Sunday, April 23, 2017
"A strong boy" and "a strong girl" ...from 'hosipal' friends to angels
A few short weeks ago I mentioned that one of Rowan's transplant friends from Seattle passed away as well. They were next door neighbors during Rowan's first transplant (and her first and only transplant). They drew each other pictures, which they would pass from room to room via the nurses, or tape to the outside of each other's sliding glass doors when they were in isolation. They waved as they passed each other's rooms on their walks, and walked just one or two laps together near the end of her admission. That is all it takes to form a bond between children like this though...children who have spent their lives in and out of hospitals..children who are going through chemo, transplant, etc., who aren't allowed to hang out together in each others room, or go to school, or play together, or even touch. They never shook hands, they never high-fived, they never hugged...they couldn't, they weren't allowed, they were too immuno-compromised. But they were friends. "Hosipal friends" as Rowan grew up calling them. If you haven't experienced this yourself, it is hard to explain, just how a child can come to care so much about another child that they can't ever get close enough to physically touch. But Rowan and this little girl did become friends. They did care about each other. And now they are both angels in heaven together.
Her Mom was her donor, just as I was Rowan's first donor. Her Mom and I became friends too. We, could at least talk to each other out in the hall, share the elevator down to Starbuck's, share our stories, offer each other support and prayers, etc. We were lucky that way. We weren't the sick ones. Our children were.
This little girl's transplant went much better than Rowan's at first, and she was discharged pretty quickly. Rowan was so happy for her when she got out. We kept in touch after they left the hospital, and texted occasionally to see how they each were doing. I was devastated to have to text her and let her know when Rowan passed away in December. Then, I received a similar text just 3 months later, giving me the details of her memorial service. I just could not believe it. How could they both be gone? I thought they should have grown old together, and shared the story of how they met and became friends in the hospital.
This past weekend, God showed us how mysterious (but perfect) his ways are. Her Mom was going through some of her daughter's things and found a card that the little girl had made for me after I had texted her Mom to let her know that Rowan passed away. Her Mom had misplaced it back then, so she never mailed it to me at the time. She took pictures of it and texted me the photos this weekend. It is so precious and priceless, but not just to me...to her own mother now too. I cried my eyes out when I read her message to me. She was just a year younger than Rowan. Her words to me, encouraging me, urging me to "just pray"...were not just meant for me now. Now they were meant for her own mother too. So poignant. I told her Mom, "You were meant to misplace that card months ago. Now you can take the advice she was giving me, and read it as if she is speaking directly to you yourself." I told her to keep the card as long as she wanted, even it that meant forever. That just seeing it was enough for me. She needed it as much or more than I did right now. God meant for her to find it, after her daughter passed...not to have mailed it to me after Rowan did.
Look at this priceless card:
I know this story is sad. We are human...so we are sad. Both of these young children died within 3 months of each other, as a result of us trying to give them a new lease on life, as a result of transplant related complications. Both of us mothers gave our marrow to try to save them (and then Rowan's Dad did too). We both have huge holes in our hearts and in our lives now. But we were blessed. We were blessed to have our beautiful children for the years we did. We were blessed to have met each other. I am blessed by her daughter's amazing card, which she originally made for me, but I pray it blesses her own mother now too.
London, you were correct: Rowan was "a strong boy"...but you were "a strong girl" too. "Now he does not need to be in so much pain", but "now you do not need to be in so much pain" either. "He was really nice", and "you were really nice". But most importantly, "all we need to do is pray" and yes sweet London, "God is on our side".
Sweet angel...thank you for this drawing. God, thank you for letting her Mom misplace it all these weeks, so that she could find it when she needed it most. Now it is a blessing to us both. London, I know Rowan probably met you at the gates of Heaven, with arms wide open...and that you two finally were able to touch, to hug, to hold hands, to run together and to play together...for the first time...because you are both healthy, whole and free from pain...forever. Have fun together until we get up there with you, and please give us signs that you are near us, as often as you can.