Life is moving along smoothly, the earth is in it proper orbit and the sky is blue. Today is much like yesterday and tomorrow will be much the same. You think you know what to expect. And then the phone rings. Or, more likely in this modern age, the email pops up. Suddenly, the earth is wobbling wildly on its axis and you're not quite sure how to take your next breath.
Today I received an email that told me a dear friend, but one I talk to much too rarely it seems, has spent the last week in the cardiac ICU at the pediatric hospital. She's sitting at the bedside of her adolescent son, waiting to find out why there is fluid around his heart. Heart failure in a healthy 13 year old. My world was suddenly a very different place.
I can't even begin to imagine what her world looks like.
We spoke this evening. The fragmented phrases of two friends, trying to reach out across the unfathomable. Me trying to feel out how I can help, without asking anything of her – without asking her to put the energy in to thought. Her trying to tell me the hell she has been through, wanting to lean on me but not having the energy to string the sentences together to do so. My friend, who has tackled her life with such amazing strength and energy, so tired and scared, struggling to even speak.
It is so unspeakably unfair. This amazing woman who has fought so hard for this life for her and her children, and who has reached her goals with such good humor and grace. Who was married this year, to an amazing man who has wrapped her and her children in an amazing bear hug of love. Who told me just last month that she is pregnant with her fourth, and last, child. I know. I know it wouldn't be any fairer to another family. But this family... This family deserves a break.
I asked very few questions tonight, but I do know that she asked me to come this weekend, because the company helps. But not now, this weekend - the doctors expect to have him back on the regular floor by then. They had to put in chest tubes to drain the fluid from his heart and lungs. And it hurts, but it drained the fluid. So, I tell myself he seems to be turning the corner. The doctors wouldn't be talking about releasing him to the regular floor in a few days if he hadn't. Chest tubes may be painful, but they work...
So, I take a deep breath and feel my world steady a bit on its axis. Still I feel shaken by the reminder that tomorrow may not be anything like today. Bruised by the memory of my friend's fear and exhaustion. Profoundly grateful for the blessings in my life.