had always thought this would be an awkward time, this perspective has a different twist.  Seeing for the first time the knitting, the creating, the times we cannot perceive may offset some of the harshness of the other parts of the video. 

Updated Family Picture

Then it hit me that even though Rebecca is limited in her experiences in this life and does not have the human capacity to process thoughts, she will experience her entire life one day with her creator.  While we are all the starring role of our own life, we all have the chance to be the best supporting actor in the lives of others by sharing God's gospel and changing the eternal destination of others.  While being kind is a great accomplishment, being the mouth, hands and feet of Jesus is our calling. 

Cousins
And when it comes to those that cannot experience this life because of the limitations of their earthly experience, they will "see" their life for the first time on the other side and not be bound by any impediments. 

So read to someone in a nursing home that cannot perceive you are in the room, hold the hand of a child with a blank stare, love the unloveable-- and wave to the camera of their life. 

Beth after being Scrooge in Play
There will be so many people that deserve a "best supporting actor or actress" award for Rebecca's life when that video is played-  you are a blessing to our family!

Pray for us today as we celebrate God grace of giving us seven years with this awesome creation.  For the strength He exhibits through her and the lives that He changes with His grace and mercy.  Thanks again and in advance for your prayers. 


Becca Sleeping


Beth at the Pond
Halloween

Me and Robbie receiving minister's license.


DC


Fishing with Graus
Daddy Daughter Dance with Cousin Moregan
Me and Katherine Dancing at a Wedding













Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and thanks.  This was a tough start for the school year because Rebecca was supposed to start Kindergarten.  Of course, her injury keeps her at home.  I did not know how the girls would react to this.  First days of school are such a standard event.  The only day we are early, hot breakfast, good attitudes, you know a unique experience.  Rebecca is doing good.  Her seizures are getting worse, she is getting taller, but she still weighs about 20 pounds. She will be 6 in April. 

Was not really sure how to handle her missing this milestone or help our family cope with it.  It was a difficult time.  She would have loved attending PCA, just like her sisters.  But her brain injury has limited her to a world of blindness and where she only feels pain and hunger.  But it is a world where she is surrounded by people that love her.  Especially, Mrs. Cathy who God brought to save us and care for Rebecca as if she was her favorite grandchild.  Truly a saint. 

Unable to find adequate words to guide, I was simply silent on the subject.  I decided I would talk about Rebecca missing out on school only if someone else brought it up.  Did not have a peace about talking through this event with the kids.  I had no words of comfort, clarity or perspective.  I was not sure why.  And in the sorority house of emotions that is our home, it remarkably passed without a word and was not brought up.

So thankfulness is really based on a realization that your fears and foes in life are on God's radar.  The first Pilgrim's were not excited about the food and friends.  They weren't planning on leaving family and friends to line up at the mercantile for Black Friday.  They were focused on coming together and Thanking God that what they feared was on God's radar.  They understood their entire existence was sustained and protected by God's wisdom, not their own.  They knew they could not do it on their own.  He brought them what they needed when they needed it even when they did not know what they needed- because they prayed alone and together for His will.  His presence was their assurance.  The trials and tribulations in their lives (death, disease, suffering) were viewed as opportunities for either God to show up and/or for them to stand up on the promises and commands of His word. No other alternative existed. 

Mrs. Scales, Beth's 4th grade teacher, encourages them to write a prayer journal each day.  Mrs. Scales and PCA are a blessing from God.  Beth never lets me read her Prayer journal, but she asked Susan and I to read this entry.  Its like she knew I needed to know. She processed her emotions with God and through His promises, not apart from them. 

My biggest fear is that my kids front row seat to this painful life Rebecca endures will spoil the precious seeds of faith planted in their life-and who could blame them.  So when I read this entry, it stirred an emotion of Thanks- because my fear was on His radar. 

May God bless you and keep you during this Season of THANKS!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today is Rebecca's 5th Birthday.  She is a strong fighter and has really struggled these last few years.  We love her and we are blessed by all the family and friends that love her. 
I just realized we haven't posted anything since last year.  Many of the doctor's never thought Rebecca would make it to her fifth birthday.  She is getting taller, but still only weighs about twenty pounds.  We thought she would need hip surgery a few months ago because the xrays revealed that her hips were out of socket.  They were gradually coming out of socket because her seizures cause her legs to cross at the knee and the force pulls her hips out.  So after thousands of seizures the inevitable happened.  This did not cause pain, because she does not walk.  After much prayer we decided not to do the surgery, because it would have required her to be in body cast for 6-8 weeks.  Also, she is so weak she may not have made it through the surgery or recovery and if she did she would have been in complete pain.  Since she is not weight bearing and will not walk, the surgery was not really necessary.   

