I have been giving a speech about how thankful we are for children's hospital for a few years now. Any chance I am given I am proud to speak about how they saved our daughter's life and all of the other times we have had positive experiences.
The last time I spoke, I was on my way to Main Campus when it hit me. Out of nowhere I realized that this must have been the place where my brother passed away. That each time my parents came to see my child and console me, they were in the very building where their son had died. Because I wasn't sure, I called my dad to ask.
He told me that yes, Mikey died at Children's Hospital that Labor day in 1978. I apologized for never realizing that they had such trauma in this place they have gone to selflessly for their grandkids and for my sister and I. I realized as we spoke that 2 years to the day after Mikey had died, I was in the NICU at the very hospital. I spent 21 days in the NICU being admitted at 3 days old. They attempted to transport me by ambulance from my pediatrician, just as they had my brother before me, but I was well enough that mom drove me herself.
So the first time my parents were back was when Cincinnati Children's Hospital was saving my life on the anniversary of my brother's death.
When I spoke with my Dad about Mikey's short stay he told me they were admitted on Friday with Spinal Meningitis and he seemed to be doing better. Then a few days later he went septic. Dad told me of another little boy who was in the room next to Mikey. He had the same diagnosis and the same prognosis. When Mikey died on Monday, September 4 my parents left the hospital without him. The little boy who had been in the room next door walked down the hallway with his mom in front of them. Dad said he never understood how Mikey could be gone and this little boy was able to walk out of the hospital.
This story Dad shared with me has given me a whole different perspective with Mikey's story having such a tragic ending. It has also had me thinking of who this little boy who survived may be today.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was messaging with an old friend when a message she sent me back in 2013 popped up. She had told me about how her husband was 4 when he contracted Spinal Meningitis in the summer of 1978. I could barely believe my eyes as I read the details and asked her again. Her husband had gone septic as well. He had recovered. He had walked down the hallway with his mother out of the hospital. Although she couldn't remember the exact date his mother remembered it being near Labor Day.
As I sat and reflected on all of the stories I have been told of my brother. The new things I learn and the glimpses of who he might have been, this left me speechless. Could it be the little boy who walked out in front of my parents is this close to our lives?
Fate has a weird way of working itself out. God has a way of showing us what we need to know, in a time when we are ready to know it. As the anniversary of Mikey's death is upon us, those years when the dates and days line up perfectly, this timing is uncanny.
I have spent as long as I can remember struggling with creating "memories" of my brother through learning about him. Every time I think of him, see his picture I say a prayer for peace. My parents are the most kind, caring and positive people you could ever hope to encounter. They have chosen happiness even after the deepest sorrow imaginable. I am so incredibly blessed to have roll models to strive to be like. Please say a little prayer for mom and dad this weekend.
As I told a friend a few weeks ago. Some days like birthdays and anniversaries never get easier.
Time may heal us , but grief has a way of making it stand still again.