I need a hug
I’m coming off a wonderful weekend and yet I’ve spent my Monday morning in tears.
The alarm clock jarred me out of a dream this morning. I was dreaming of my nine-year old nephew, Evan. He and his sister, and his mom and dad were visiting me. Kids were running all around, playing and laughing. Evan came to me and rested his head on my shoulder and gave me a hug. I wrapped my arms around him and settled back in my chair, with Evan resting on top of me. I closed my eyes and breathed in the moment – the precious moment when my active nephew stopped to hug his Aunt Shannon.
There we lay, Evan and me, in a quiet, comfortable embrace. He seemed to be falling asleep. Ah, to have a baby sleep in my arms again! The feeling was incredible.
His mom approached, her eyebrows knotted in concern. I gave her an almost imperceptible nod, and mouthed, “He’s sleeping.” Ignoring my message, she called, “Ev? Are you feeling okay?”
Evan raised his weary head and looked at me and said, “No,” before dropping his head back to my shoulder.
It was then, in my dream that I remembered Evan has Type 1 diabetes and the reason this energetic, athletic boy was heavy in my arms wasn’t just a warm embrace for his Aunt who loves him so much; it was because he was having “a low.” His blood sugar had dropped and with it his energy.
I quickly stood up with Evan in my arms, and somehow I handed him off to his mother as though he was a toddler instead of a pre-teen. She took him and carried him off to correct his blood sugar and I stood feeling empty and horrified. How could I forget? How stupid of me! He was feeling sick and I didn’t even notice. He’s my FAMILY. I didn’t mean it! I just got caught up in the moment of feeling him so close to me when he lives so far away.
That was when I woke up.
I felt a pit in my stomach. I would never forget something so important, so vital. Or would I? I poured my morning coffee feeling ashamed of a thing that only happened in my dream. I miss my family. I miss them so much.
They live in Washington, only miles away from the horrific, tragic shooting that took place last week at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Marysville is their town, their community. My sister-in-law, Angela works at Providence, the hospital where the young victims of that senseless shooting are being cared for. My other family member, Annette works there, too. I write for Providence. It feels like home to me, if only through the stories I’ve heard from my family or the articles I’ve written for the hospital.
Today I read that a 14-year old girl, a victim of the MPHS shooting passed away last night. She fought for her life but her injuries were too extensive. I cried as I read the news and I cry now as I write this.
I didn’t know her or her family. I’m not sure my family knew her either, but she lived where my family lives and somehow that brings her death closer to my heart. She likely shopped at the same malls or chose cereal with her mom from the same grocery store. She travelled the same streets and maybe even saw my brother or niece at Costco or the soccer fields.
She was only fourteen. I feel so heartbroken for her and her family.
When a tragedy like this happens, we say we should hug our kids a little tighter. Be thankful for the blessings we have. And I do, I am. But that isn’t enough. I want to hug your kids, too. I want to hug your mom and your wife and everyone you love in your life. It’s not because I love them too, but it’s because I UNDERSTAND the love you have for them. I know what it is to cherish another human being and so I want to hug everyone because we all matter. We’re all connected. We all lost that little girl from Washington last night. And we all lost the other two children that died last week at their school.
I miss my family. I want to be near them right now; not only because of my upsetting dream or this tragedy, but because today I am reminded how truly valuable, how irreplaceable family is. And how in some way we’re all connected through the love we have for one another.
I miss my parents, too. They traded in their view of palm trees for a mountain view and moved to North Carolina. Instead of rolling hills and autumn leaves, I wish their view was the best one I know – the freckled, toothless faces of their grandsons. I wish we weren’t so spread out. Time is slipping away so quickly and family is the most important thing there is. I miss mine very much today.
Friends, thank you for helping me shoulder my heavy sadness today. Thank you for easing my burden and for being part of this family we call the human race.
I’m thinking of every one of you today and sending love.