August 26, 2008

He was the first baby that I ever loved. He was the boy who taught me that I could love and care for someone much smaller than myself and still be myself. He was the reason I decided that I wanted one, maybe two, of my own (I will always be grateful to him for showing me that such love is possible, that the feel of one small, precious hand in one’s own is enough to fill the heart to busting, to satisfy it for an eternity). He was four when he toasted my husband and I at our wedding: TO FLAMILY, he said, raising his little glass of milk. To flamily. His name is Zachary, and I adore him.

Until two days ago, he was vibrant, beautiful, all tanned legs and arms and muscle and tousled hair, the very picture of unbridled boyhood in its sixteenth summer. Then it all turned. One minute he’s getting ready to go to his summer job, the next he’s vomiting in a clinic, the next he’s crumpled on the floor of the hospital, unable to walk. The next he’s medivacced to Vancouver, to a larger, better hospital, to specialists, to a place where they try to make sick children feel better. Beautiful boy, crippled and hurting and scared.

He’s fighting for his life, for his body, with his body. It’s meningitis, and it’s aggressive. It’s wrapped itself around his spine and is attacking, circling its way like a snake, inching its way to his brain, licking at him with a poisonous tongue. He’s paralyzed, and he’s scared, we’re all scared, and we don’t how this is going to go.

I am so worried that I feel physically ill. I desperately want to see him, and to see my sister, who has already suffered so much, and to just wrap them in my arms and squeeze, hard, hard as I can. But it’s complicated, and I can’t just jump on a plane, because I do, now, have my own children, and it pains me desperately that I can’t just rush home nownownow to my family and be there. And hold my Zach, and tell him that it’s going to be okay.

Because it will be okay. It must.

It must.

(Oh, hey! Welcome to THE MOST DEPRESSING BLOG IN THE WORLD. Bring your Zoloft and your Xanax and your vodka and stay awhile! I don’t have the violin soloist going – YET – but in the meantime I have some lovely, sombre chamber music rolling on 8-track in the background. Do, stay. Misery loves company, especially if it brings liquor.)

(Am feeling just totally defeated, and really fucking tired of all the SAD and the HEAVY and the LOW.)

(I can has hope nao plz?)

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    wright August 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Sending you prayers and hugs!

    Angela August 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    I am sending every smidgen of healthy thoughts your nephew’s way, and every prayer to you and your sister. I’m going to kiss my beautiful kids now because this life is so unbelievably precious. Hugs…

    ScientistMother August 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Keep me posted on whatever you need when you get here, food, rides, shelter. I will do my best. Again, if you need to get something to your sister now, I can. HUGS. You rock and are not depressing. I get strength from reading your blog. You demonstrate how strong we can be.

    blissfullycaffeinated August 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I really hope he pulls through. My thoughts are with you.

    carrie August 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I am holding you all close to my heart right now . . . this seems to be the season for sadness, and I don’t like it one bit either.

    mommypie August 26, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I’m so sorry for all your family’s going through. You and your nephew are in my prayers. Nothing but positive thoughts coming your way.

    shannon August 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I am also so sorry that this is happening to you. The grief seems to be hitting you in waves doesnt it. Take comfort in the fact that your family knows your love even from a distance. I wish that words could make you feel better. You are such a beautiful writer, and a wonderful person.
    :) (Its hard to know what to say, everything seems so presumptuous, coming from me, a stranger, but if enough)

    anna August 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I’m so sorry for your run of crappy luck and am praying for your nephew to come out of this. If positive thoughts from lots of interwebnet friends have any power, then he will be fine in no time!

    And to whomever decided to come crap on this post–perhaps you should just take your head out of your ass for ten seconds and think about the kind of pain somebody might be in to have a loved one be sick. Pregnant or not, you should know better. We read blogs to hear about people’s lives, and guess what–it’s not all sunshine happydance. Next time you want to critique someone for sharing their pain with us in such a brave manner, I really wish you would think twice. Not cool.

