My sister posted a link on my Mom's timeline tonight and it is a page called Mitchell's Journey. Mitchell passed away on March 2nd. He is a son, a brother, a grandson…a courageous human being. He had Duchene muscular dystrophy.
It got me thinking about how life intersects. On Mitchell's page are pictures of his Mom, his Dad, his younger brother by his bedside holding his hand…comforting, holding, embracing…soaking up his warmth and love.
It made me think of Christmas 2011 when we thought we'd lose Ben for sure. There were many late nights of him having seizures and crying out that he wasn't ready to die. He would apologize for not being stronger and for bringing the muscular dystrophy into our lives. I remember one particular night where we were holding his hands and just crying together. It was late…1am in the morning. He is 28 now. Somehow his heart has determined that it isn't quite ready to give up.
I also think to before Meara's hospital stay in August that Megan and I would have discussions in our bedroom about the what ifs of Meara's brain surgery. What if she didn't make it. What if she came out of the surgery without motor function. What if she changed and wasn't her normal self. What if…what if…what if.
I remember thinking that if I lost her I wouldn't be able to breathe. I wouldn't be able to take five steps without losing complete control. I remember thinking that if she didn't make it through the surgery that I'd never forgive myself.
My brother has brought both pain and healing into my life. Pain due to the incredible amount of grief that I've been through seeing him battle his disease and the loss that I will incur when he is gone. But healing because of the love and gratitude that I have for being blessed to have him as a brother and to be loved by him. He is such a soldier. A courageous soldier. And he has given me so much.
It is harder to think about Meara's surgery after the fact. It is harder now to think of what could have happened than when we were in that moment in the hospital by her bedside. When she was in the ICU after the resection and we were finally allowed in to see her she was almost immediately whisked away for an emergency CT scan. The doctor's were concerned that she wasn't responding as quickly as they would have liked. I remember being both being out my mind worried and at the same time resolute that she was going to be okay.
The intersection of life is like witnessing beauty and mayhem all at the same time. Without dark, there is no light. Without death, there is no life.
I am grateful for this day. For this day to hug my beautiful and strong wife. I am grateful to embrace my two daughters and wash their hair at bath time. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a son, a brother, a father, and a husband.