I heart emails!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Sunday morning, I received some really upsetting news about the son of a colleague of mine who I've worked with over the past 7+ years. Her three year old boy had gotten really sick just prior to Christmas. He'd come down with a very high fever and when they brought him to the hospital, it turned out that he had a very serious case of pneumonia. Pneumonia quickly snowballed into a myriad of issues, including a collapsed lung, RSV and a staph infection called MRSA. His body was in toxic shock and the family was at his bedside, watching him fight for his life.
My colleague, Ali, sent daily updates to keep everyone informed of what was going on. These updates contained the facts and medical jargon and always ended on a positive note with the words, "He is a fighter and he will walk out of the hospital." Friends set up a support site where people could donate to help the family's changing needs - hospital parking, morning coffee, dinners... I had an open tab on my computer to remind me to choose a day to send a meal to the hospital when I got to work this week.
Sadly, little Ryder Brown didn't make it and he passed away on Sunday morning. I am completely heartbroken for this family and can't stop thinking about them. I had anxiously checked my email every morning for an update; some days were good - not much had happened so Ryder had a chance to rest and gain some strength. Some days weren't so good - they'd had a setback and had to adjust and modify their expectations and next steps. I never thought that Ryder not making it through was even an option - I mainly felt terrible that this little guy had such an uphill battle, that he would be weak and he'd need to overcome this terrible unfortunate sickness that had snowballed. I never thought that he wouldn't make it through.
His passing has affected me way more than I thought it would. Although I've worked with Ali for the better part of a decade, we live on opposite coasts and can go months without talking so I'm not particularly close with her. I've never met her family or her sons (she has another little guy, Griffin, who's about Greyson's age). But the thought of what she and her family must be going through is crushing me. My heart is so heavy and I just feel so sad for everyone.
Ryder's passing was a really tragic reminder of how fragile life is. Everything can change in a moment; what you take for granted on a daily basis can be taken away, just like that. There's no way to prepare yourself for something like this and you can't live life thinking about the what-if's all the time, but I'm trying to use his passing as a reminder to live my life better, to appreciate all of the moments big and small. To be more patient and slow down and really, truly be in the moment for you don't know if that moment will be there tomorrow.
I don't have the words to communicate to Ali and her family just how sorry I am that they lost their little boy - truthfully, I don't think those words exist. But I'm thinking about them everyday and hoping their positivity will help get them through the tough times they face ahead.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

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