Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hugs and heartbreak

The things that I want to convey to you today regarding Ava’s recovery have the potential to make this a long entry. This is an upfront apology. Well, let’s just see where this goes… Hugs and heartbreak.

I had not thought too much of either of these things in Ava’s recovery prior to two separate conversations this evening. Let us start with the heartbreak.

I was speaking to Jennifer about her most wonderful visit with Traci, Manny, and Ava today at the hospital and our conversation took my emotions down a path that I was not expecting. Follow along with me. Like all of you, I have been (and continue to be) elated to hear of today’s earlier news. Ava is doing great, given the horrific abuse that her body has endured. She is opening her eyes, moving her arms and legs, then Jennifer told me that she just wanted to cry thinking about how confused she must be right now and not being able to explain it to her or relieve her of it. I had not thought of that much. I tried to imagine myself in the PICU room, watching her, seeing her look around the room through a cloud of injury, pharmacology, and youth. Her last recollections were of a happy time with her sister and mother… now this? It would be difficult enough to understand as an adult, and she is a mere baby. The irritation of the tape and tubing against her skin. The sounds, the commotion. The strange faces. The strange environment. The inability to escape any of it. We all understand the necessity of it and how elated we are to even be at this point given the direness of the situation less than one week ago, but how can she be expected to understand all of these complicated issues? My heart goes out to her and reminds me of another thing for which to pray… peace and solace be upon her.

Hugs. I spoke with Traci on my way home from work this evening. It was an extremely uplifting discussion that made me want to weep for them… with them. Today, Traci held Ava for the first time since this senseless tragedy began. At this very moment any mother who is reading this just crossed their hands over their chest and pressed firmly, their heart melting, for they know exactly of what I speak. Has your heart ever longed for someone so badly, actually yearned is a better word, that you felt empty inside and wanted to do nothing other than to hold them against you and never let them go? Having children I have on a few occasions witnessed their heartbreak and wanted nothing more than to hold them close in some vain attempt to absorb their pain unto myself and relieve them of their suffering, and I am not a mother. Having been an Obstetrician and Gynecologist for many years, I firmly believe that this is a relationship that few men can truly understand. Sorry guys, but I include myself in the “not truly understanding” group. While I don’t truly understand, I do understand that this relationship between a mother and child is special… very special. The comfort that is offered to both mother and child from a consoling hug is immeasurable. I have seen it first hand with Manny and his mom when they met that first night. I was not present with Traci and her mom, but know that the heartbreak and yearning were there from the accounts of others. And these are adult children… and then I think of Traci and Ava. Seeing her little broken, lifeless body on that ICU bed for days on end, without being able to hold her, I can think of no better word than “yearning.” How her heart yearned to hold Ava and remove this pain from her. How her heart yearned to hold her and receive comfort from it. How she yearned to see Ava awake and know that it would all be better soon. Ugh! It pains me to even think of it all… and I don’t even truly understand. I am sure that you have traveled with me and know the elation that my heart felt for both of them when Traci said, “I got to hold Ava today.”


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