Monday, June 08, 2009

I Hug a Little Longer & Squeeze a Little Harder

As I mentioned in my last post, Son #3, age 7, spent a glorious week at Cub Scout Day Camp. Each day, he took the 40 minute trip to the country to a property filled with woods, hiking trails, lakes. He enjoyed BB guns, archery, slingshots, nature centers, crafts, swimming on the beach at one of the lakes – all well supervised. I’d pick up Son #3 and he’d chatter all the way home about the wonderful time he had that day.

Across town another mother was preparing her 7 year old son for sports camp (a different camp, closer in town). She too expected her child to have a glorious week. Her afternoon ended up vastly different from mine. Rather than being regaled with stories of her child’s adventures during the car ride home, she was summoned to the emergency room of our local hospital. Her son had been involved in a swimming accident. During supervised swim time, he somehow slipped to the bottom of the pool unnoticed for who knows how long. To the counselors, it probably seemed only a moment. For the young boy, it proved too long. He was stabilized and transported to the Childrens’ Hospital in the city. A couple of days later, he was declared brain dead (kept on life support so that he can provide the gift of life to recipients of his organs – the ultimate gift).

This young boy, and especially his mother, have been on my mind all week. I cannot imagine the horror of what the family is going through. Although I don’t know them personally, our paths must have crossed many times. In the days since his death, I’ve learned that his family attends our church, the boy attended my son’s school (perhaps in the same grade). He played baseball in the same 7 year old league at our local recreation district park. Certainly if they never met at school, he and my son have faced each other across the baseball diamond.

Aside from the legacy of life this young boy leaves behind through organ donation, he leaves another legacy of sorts. Because of his family’s heartbreak, I hug a little longer and squeeze a little harder.

I wanted Son #3 to take a nap yesterday so I decided to lay down with him. Normally, I’d wait until he dozed off then I’d leave the room to tend to some chore or task that I thought I needed to be completed. Yesterday, though, I stayed the full two hours and simply watched him sleep – thankful for the time that I have with him. I’ll bet the other boy’s mother would give almost anything to have one more similar moment with her precious son.

I have no way to end this post other than to offer prayers to this other family and ask that you do the same. And to remind you that life is fleeting and precious. Take that extra moment to listen more carefully, hug a little longer, squeeze a little tighter, laugh a little louder.

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