Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open Heart

Have you ever put yourself in someone else’s shoes and actually felt what they were going through?  I do this occasionally.  Sometimes it’s with the woman I see in the pasta aisle at Weis - ‘should I go with the penne or the fettuccini’?; other times it’s with a familiar face.  I feel their emotion.  It’s just the weirdest thing.  There’s a word for it…you’re almost switching your soul with someone else.  Can’t remember the word, but I’ve done it. 

Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s a curiosity to experience another life’s battle or maybe it’s just out of sheer boredom. 

I started reading an amazing story about a young man named Brian Boyle: high school athlete, drug free, honor roll student gets in a traumatic auto crash post graduation.  He winds up losing sixty percent of his blood, breaking numerous bones (including his pelvis), punctures his lungs, loses his spleen and gallbladder and needs kidney dialysis.  His heart jumped three inches across his chest as a result of the impact from a speeding dump truck.  After surviving numerous surgeries, including open heart, a few cardiac arrests and being in a medically induced coma Brian made it out of the woods.  Brian walked again.  Brian swam again.  Brian finished an Iron Man Triathlon three years after his accident.  Miracles do happen.

I had another shit day.  So, the saying goes…(insert cliché here). When things don’t go as you’d like it’s difficult to find the positives.  I try to take a deep breath and do just this.  Sometimes I forget to breathe.  Yes, the yoga instructor forgot to breathe. 

Late start today…work…inhaled lunch…quick, gotta leave to pick up Ava for a sick appointment…wait 30 minutes for doctor (that’s another story for another time)…drive to hospital…drop off script, ‘that’ll be thirty minutes’…visit Grandpa…pick up script…head home…make quick dinner for Ava…

Whew!  As I’m settling down with a glass of wine, Ava decides to throw the rest of her dinner in a playful way.  The look on her face is pure enjoyment, but this just pisses me off.  It’s not appropriate and I take her plate away.  After a stand off she and I go upstairs to prepare the tubby. 

The big man gets ready for his hockey game and Ava gets in the tub.  I’m like a machine getting her bathed.  After the process part of the tubby I let her play.  I sit back on the toilet lid and take a deep breath.  I carefully observe Ava splashing water, rubbing her belly with the washcloth and just smiling while having a good time.  It melts my heart.


I think of Brian Boyle…and his parents.  My mind subconsciously puts me in his Mom’s shoes.  Tears instantly fall from my eyes.  I cannot imagine the pain that she endured after hearing the news of her son’s accident.  Her baby.  Her only baby.  Heartbreaking. 

Immediately my mind shifts to a friend.  Her daughter passed away April 2009 after a short, but painful battle with cancer.  I saw the pain in her eyes and I still couldn’t imagine what she was going through.  Each evening that I put Ava to bed I asked her to think of that strong girl who was fighting for her life and the family surrounding her, holding on to hope.  As I laid the blanket over my daughter’s tiny body I silently sobbed, hoping to never be in that situation.  I can’t ever imagine seeing my baby girl suffer all that pain with no remedy.  I see images of a broken mother holding the hand of her baby girl as her soul slips away. 

We take so much for granted; in an instant it can all be destroyed.  Or perhaps, put into perspective. 

It’s 10 pm…Ava’s been sleeping for about 1 1/2 hours.  I just want to hold her hand and give her a hug.  I want her to know that I will ALWAYS be there for her.  I am her rock.  And she is mine. 

Don’t have kids?  Put yourself in my shoes.