Friday, March 6, 2009

Can't breathe

I started writing this post on Tuesday. It's early Friday now and the funeral is over. I didn't go but it was on my mind all day Thursday. I don't know that I would normally share these things in a public knitting blog, but so may of you have thought good thoughts and prayed for the family over the past year and so many of you are genuine friends, even if we haven't met in person. It's kind of rambly. I would apologize, except I'm not really sorry that it is rambly. My friend Ann said whatever any of us feels right now is the right thing to feel. I'm going to go with that.

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I feel like I can't breathe today, which is an improvement over Monday and Tuesday when I really could not breathe. Welcome, allergy-induced asthma associated with seasonal transitions!

The past week has been difficult for everyone. A blog friend lost her brother last week. Milo, a friend's pet and one of my favorite dogs to hang out with when I was feeling down was put to sleep on Saturday. Jennie died after such a long hard struggle which feels like a tragedy compounded on itself because it means Selena lost her daughter and we lost a friend on Sunday. Monday my uncle, Daniel, died from a heart attack while shoveling snow.

The Belleville News Democrat has a story about Jennie and organ donation in their lifestyle section today. The author of the piece recounts her experiences with Jennie and Selena and urges others to sign up to be organ donors. The final line in the article is that Jennie didn't have to die. I don't know that. No one knows if a second transplant would have taken better than the first, but I do appreciate the raw emotion, anger, sadness and frustration with which it was written. Hell, I was there. This whole past year has been in and and out of waiting rooms, worrying, praying, celebrating when Jennie was released to go home, running to the hospital when she was medi-vac'd twice back to St. Louis, then this past month. It has been a blur of stagnant time in that filthy ICU waiting room, feeling both hope and despair while we hoped for a transplant but had to face reality.
The issue of organ donation and transplantation is a complicated one, deeply personal and for many people, a religious decision. Regardless of how many organs may be available for transplant there are many variables. An organ transplant can save a life. It isn't a guarantee, but it is hope when a patient may have had none. If it so moves you, please register to be an organ donor. Myself, I don't know if my current license is signed, however I registered as a potential organ donor with the state of Missouri years ago. That overrides an unsigned license.
The article mentions that Selena's friends folded over 1000 cranes. Selena quietly began folding cranes a few weeks ago. I think she was up to 50 or so when she let us in on her plan. Between Selena and her friends we folded quite a few of them. It was important to Selena and she just laughed and handed us more paper when we complained we were part of a crane chain gang. It was something that we could do for her to give her hope and support.
The funeral was today in Naperville, Illinois and the cranes were strung on to garlands of 18 cranes each behind Jennie. Several people who traveled up for the funeral let me know how beautiful the cranes looked and although I was not there in person, that I was there with the cranes. I was no means the top crane producer, but I folded a fair amount.
My Uncle Daniel died suddenly of a heart attack while shoveling snow at his home. We weren't close, largely because he lives so far away. Aside from a visit or two when I was very young I don't think we have ever even talked, but he was still my uncle my entire life. There is not a lot any of us can do right now being so far away. I'm not sure there would be anything any of us could do even if we were there. If I had thought of it I would have sent a folded crane along with the sympathy cards.
[Comments have been disabled. Pictures of Jennie's cranes used by permission from Sungazing Photography]