Her seizures are a little more violent and frequent, but she handles them like a champ. 

Katherine and Elizabeth are playing the piano like pros.  They are at the point that I cannot help them and have been there since after the third lesson many years ago.  Mrs. Holbert is a great instructor and a blessing.  Katherine is dancing at Vicki's (another fine family that is a blessing to us) and is a Cheerleader at Providence Classical Academy.  Elizabeth is also dancing and plays softball.  She hits first or second because she always gets on base and plays second.  Neither has made a B yet on a report card.  Much better students than I ever was. 

Charlotte turned two and she is running the house.  She has two dogs and four ducks, well now three (don't ask.)  The ducks have Latin names- cause that's how we roll.  Katherine and Elizabeth have taught Charlotte most of the alphabet and she is already sarcastic.   

Susan is the assistant principal at Providence Classical Academy and teaches Latin and Advanced Math.  She loves her co-workers and staff.  They are such a great group of Christian leaders.  The school has really been a blessing to us because we need an environment that is equipped to nurture the spiritual side of our kids as they struggle.  The academics are rigorous, but the focus is on God.  The people at PCA have been a huge blessing this last year.

I am head chauffeur.  I spend most of the days in car lines.  I feel the pressure of a World War II paratrooper pilot in each car line only putting my foot on the break long enough to drop off the cargo and then moving on.  "Backpack" "Check""Lunch" "Check" "Dance Clothes" "Check" "Check"--- "GO GO GO."  I think every SUV should come standard with a red/green jump light above each passenger door to make the car line more efficient. 

Last year's every Thursday Chapel, turned into an everyday middle school chapel this school year.  This is truly the highlight of my day.  The middle schoolers at PCA really love God and want to know more about Him.  We start everyday with a 30 minute chapel lesson that challenges them.  This has been a blessing to me.  About two weeks into the school year I asked said" Look, I can't cover everything in 30 minutes.  If I bring some donuts and milk, then how many of you would come to school thirty minutes earlier on Tuesdays and Thursday to have a Bible Club?"  The next Tuesday, they ALL showed up and brought their little brothers and sisters.  What an amazing group of young men and women.  I like to think the donuts are only part of the reason they come. 

Mike Riddle from Answers in Genesis spoke at one Chapel time a few months ago.  He asked questions and drilled our students.  When he left he looked me in the eye and said "Ryan, I cannot believe how much those kids know about Genesis Chapters 1-11. Its remarkable."  I responded "They get it everyday from their teachers. Isn't is amazing." 

When Susan resigned from the Health Science Center after we realized how bad Rebecca's illness was, she said "I'll never be able to work anywhere again unless it is a Christian environment."  Not knocking her job, but feeling a need to make an impact for God in an environment that showed Him His full due respect.  Of course, my reaction was "I agree," but I was thinking "Where in the world is a PhD Psychologist going to get a job where God is honored."  A few years later God provided PCA as an opportunity for Susan to work in a Christian environment and use her doctorate.  This is an environment where God is honored and given His full respect.  He is not an accessory He is the centerpiece. 

It is hard to believe that five years have passed since that awful night, that awful storm in our life.  Where I almost lost the love of my life and my baby girl.   But God has seen us through it.  He carries us each day.  He draws us near to him and continues to transform us as He reveals more of Himself to us.  I remember times that I have been in sadness over Rebecca, pushing meds through her tube or holding her through a seizure and screams and the Prince of Darkness coaxes me to a content sadness. It is those times that we draw near to God and sometimes He does not say a word.  That silence used to bother me.  Recently, I heard something that gave me comfort.  Does a teacher talk when they are giving a test? No, because if they did, they would not be a good teacher.  Telling an answer during a test results in a false awareness for the student.  It is not right.  So the teacher stays quiet until the end of the test and then gives the honest results.  So, God is silent during our struggles because He is the great teacher, once the test is over, HE will let us know how we did.  He will give us an honest account so we can know where we are and what corrections need to be made. 

Thank you for your continued prayers.  We need them now more than ever. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4th Birthday

Rebecca turns four on Monday. Her condition has not changed. Really had a tough time last week in church when I realized that the kids that were signing during the service were her age. That would have been her class. One of those things you don't really think about untill it happens.

Charlotte is walking around the house and "talking." She has tubes put in her ears a few weeks ago and it is a world of difference.

Elizabeth is playing pitcher this year and catches a fly ball each game.

Katherine is pitching and playing first base.

Susan is working at the school.

Life is fast.......

The highlight of my week is teaching chapel at Providence on Thursday mornings.

Easter is just the ointment that we need.