Posted by: jmdenham | February 15, 2011

Tough Times

I knew this would be a tough time in the Children’s Hospital.  But I feel like I have been punched in the gut by the events of the last two weeks.

Event 1: My call shift two weeks ago was inundated with 4 deaths, a person with Stage 4 cancer, and a doctor-patient consult.  Those deaths brought families that were navigating the grief of denial, anger, disbelief, and brokenness.  And I felt it too.  I also saw it, as one of victims was beaten and burned and whose flesh was peeling off by the touch.  And I smelled that grief too.  Full of tears, sweat, and burned flesh too.  Truly emptying.

Event 2: I baptized two babies some time ago.  The family was precious and beautiful.  But those children passes away, one that morning, and another two weeks later.  That second child’s death was brutal.  That family was losing a full piece of their life, both twins, with all the hope of a shared life and the gratefulness of the impossible gift.  Baptizing them was sacred, seeing them die was heartbreak and lament.

Event 3: A family I met on my second call shift back in October came full circle. Another set of twins.  But this time, after 4 months, one child went home.  Yet the other would not get better.  Instead this child would swell to gross portions as the body could not flush itself.  The baby seemed distorted, pained, and helpless.  I watched as a family broke deciding how and when to let go, and when it did, it was truly heartbreaking, painful, and completely emptying.  Helpless, sad, despair, broken, shattered, and speechless.

How do we, I, move forward with the memory still living.  I remember, and cry, and remember and let these lives that have blessed me continue on through my life and memory.   And maybe thank God for their lives, those families, and the blessings they brought.  Even through tough times.

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