And now I can feel.

Toddler with lab-made windpipe dies


There was a time in my life when I could read an article like this with a relatively dispassionate approach.  Yes, I’d feel sorry and wonder “what could it possibly be like” to lose a 2 year old.  There were times too when, I’m afraid to admit, I thought to myself, “it’s bad, but hey, the kid was only around for 2 years…how much of an imprint could it have made on people”?

I chalk that up to two things.  First, I was young, with no plans for kids…in fact actively avoiding children who I thought were loud, difficult, uncontrollable, and a hindrance to my own self satisfaction with life.  I resonated well with all those people who said “I don’t want kids”.  I didn’t either.  Second, it was a great coping mechanism.  Finding a way to compartmentalize the tragedy, the sadness, when I had to be focused on me and my life.  It was very hard to find time to empathize with others.

But oh how having children of my own (one two year old, and one on the way) have made a change in my life and perspective.  There is something magical about raising children of your own.  The bond is incredibly strong and you live in some fear every day that somehow it will be taken away from you; when the child grows up, when they get married and have kids of their own, and in tragic times like the one above.

Now reading this article was extremely tough because I couldn’t help but substitute my son, Holden, for this little girl.  I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like if my little boy were the one holding on to life…pinning all our hopes on a completely experimental procedure that probably wouldn’t work.  Even penning these words right now, I can feel a lump in my throat welling up.

My son Holden has a bone disease that makes him more susceptible to fractures.  We’ve been luck so far.  VERY lucky.  No fractures (knock on the biggest piece of wood I can find)!  He’s hearty and well formed.  Aside from a slightly exaggerated pronation in his feet, you wouldn’t have the foggiest notion that this kid wasn’t the healthiest child in the universe.  But we are lucky.  Not all the kids are like this.  And one day, he probably will fracture.  Whether that is today, or when he’s 16 and playing baseball (currently his favorite sport) at school.  It happens, it happens to kids without bone disorders.  It probably will happen to him.  And then, I’ll know first hand the worry and fret and pain of seeing your child suffer…in a way that can’t be fixed with words.

It doesn’t hold a candle to what the poor family suffers through in this article.  God Bless them, and God Bless their daughter…who clearly was loved in her short time.  But in a small way, I too can finally feel their pain.  I guess that’s what true love gives us.  The ability to love fully, and not compartment-ally.


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