My brain is a bit foggy as I write this. I'm not sure why, as I've been thinking about it all day. Well, not just one thing. Many things. But I'll start with the one weighing down my heart the most.
Last weekend, a 5-month baby boy was found in his crib not breathing by his mother after taking a particularly long nap. He was blue, and his mother could not revive him. All hope was lost as they were rushed to the hospital, where his parents were told to say good bye to him. When his mother came to say goodbye, he started breathing again. A true miracle.
A Facebook Group was formed to rally and support the family. There was hope, despite being in a coma, that he had brain function. For days, through a hurricane, people joined the group. Friends, family, strangers. People prayed. We waited for news.
Today, after a second opinion, the mother shared that her son was officially brain dead. The family decided to cease assistance and will be sharing his organs tomorrow.
I am so sad.
To the Bussetti family: I am so sorry for your loss.
I know this family through several avenues, which makes it more difficult. They are local, with many interwoven connections to me and my community. We hear about such things: on the news, on the internet, as a statistic in a book. We hear the million in one chances it could happen to you. And the stories feel so far away. But when you know the family, it is real. Their pain is real. And suddenly, you realize it could be your kid.
I'm not sure what to say, except that my heart is broken for this family, and any family that has ever had to go through losing a child. Today, I just wanted to hug my kids longer. I wanted to kiss them and breathe in their scents. I don't ever want to lose them. Or my husband. Or anyone I love.
I guess that is part of life: That there are no guarantees, and no promises except that the cycle of life and death continues. Yet, we live our days taking for granted our blessings. We take for granted the people who surround us, the ability to breathe air into our lungs, to wake up.
In the midst of their loss, I am hearing first hand stories of those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit, and the struggles people had faced when it happened. I remember hearing about all of the loss, the damage, the people being displaced. But it happened in the South, in states so seemingly far away from Pennsylvania. From me. My heart went out to them when I saw the news, but I could forget about the problems when I turned the TV off.
But I cannot forget this time. Hurricane Sandy hit home, quite literally. People not far from me have been devastated. I have been fortunate enough to come out of the storm unscathed, but I know many are in shelters tonight, many who are sitting in cold, dark houses. People not far from where I sit right now lost loved ones, lost homes. And the states of New Jersey and Delaware have to build up from the ashes.
And so I write. I write not knowing why I am writing or what it is that I am trying to say. But I know that my feelings are not unique, that we've all struggled over hard issues and difficult experiences. Do we have to suffer and process alone?
These are hard things: death, loss. As difficult as it is to experience someone's story in this way, so personally and close to home, it is a reminder to me to appreciate. To be thankful. To not take for granted. I want to never forget that at any given moment, there are people missing those they love, people who are without shelter and food. There are needs in the world that must be met, emptinesses that must be shown compassion.
How can we show love today?