Tonight, Friday night, just took a long bath with a glass of wine and expensive-bubble-cake-from-a-store-that-smelled-like-heaven-paved-with-soap-and-lotion-night, I can’t stop thinking about Sammy’s last appointment with the surgeon who worked on his neck. There was a 4th year resident shadowing the surgeon the morning of our final appointment, and Sammy’s entire case was explained to him in front of us. A detail cropped up that makes me wilt when I think about it.
Dr. Garner told the resident all about Sammy’s abscessed lymph node and what they did to rid him of the bacteria, detailing the short surgery and hospital stay, and finished his explanation with this:
“We had to operate immediately because as you know, the infection would have forced its way out of the abscess one way or another, either by oozing out of the skin or breaking into the blood stream. The latter probably would have caused sepsis (infection gone terribly wrong) and the baby most likely would not have survived.”
I guess in all the chaos of what happened, we didn’t entirely realize what was going on, or the severity of his illness. Hearing it in such strikingly clear language shook my core. The way the surgeon softly touched my son’s cheek and looked me apologetically in the eyes as he said those words grip my memory with white knuckled strength. I remember those words and I remember that cold wash of fear, and I remind myself that every minute of every day is precious. We are not guaranteed even one more MOMENT on this earth, nor are the ones we love, or even the ones we cannot stand to be around. It’s a temporary state we live in and a temporary body we inhabit, and whether we mourn or rejoice, wail or hallelujah, shake fists or shake hands; this is all we get. Right now. Right this moment.
And as my beautiful son sleeps in the room next to me, his sister asleep next to him, his father asleep next to me:
I choose thankful. I choose empathy. I choose hallelujah. I choose love.
‘Cause this damn world isn’t getting any easier or any more just, but there are still reasons to sing. And I guess whether Sammy was taken or not, whether tomorrow comes or not;
I still get to make a choice. And for now, for tonight, for this Friday night after a long bath and a glass of wine and a midnight bowl of cereal, with my baby still miraculously breathing long even breaths in the crib in his nursery;
I choose hallelujah.