During my recent hospital stay, the discharge planner asked the usual questions: Are you safe at home? Do you have any trouble getting and taking your medications? Do you have any mobility issues inside your house? But there were two rather interesting questions.
"If you needed a caretaker, who would that be?"
Well. When my headaches were kicking my butt, hubby stepped up and did the muscle work: Shopping, cleaning, parenting, whatever I couldn't manage at any given moment. He's in no shape for that right now. My response? "That just can't happen." She looked a little nonplussed, but I suspected it wasn't the first time she'd heard something similar. Then:
"Do you have any concerns about how you'll pay for this hospital stay?"
I actually laughed out loud. She went somewhere beyond nonplussed.
"I have a child who had a kidney transplant five years ago. Medical expenses are $1000/month line item in our budget. I'm just taking the hit for team this year and meeting our deductible."
Her eyebrows hit her hairline. So we chatted about the realities of the expenses of it all. And then we chatted about her reality: Three years ago, her twenty year old son died and became an organ donor. She'd not met an organ recipient, although she had letters from some of her son's. I asked if she had written them, and she said, "I haven't gotten to that place yet." We talked about Jorge, and his parents, and Babygirl, and suffering.
"I have to look at it this way: I got to be his mom for 20 years, and it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me."
I feel the same about each and every one of my kids. They are, collectively and individually, the best part of my life and heart. I've never had to say good-bye to any of them, and I hope I never, ever have to. But if I do, I hope I do it with the grace and courage this woman has.