|Hugging a friend at Ewan's funeral|
Many of you reading here also know Jill. You may be here because she pointed you my way, or maybe it's the other way around. In any case, she's coming to Seattle on Wednesday morning to visit for a few days. We connected somehow over Twitter several months ago when, both of us pregnant (she about five weeks ahead of me), we were seeking to connect with other heart families. We were prenatally diagnosed (her baby Joshua with HLHS, and my baby Ewan with TOF and Pulmonary Atresia) about a month apart, our boys born about a month apart, and died just two days apart. We shared so much of this journey together, each of us having the chance to hold up the other.
And now we're taking advantage of the opportunity to connect in person. I think I can say for us both that we really don't want other people to share in common with us the thing that brought us together. But I think I can also say that we are incredibly thankful that each of us found the other: that if we had to walk this path, we did not have to walk it alone. It is so good to have someone else who can truly say: I get it.
I am also grateful to have other friends who can come and sit with me during this time. Christianne will come to visit for a few days in early November, and Sarah and Terri will follow shortly after. There is no agenda, and there are no set plans. These women are simply offering themselves and their hearts to me, to sit with me, cry with me, laugh with me, listen to me, and remember Ewan with me. I cannot think of a more generous offering.
I know it's not an easy thing to do, to sit with someone who is grieving. Grief makes for an unpredictable and rocky terrain with sharp peaks, deep valleys, and unexpected turns. Having people alongside for the journey may not change the severity of the terrain, but not having to navigate it alone makes a world of difference to the one who must walk it. I hope that someday, I can offer to someone else what these women offer me -- the chance simply to listen and be present, be available. Not to offer words where none will do.
To all of these women, thank you. To those who come and read here, thank you. To those who leave comments and send me e-mails and offer suggestions of ways Ewan's legacy can be passed on, I thank you. You all offer presence and comfort. You all remind me that I don't do this alone.