This has been a week that tested my emotional limits.
On August 9th, 2011, a baby girl named Adria passed away. She was 2 days shy of 11 months old. Adria was born with TGA(Transposition of the Great Arteries). In this condition, the main pulmonary and aortic arteries are reversed,so the blood/oxygen exchange does not happen properly,and they need to be reversed. During the surgery to reverse this her trachea was nicked. She ended up with drainage issues and infections her tiny body ultimately could not overcome. She left this world before she ever got to experience life.
I do not know Adria. I do not know her parents. I know this story through a mutual friend. Even though I do not know this family I ache for them. I can not imagine the emptiness that must be left in the wake of the loss of a child. I look at my sons and know that I can not begin to imagine life without them. I don't even want to try.
On August 11th, 2011, Raymond Oliver, 31, finally got to go to Heaven after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Raymond's wife, Yvvette is a good friend of mine. I met her through an online message board for pregnant women. WhatToExpect.com has introduced me to many women I count among my closest friends though I have met none of them in real life. We shared our pregnancies, birth stories, sleepless nights. We went through the loss of infants to SIDS, miscarriages, divorce, fights with significant others, sickness, health and good and bad luck. Of all the experiences I have shared with this group of women, Yvvette's effects me most profoundly.
There are loves in life and then there are the GREAT loves. The GREAT loves are the ones that shape you and change you and leave you built up and stronger and better because they existed for you at all. This is the love that Yvvette and Raymond shared. They were both ultimately better because they were together.
When Raymond passed from this life he went holding Yvvette's hand with a final kiss on her lips. His heart stopped beating when their final kiss ended. He went peacefully, content with the knowledge that was loved, and Yvvette got the chance to say goodbye in a way that so many could only hope for.
This struck a chord with me because Matthew is my GREAT love. He makes me feel stronger, better, more capable. He has filled my life with love. We are not a romantic couple. There are not vases full of flowers or sappy cards- heck we have only been on a handful of dates since our sons were born nearly 2 years ago. But none of that matters. There is the everyday romance- holding hands on the couch after the boys are in bed, a kiss in the kitchen while rinsing dinner dishes, a wink that says I love you, doors held open for me and a favorite meal for him just because I know he likes it. When I am with Matt I am safe and content. When I think of my life with my husband I realize that there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than with him. He is everything I could hope for and everything I have ever wanted.
The very idea of losing Matthew horrifies me. We recently wrote our wills and I pray that I never need to open those documents again to go about following last wishes. I hope that when the time comes that we are separated by death it can happen with a kiss and a held hand. I also pray that it is a day long, long into our future.
And finally, last night we attended the wedding of my cousin Lauren and her new husband Mike. They are a cute couple. Watching Lauren walk down the aisle arm in arm with her father I was awed by the radiance of her smile. She has always been a beautiful girl but last night the word beautiful was completely insufficient for her. She was glowing with happiness. She deserves it. I hope that the beginning of this new life together will show them both that they have chosen their GREAT loves.