Wednesday, 9 July 2014

In An Instant.

A split-second is all it can take for your whole life to turn upside down.

I have a friend called Pam. We've never met, but she is one of my most fierce and special friends and I really love her. We met on the internet. I did IVF after my husband had a vasectomy and I was trying to get pregnant. Pam was my BIGGEST supporter. We're both writers. We both have dead fathers. We both feel things way too much, always looking, unearthing, digging. I love Pam, I just love her so much. We've posted things in the mail to each other ... I gave her my favourite Mexican maternity top and some stones from my backyard and she posted me some stones from her property ... she also sent me her fathers dogtags, because she was reading a book about how we must give away the things that are most important to us.

I have her fathers dogtags. And I treasure them. I've talked to Dave about Pam so much, because he and her husband Gerry are so alike it's ridiculous. Big, strong, comforting, beautiful men who have probably saved us from ourselves in more ways than we'll ever know. Pam is my sister.

                                         These are good people.

Pam had her IVF baby too, a blonde-haired sweetheart little girl. Another thing Pam and I have in common is that we are evil, despicable stepmothers. HA - not really, we're just women who happen to be married to guys who already had children. Her stepson Willi is very similar in age and swagger to my stepson Tim, and for years when our stepsons were growing up we'd talk about how hard it was, tricky with no rulebook when it comes to parenting other peoples children. To discipline or not? How much of a say do we have? WHY IS BEING A STEPMOTHER SUCH A MINEFIELD?

We email, tweet, Facebook, Instagram, comment on each others blogs. We keep track of each other and I have felt her here right with me some days when I read her words, especially during the aftermath of losing my brother. She always tells me she wishes she was sitting cross-legged next to me on my wooden floorboards, sipping a soy latte, talking and listening. Pam lost one of her best friends to cancer just a year ago. Back in 2008 when Dave got cancer, she supported me so much. Her and Palemother and Lori and Tobacco and Nancy and Louise and of course Mel, whose community we all met in. These women held onto hope when I couldn't. Gave kind or funny or inappropriate words when I least expected it.

People can be so wonderful, in this online world.

So last night I was propped up in bed scanning my phone and up popped Pams facebook update and I see she has posted a link to her stepson Willi's Caring Bridge page and my blood ran cold and I started crying instantly because Caring Bridge pages are only created when somebody is in trouble and something Bad Has Happened. I just thought, no, man, come on. Not Willi ..... not my Pams beautiful dark-haired Willi who is SO strong and gorgeous and tough and plays ice hockey like a demon.

Whenever I talk about Pam to Dave I describe her as "the blogger whose husband builds an ice hockey rink in their front yard every winter." Because they live in Minnesota and I don't know exactly where that is I just know it's COLD. And Gerry just builds shit out of nothing like Dave does. Every year, Pam and I swap seasons and whoever is bidding summer goodbye doesn't feel so bad because we know it's getting passed across the world to the other. I post a thawing pic, Pam posts a warm jacket pic. And so forth. And so on. And vice-versa.

On Monday night Willi came off his skateboard. He wasn't wearing a helmet. He managed to call his friend who got him home but Willi was agitated. He was sedated, transferred from one hospital to another, has been diagnosed with "a closed head injury the ongoing severity of which the doctors are assessing." His hematoma grew from a few millimetres to a centimetre, taken off sedation, and didn't respond well.

The doctor said that Willi was a 6 on the Glasgow coma scale indicating a severity that would need to be addressed immediately by surgery. I've suddenly become an expert in googling Glasgow coma scales and what they mean. Willi had a craniotomy which allowed the doctors to clear the hematoma as well as to reduce the swelling on his brain. The third day is often when the swelling peaks, so all of his family are right now huddled at some hospital over in America, worried and praying and hoping that he is going to be ok and make a full recovery.

I have a feeling that Willi is going to make a full recovery, I really do. Look at him!

SUCH a strapping hunk of a young man. In one instant his world changed. He had a follow-up CT scan and when he was taken off sedation he squeezed his parents hands and briefly fluttered his eyes! His brain needs to rest and get better, and that's exactly what I'm thinking it's going to do. I want this to be a blip. Nobody wants things like this to happen to their babies, and all I can think about is Pam and how she is holding up, what she's thinking. I expect quietly, sitting, soaking it all in. You get to a point where your step kids aren't step kids, they're just kids who are in your life and you just love them, you just love them so hard and there's not a step in sight. Pam has asked for prayers, so for the first time in over eight months I said a prayer to whoever was in charge to just please relieve the pressure from Willis brain, to let Willi make a gentle and full and swift recovery.

I wrote this to ask you to please, please head over to Pams blog and wish her well. That you're thinking of her and Willi and the entire family - his mum and his dad and grandparents and sisters and friends. It doesn't matter if you don't know Pam - kindness is universal, and it means so much to know that people are thinking of you during tough times. (Does anyone have any experience with positive outcomes after head injuries? I'm sure Pam would so love to hear them.)

Thank you in advance, Computer.

Willis' Caring Bridge Page

I love you Pam. Haven't stopped thinking of you all night and day and now another night. Tell me what you need. I will do anything. Xxxxxxxxx

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