I have been sitting in a beautiful park here in Los Altos for the past hour, the empty screen of my laptop in front of me – pondering. Shoup Park is a spectacular oasis; the sun is warming my back, children are laughing as they run alongside the stream and everything is in Springtime bloom. It feels as if I’m seeing LIFE through new eyes. Hope springs eternal. It’s a cliché…but one that makes sense to me.
March 5th, 1995 – the date by which everything is measured in our family; everything of note happened either before or after. And each year on this date…tender feelings and tears. Seventeen years ago today I held my beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Lexi, in my arms as she took her last struggled breath and departed this existence. I’ve missed her every single day since and even though I’ve been blessed with the gift of her “presence” on several special occasions; I still desperately miss being able to see, hear and touch her.
This March 5th feels different. Tears? Certainly. Joyful, Grateful, Overwhelming tears. Sharlie gets stronger each day. Such an amazing insight she shared yesterday. On her daily walks around the hospital corridors, she has been avoiding a ramp that she felt would be too much of a challenge. For almost all her life ramps, stairs, inclines of any sort have given Sharlie pause. She has structured her life in a way that helps her avoid these obstacles; knowing she needs to walk on mostly level ground in order to maintain her oxygen saturation.
Yesterday, flanked by her husband Ryan and their son, Harrison, she walked down that ramp and then a few minutes later walked back up, amazed at the fact she wasn’t breathless at the top! Yes, she was a bit tired after her walk but after all, it’s been just over two weeks since her heart and lungs were replaced. Perfectly respectable to feel a bit worn out.
Another milestone yesterday…they ventured out, a brief respite – and Sharlie was able to feel the fresh air on her face. They only stayed outside a few precious moments, just long enough to deliver Harrison to me, but oh my…watching the three of them walking hand-in-hand took MY breath away. Sharlie was wearing the mask that will be her constant companion for the next few months, but her beautiful eyes were smiling.
Today – this particular March 5th of 2012 – is a day of celebration. Lexi, I celebrate your memory. Sharlie, I celebrate your courage. Sisters connected. Attached at the hip for fourteen short years. Now…attached at the heart. Being your mother has forever changed me. Thank you.