Friday, November 6, 2009

5 People Who Have Impacted My Life (A Continuation of the 5 People You Meet In Heaven Post)

I chose 5 people who I don't tell enough that they have made a difference in my life. They are in no particular order.

There are people who always smile and never have a cross or negative word to say. They speak their feelings and let you know they care, whether with a look or their words. She is an inspiration. Growing up, she taught a high school Sunday School class at the church to which my family belonged and she also worked in the middle school cafeteria. High school age kids are never an easy group but I think we all loved her. She had an interesting outlook on the world that we appreciated and understood. She has taught us that to love ourselves and each other is one of the greatest blessings we will receive and that we can give. She has also taught us that there is always hope and that sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture instead of worrying about the small things.

Friends are people who you can sit in a room with and not feel the need to speak. The silence is never awkward. You may not speak for months and when you do pick up the phone, it is as though you never lost touch. They are there for you during the happiest times of your life and when things seem bleak. I have always been able to be myself around her and I know it is okay to say what is on my mind.

*Lynn and Kelly (and her husband) whose last names I don't even know*
There are people who enter your life for the briefest of moments. When our daughter was four months old, we found out she had a heart defect that had to be corrected with surgery. Shocked doesn't even begin to describe how my husband and I felt the day we found out. Immediately after our daughter's cardiologist appointment, we headed home to pack anything we might need for at least a week away and then headed into the city to our region's children's hospital. We didn't know where we were going to stay or how long our daughter would be in the hospital. We wouldn't let ourselves cry or fall apart because we needed to be strong for her and for each other. When we called our families on the way to the hospital we didn't even tell them outright that she needed surgery even though we knew that was the inevitable outcome of our trip. We didn't want to upset our families because we didn't have the energy to console them or to reassure them she was going to be okay.

Our daughter was admitted and she was put on the schedule to have surgery the next day. She was given a battery of tests. So many doctors and nurses paraded through her room to explain what was wrong with her and what was going to happen while she was in the hospital that our heads were spinning. Everyone had the utmost professional manner and were so kind. They kept reassuring us that our daughter was going to be okay. Not once did we break down.

Our daughter was settled for the night and my husband had left to go to the local Ronald McDonald House, who had graciously offered us a place to stay during our daughter's hospital stay. My husband had planned on finding a hotel when we got to the city and our daughter was settled but our liasion at the children's hospital had recommended calling the Ronald McDonald House since they were there for families like ourselves. I decided to stay at the hospital since I was still nursing our daughter.

It broke my heart looking at her in the hospital bed. Things had quieted down and she was sleeping. My husband had left to try to get some sleep (an impossible task) and we had broken the news to our families and stayed strong throughout the ordeal. I couldn't hold it in anymore and started to cry. I tried to stay quiet about it so as not to disturb the grandmother who was staying with her little grandson (who was in the bed next to our daughter). One of the nurses came in to check on my daughter and saw my tears. She asked if there was anything I needed and reminded me that they weren't just there for the children but for us (the parents) too. God bless her heart because just the offer was enough to make me feel better. Lynn, the grandmother of the little baby in the bed next to my daughter (there were two children per room), came over to see if I was okay. She talked to me and assured me that our daughter would be okay.

We developed a friendship with her, her daughter-in-law, and her son. We bonded since we all had babies who had to have heart surgery and they were also staying at the Ronald McDonald House. They told us about all the ins and outs of the house and the hospital. Their little boy had Down's Syndrome and they were hoping to leave the hospital in about a week's time to return home (I believe they were from Louisiana). They had already been at the hospital for about 2 months.

Our daughter came through the surgery wonderfully and she was to be released directly from the Heart Intensive Care Unit. She was released two days after her surgery and is now two years old and doing fantastic. Unfortunately, Kelly and her husband's little boy took a turn for the worse due to complications before we left the hospital. Our last conversation was about how they didn't hate us for taking our little girl home, instead, they said, her release gave them hope that soon it would be them taking their little one home. We had bonded because we were parents and because we loved our children more than anything. Even today I find myself thinking about them and hoping that they did get to take their little boy home.

*My grandparents*
My grandparents were children during the Great Depression and have seen a lot in their eighty some years. They have taught me, my sister, and my cousins, about integrity and hard work. They have also taught us about respect. They believe in caring for their neighbors and practicing what they preach.

I know I have chosen more than five people but these are individuals who have impacted my life in profound ways and this is my way of honoring them.


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