This is NOT the time in our movie when we roll the credits. I’m not sure when that time is, but surely this is not that time. We’ve got a long way to go. They are checking out Gay now, as I write this, so please keep praying.
But it is a good time to catch our breath and give a “shout out” to so many great people who have been major players in the journey to date. I apologize that this is a tad long, but a lot has happened in the last two weeks, and my heart is quite full:
Here’s to Gay: You show up in the cyber world in pictures and when people tell stories about how are you doing, But you aren’t some distant person in a make believe story. You live this journey, and it is quite overwhelming and real. You have suffered and struggled and scratched and clawed through pain and setbacks long, long before most people following this even knew there was a drama. You have been cut on, drained, poked, and medicated. This is your daily experience. You have gone to places of worry and despair we’ve never been to.
But you have not lost your glory. You have not lost your will to fight. You have done, and are doing, what none of us has done, or could do. We are with you. You are our hero. Oh how we want you to win this fight! May Olivia (her new liver) put perpetual smiles on your face for years and years and years. Go girl, go.
Here’s to Roger: You, too, only show up in cyber space in sound bites because you are busy caring for Gay. But you live this journey, as well. You measure your nights by the number of interruptions. Your full time job is nurse and transporter. And on top of all of this, there is the daily concern for Gay. As a husband no one carries a greater emotional load, day in and day out, than you, and I’m guessing it is a very, very difficult load to bear. But we don’t have to know your depths of the worry and exhaustion to care. Oh how we care!! We are with you. Carry on your brave rascal. We will do anything we can to help. [btw: there is one Helper who can always give you what you need in this journey]
Here’s to Dr. Baker, Sonya’s chief surgeon: I’ve spent less than 30 minutes you. Sonya has spent far more time with you but she was knocked out and you were cutting on her. Your talent is amazing. Every day you traffic in the world of life and death. I am in awe of how good you are at what you do. You’re probably saving a life as I write this. If you slow down enough I’d love to take you to coffee one day.
Here’s to Laurie, head liver transplant nurse: You inspire confidence in all ways. When you said “Here’s my personal cell. Call me in Guatemala” I knew you were for real. You and Nina and the other head honchos who run this operation should go to bed proud every night. When you said, “We do not intend to lose any our donor patients!!” I knew it was a promise that you couldn’t fully deliver on. But I knew you’d kick in the door of anyone who got in the way of anything that was best for Sonya, which is why I gave you the chance. I wish everyone could meet you. You’d probably be too busy caring for other people to do it, but everyone should have an advocate like you are for us.
Here’s to the inhabitants of the glossy boulevards on the 11th floor: Every day you welcome new strangers. They come one at a time, rolled down the boulevard on a custom chassis, adorned with tubes and gizmos. You do not know their names. They are knocked out. They bring nothing to the party. But every moment, day in and day out, you care for each. You do not care for the masses, but for a single person. Tomorrow it will be someone else. That’s what makes you amazing; your stream of care seems to flow without end to people you do not know. Pretty cool. Thank you.
Here’s to Suzanne: the best caregiver/nurse ever. You’ve given up so much to log 10 days in a Residence Inn to care for Sonya.
Here’s to family and friends who are on this journey with us: It’s one thing to follow a fascinating story; it is another thing to care. You have made it known in so many ways that you care. And it is overwhelming. We have heard from friends we haven’t heard from in decades. Your prayers and concerns have not only sustained us but YOU have been a major part of our journey. Thank you for caring. Thank you for being our friends. It’s not a journey we want to repeat, but if there is something to be treasured in this story beyond the smile on Gay’s face, it is that the journey has brought us closer to so many of you, and closer to the God who gave us you. We are not done this journey, so please don’t bag out now. We need you.
Here’s to Sonya: Mark put it best in a text the day after surgery. “If you can, tell her I love her and that I’m proud of her.” We really don’t know what to say. We love you. We are so proud of you. May God continue to heal you, and thank you for giving us this journey. We are signed up for the next phase of it with you.
To the God of all stories: This is your world, not ours. We are awestruck at that glimpses of you we’ve seen of you in this journey. Thank you for this journey, and our journeys, and how our journeys have been interwoven into something bigger than ourselves. We can only imagine how rich you must be to be the author of stories like this. We are so grateful that what we know of as “life” is so much bigger than ourselves. Oh, how we need someone, something, bigger than ourselves.
Now on to the journey at hand . . .