Today started off beautifully. My daughter, R., woke up as a five year old. She jumped into bed with me, her dad, and her brother, T. All that was missing was W., who had already gone off to school.
As we snuggled, the telephone rang, it was my mom. My baby brother was on the way to the hospital with his girlfriend, L., who was just eight days shy of her due date. Her water broke and she was ready to deliver my nephew.
R. was thrilled that she was going to be sharing her birthday with her new baby cousin.
The day went on happily.
There were two dozen pink and hot pink balloons floating in R.'s room when she returned from school. There were presents from her big brothers. There was a special dinner, hand picked by the birthday girl. There was a huge chocolate brownie with candles. There was even time for a little Pre-Halloween mischief to be done to our wonderful neighbors.
At 12:08 pm, a 7 lb. 7 oz baby boy was born. I was now a first-time aunt (on my family's side). Ten toes and ten fingers. Strawberry-blonde hair, just like I had when I was born.
I was loving this day.
And then the shoe dropped. I opened an email from an old friend. The subject line read a single name. The name belonged to the brother of one of my best friends from high school.
I immediately knew how the words in the email would form, even before I read it. It would not be good news.
Many, many years ago, this brother, K., a year younger than I, was in a horrible skiing accident. He was left paralyzed from the neck down. It devastated my friend, G., and his family.
G., K., and his family struggled onward. Emotionally, mentally, and physically they endured so much. Each family member dealt with the situation in their own way, as best as they could.
My friend G., shouldered a lot of the load. He had his own, debilitating health issues. But being the man he is, he still took care of his family. He put their needs and wants before his own. He helped take care of K. He made sure K. did some of the things he loved to do before that terrible day.
People who live as a quadriplegic frequently have health problems which are complicated from the injury. A few weeks ago, K. was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. He then contracted MRSA. Antibiotics were not able to stop the infection.
I cried as I read the email. K. had succumbed to this most recent illness. I now face the task of helping inform some of the many people who loved him. He will be missed tremendously.