The Girl Who Lived
My husband invited them for dinner ~ a new family he had met at church and had really connected with. I had no real idea of who they were, but knew that they would soon be relocating to another state. And I wondered why we just couldn’t make a polite excuse to cancel. After all we didn’t have a relationship, and it wasn’t like we had time to develop one. But after a short conversation with my husband, I figured we could manage dinner and light conversation easily.
With the house clean and dinner cooking, they arrived right on time. Opening the door my kids were all excitement and ‘hello’s’ as everyone began introductions.
I noticed the little girl immediately ~ her long blonde hair, her bright and outgoing mannerism. She was absolutely a little light that beamed. And in split second, I took a second look and noticed that some of her features were a little different, and I inwardly wondered.
The kids ran off to get to know one another in the carefree way that children do. The husbands began an immediate dialogue and the mom and I began to chat effortlessly. We had an instant rapport and found that each of us had a lot of things in common.
As we moved our conversation to the living room, she noticed Amelia’s painting over the mantle along with the photos of our each of our children as newborns. She asked, and being the proud mother I am, I began sharing Amelia’s story.
As I said ‘Turner’s Syndrome’ she immediately teared up. I never get THAT look. The look of a mother who understands. Instead, it is one of fear, sympathy or hope that I won’t somehow self destruct into a pool of tears in the middle of a sentence.
Her daughter has the same condition that had sentenced Amelia to death, and in an instant my question was confirmed.
We both began to share stories and we could practically finish each others sentences. We both were given horrible percentages for our children’s survival and even worse outcomes if they did. We both had seen the same specialist in our state. We both had advocated and fought the medical establishment who were all too quick to advise we end their lives. And we both had older children whose lives would forever be changed as their mothers carried their very sick baby sisters throughout a pregnancy.
As we sat in my living room, sounds of children playing and husbands laughter in the background ~ we each teared up as we recognized one another pain.
There of course was one difference. Amelia died and this little girl had lived.
No awkward words needed to be spoken because at that moment, we were just two mothers who had walked that same path.
After these short hours spent together, I walked away exhausted yet somehow comforted. A human connection in the aftermath of the grief. Being privileged to see this little girl as the gift to her family that she is, was all I needed.
Both our daughter’s lives touched people that we will never know about. But one life I am certain that has changed ~ is mine. My little girl LIVES on through me and the light of her life is illuminated with each act I perform in her honor, each article I write here at Still Standing, and each paining that I create.
In a way, Amelia is The Little Girl who Lived.
Have you met another mother who has walked a similar path but whose outcome was different? How did it affect you?