Life and death
After the guests had left he told me that I needed to return the call, but he didn't know the name of the person calling (it had been too loud for him to hear what she told him at the beginning of the call) or what she wanted. She seemed young he said...he recognized the voice. She said it was very important that I call back. I looked at the caller ID. The name was vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place it.
I called, and C. answered the phone--recognition was instant--the name on the caller ID was her grandfather's, as she lived with her grandparents. I had been her doula at her birth 9 months ago today. A young single woman, she was very brave in facing the birth, and then some complications that occurred immediately after the birth. I saw her a couple of times after the birth, including at the annual "Labor Day" picnic that I host for my clients each year. Her daughter was an adorable and smiley baby.
C. was calling to let me know that her baby had died on Wednesday. She'd had RSV, had spent over a month in the hospital, including being transferred from a local hospital to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The calling hours were Saturday, funeral Sunday. Could I come?
Of course I went. I started Saturday with a celebration of young life...ended it with a memorial. I've never gone to the funeral of a child before. The young woman bravely greeted the visitors, a box of tissues at her side.
It was a sobering experience. Over the last week I've been a bit on the weepy side, mourning the loss of something precious to me--my job. I received notice that on March 14 my job will be eliminated, and having been with my employer for 10 years, I'm saddened by this. But during this time C. was making the very difficult decision to turn off her daughter's respirator. I was reminded once again of how blessed I am.
How about you? Have you reflected lately on the blessings in your life, even amidst the difficulties and struggles? Take a few minutes today to do that.