Wednesday, July 13, 2016
I will not Forget
With the advent of apps like "Time Hop", and with Facebook's copy cat, "On This Day," we are now able to easily recall what we were doing at this time last year, and beyond. This morning, Facebook brought to my attention that one year ago today, we were in Bloomington Illinois, on our way to move to our new home in Denver. The picture shows my older children splashing away in a park that featured a water playground intended to provide its users much needed relief from the brutal heat and humidity. I was reminded of an unpleasant phone conversation I had with our moving company, where I was trying to understand how our actual costs were more than $5000 than what they estimated they would be. And then, I remembered what the next two days had in store for us.
Unbeknownst to us, at that time, my baby daughter was suffering from meningitis, as the terrible disease was making its way to her brain. (For more on this, I wrote about it at the time here.) I am reminded how she only wanted to lay in her car seat, being tremendous irritated anytime we attempted to move her. I remember my 30th birthday, suffering through the gut-wrenching unknown of what would be, as my wife took her to the hospital in Kansas City. I remember tossing and turning the entire night, simply unable to fall asleep. I remember being paralyzed with fear of what could be wrong with her. I recall greeting the day with the confirmation of our worst fears-- that instead of finishing the last leg of our trip, we would be spending the foreseeable future in a hospital room in downtown Kansas City. I remember driving downtown to spend the day with my older children as my parents came as fast as they could on a 9 hour drive to pick them up. I will never forget getting on the highway at 9:00 AM with tears in my eyes, observing the darkest rain clouds I have ever seen in my entire life. I cannot forget spending what seems like an eternity putting on a happy front for my older three children as we played for hours at the Lego Museum and the Aquarium. I recall the last hour before my parents arrived, as we waited for them in the blistering heat at the hospital playground, which was equipped with a piano in the cement floor that played music when you stepped on the notes, and I recall the traffic light on the playground that turned colors, complete with a pretend cross-walk. It's funny, the little things you can remember. And I will not forget the 5 minutes I sat crying my eyes out in the parking garage of the hospital, before being reunited with my wife and precious baby. I will not soon forget the fearful days I spent in the hospital, the feeling of dread that accompanied my every breath, and the terrifying MRI's my child had under general anesthesia.
Nor will I every forget the absolute closeness that I felt to the Almighty, as I pored over the Book of Psalms all day, every day. I will not forget the feeling that King David wrote those beautiful poetic psalms specifically for me, at this very moment. I will never forget the heroic doctors who worked tirelessly to treat my daughter with brilliant care. I will not forgot their sensitivity and their burning desire to help her recover. I will not forget our dear family friends who are doctors who with super-human sensitivity, helped us understand what we were dealing with. I will never forget the feeling that these people are the real heroes of our country. Nor will I forget the Jewish community of Kansas City, who despite not knowing us or having any connection to us, saw to it that our every need was taken care of, driving twenty minutes to the hospital to deliver us enough food for three meals a day, a crock pot, and a microwave. I will not forget the tremendous desire to pay them back for their kindness, and the tremendous frustration for not quite knowing how I ever can. I will not forget the emails, calls, and text messages from close friends, and from people I never met in my life. I will never forget the feeling that our distress, was the distress of the entire Jewish people. I will not soon forget the feeling that despite the fact that we were theoretically alone in a foreign city, I never felt so un-alone in my entire life. I will not forget feeling the loving embrace of the entire Jewish People. I will not forget my daughter's miraculous recovery. I will not forget her first smile in two weeks, as I was about to go back to Denver. I will not forget how the Kansas City Royals visited her, and my prediction that they would win the World Series. I will not forget the first time she said "Daddy," nor will I forget her first steps. As she continually thrives, spending her days showing off her gorgeous dimples, dancing, running around and playing, I will NEVER forget how fortunate and blessed we truly are.