The comment came from the woman next to me. We were both balancing a sandwich and an over-sized cookie. The lunch itself wasn't bad, but she had summed up the situation that brought us to this luncheon. I looked at her name tag—8 South, just like me. She had been walking the halls of the hospital longer than I had, her baby a bit younger than Henry.
Tricia and Riley went home before we did. I was so happy for her, but I missed her terribly. We had plans for play dates with oxygen and feeding pumps and copious amounts of Purell. From that lunch on, we had helped each other through the hell of hospital living, and we planned to help each other through having a cardiac kid at home too.
Sara, it's Tricia. I'm so sorry.
She called me at home after Henry died to express her sympathy and to tell me she wanted to come to the funeral, to make sure it was okay. "I'll understand if you don't want to be friends anymore." She gave me an out because she knew it would be hard, so hard, for me to see her daughter, whose life had hung in the balance just like Henry's, who was supposed to be Henry's playmate as we took turns trekking across the state to get together. And I knew it would be hard, but necessary. I had just lost my baby. I really didn't want to lose a friend too.
Tricia came out yesterday to meet Kathleen for the first time. She hugged me when she walked in the house and then washed her hands. We are well trained in warding off germs. She marveled at how tiny Kathleen is, though I've been thinking how big she is getting. She held her for a long time. She didn't get to hold her own tiny baby very much. By the time Riley was Kathleen's age, she had her first surgery. She held Kathleen and we both remembered another time, a nightmare, a horror movie.
It was a terrible time, but through it we found each other. And I'm so glad we did. And I'm so glad that she reached out to me and I didn't push her away.
Who have you met on your loss journey that you are thankful for?