My heart has been so heavy the last week or so. Words are hard to come by. There is of course the horrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. But there is also a sad event even closer to home, and close to our hearts as parents. We learned early last week that a 10-year-old friend and classmate of my oldest daughter, Tall, was rushed to our major trauma hospital with bleeding in the brain due to a rupture in a previously unknown neurological condition. Her family continues to hold vigil as I type, as do her many friends and family, as they wait for her to come out of coma. So much is unknown, for this child’s prognosis, and so much is unknown for her family.
I can’t even begin to imagine the full impact of what her family is going through as they face the hours and days ahead. I can only speculate based on our own experiences when Tall received a slow to diagnosis, but significant concussion in the fall of 2011. Fear. Fear of the unknown. We were fortunate to know very early on that Tall was going to be okay, but we just didn’t fully know the impact neurologically and physically of the concussion for a few months as we battled fierce headaches and vision issues. Looking back now, those worries seem almost trivial in light of the current events both near and far. But I do know that waiting is hard. Not knowing is hard. Fear can have a powerful grip on you that I’d really like to think can be diffused by hope.
I was reading a book yesterday and read a line in it that made me think of such a fear.
“[She] was right: doing something, focusing, took away the fear.” — Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
Can it really? I really don’t know. Focusing on even the littlest things might help, even if for the briefest of moments, before fear slides back into place. Focus on your own breath. The low winter sunlight streaming through a curtain. The sting of cold air as it hits your cheeks.