Monday, March 5, 2012

Filling lungs with love: Breathing Easy

I can't believe how quickly time has passed since the Air Supply event and the joy that all of us are experiencing as we continue to hear of Sharlie's progress. While we held our breath for a little while in hopes that all would go well, we now are all breathing a little easier as we hear about the great strides she is making! With a new heart and lungs, we all are left wondering how this new heart is ever going to keep up with the capacity to love that her old one had. She is one of the most beautiful, sweet and caring people I have ever known and so deserving of this 2nd chance at life that she has been given.

We just received this email update the other day from Sharlie's mom, Collette and I just couldn't resist sharing it with all of you who may not have been following the latest milestones that Sharlie has been making. This week marks the anniversary of the passing of Lexi, Sharlie's 14 year old sister who passed away from Cystic Fibrosis. I love this sweet picture of Sharlie and Lexi below. As sisters, they shared more than Cystic Fibrosis but also a bond that only sisters can have. It has been an emotional week for the family and it brought tears to my eyes to hear such heartfelt words from a mother who has been so waiting for this filled with joy and gratitude. I thought it would be the perfect introduction for the Air Supply Event moments that we would love to share with all of you in an upcoming post and the many selfless acts and miracles that we witnessed as we put together an event we will never forget on Sharlie's behalf.

March 5th. I have been sitting in a beautiful part here in Los Altos for the past hour, the empty screen of my laptop in front of me - pondering. Shoup Park is a spectacular oasis; the sun is warming my back, children are laughing as they run alongside the stream and everything is in Springtime bloom. It feels as if I'm seeing LIFE through new eyes. Hope springs eternal. It's a cliché...but one that makes sense to me.

March 5th, 1995 - the date by which everything is measured in our family; everything of note happened either before or after. And each year on this date...tender feelings and tears. Seventeen years ago today I held my beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Lexi, in my arms as she took her last struggled breath and departed this existence. I've missed her every single day since and even though I've been blessed with the gift of her "presence" on several special occasions; I still desperately miss being able to see, hear and touch her.

This March 5th feels different. Tears? Certainly. Joyful, Grateful, Overwhelming tears. Sharlie gets stronger each day. Such an amazing insight she shared yesterday. On her daily walks around the hospital corridors, she has been avoiding a ramp that she felt would be too much of a challenge. For almost all her life ramps, stairs, inclines of any sort have given Sharlie pause. She has structured her life in a way that helps her avoid these obstacles; knowing she needs to walk on mostly level ground in order to maintain her oxygen saturation.

Yesterday, flanked by her husband Ryan and their son, Harrison, she walked down that ramp and then a few minutes later walked back up, amazed at the fact she wasn't breathless at the top! Yes, she was a bit tired after her walk but after all, it's been just over two weeks since her heart and lungs were replaced. Perfectly respectable to feel a bit worn out.

Another milestone yesterday...they ventured out, a brief respite - and Sharlie was able to feel the fresh air on her face. They only stayed outside a few precious moments, just long enough to deliver Harrison to me, but oh my...watching the three of them walking hand-in-hand took MY breath away. Sharlie was wearing the mask that will be her constant companion for the next few months, but her beautiful eyes were smiling.

Today - this particular March 5th of 2012 - is a day of celebration. Lexi, I celebrate your memory. Sharlie, I celebrate your courage. Sisters connected. Attached at the hip for fourteen short years.. Now...attached at the heart. Being your mother has forever changed me. Thank you.

...and thank you Collette for allowing us to share your tender thoughts. Be sure and check back on Monday for pictures and more details from the Air Supply Benefit. More goodness to come!

1 comment:

Bellenza Wedding Bistro said...

Our prayers join yours for the continuation of this miracle! Thank you for sharing.