    Britt August 26, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    i’ve been following you on twitter too. i’ll praying my hart out for your family. (((BIG CYBER HUGS!!)))
    life so isnt fair sometimes.

    Susie August 26, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Oh I hope he is okay. I am praying for you.

    Trillian August 26, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Mouse, Scooter and I are thinking about your family and sending good thoughts.

    whensheworeponytails August 26, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I got your vodka and Zoloft. But I don’t have Xanax.

    Please PLEASE don’t feel tired of the SAD and HEAVY and LOW. That’s what we’re about, bloggers that is. And we can’t always be funny. We can’t always be happy or entertaining. Sometimes we’re just ourselves with some difficult circumstances. And dammit all to hell, those times deserve just as much posting as the others. It helps to not be alone. AND it helps to read someone else and know you’re not alone. You provide both of those. You are realistic and fabulous and I love when I come by and there is a new post no matter the subject material. You never disappoint.

    Zachary is in my thoughts and prayers. I have been through watching a child you love hurt/sick. It’s debilitating. In my heart I just have to believe like you are saying. He WILL be okay. Because he has to be.

    Mandy August 26, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    How much more can you be put through? I am so sorry to hear about your nephew and I hope things turn the corner soon.

    To echo ScientistMother and Mr. Lady, I can help you out here too if you need: babysitting, errands to the hospital or your sister’s family, etc.

    Let me know if I can help.

    Kaye August 26, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I’ve never commented before and I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t been said already, but I figure more positive vibes can’t hurt. Am wishing the VERY BEST for you and your family! You all deserve it and I sincerely hope you get nothing but encouraging/good news from now on.

    And, for what it’s worth, I love your blog because it is real and heartfelt.

    Cara August 26, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    What a beautifully composed post.

    My thoughts are with you, your sister and her family tonight.

    Veronica @Toddled Dredge August 26, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Praying for him.

    bigmama August 26, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I couldn’t breathe as I read your blog…I pray for all of you and your family…I hope you will end up flying there even if it’s just for a day…your sister needs it and I believe YOU need it…just go and hold his hand…

    Kate August 26, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Wow. Don’t know what to say, so won’t say anything other than it will be OK. He will be OK. Because as you say, it must.

    Rebecca August 26, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    I am so sorry. Thinking of you and yours.

    Ree August 26, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    I haz teh vudka and teh vikodin. I haz teh prayrs for you and those you love my friend.

    Janet August 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Wishing, hoping, praying for the best. I have to believe it must, too. Anything else is just too unfair.


    mamatulip August 26, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    I’m not the praying kind, but I’m praying for Zach.

    I’m so, so sorry, C.

    ML August 26, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    You’re in my thoughts. I wish you strength and peace.

    for a different kind of girl August 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    My family is including Zachary and all of you within his circle in our prayers. We’re also praying for the wisdom of the medical professionals working with him and his family at this time. Truly great things can happen. Our prayer is Zachary heals and continues to brighten the world.

    Nina August 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    praying praying praying. Hugs to you and your babies and Zachary and your sister and all your family. I hope you can go and be with them.

    marymurtz August 26, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Lifting Zachary (and all of you) in prayer right now. I’m sure many of us wish we lived next door and could take things over for you so you could just hop the next plane and go.

    Angella August 26, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    If I was not 4 hours from Vancouver I would offer to host you all.

    I am praying that everything works out.

    babybloomr August 26, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I had viral meningitis about 20 years ago, along with three other family members– we were all home for Christmas and apparently got exposed at the same time. We were literally spread out all over the country and between the four of us we had spinal taps, seizures, hospitalizations and scary, scary times. But we all recovered completely. Zach can too.

    Noelle August 26, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I wish Zach the best. I will pray for him and the rest of your family.

    gurukarm August 26, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Re “depressing blog” – why is it when someone has something negative to say instead of supportive, they do the anonymous thing? (Just saw the same thing at BackPackingDad) – if you’ve got something to say (seems to me, at least), OWN IT, people!

    And my something to say is, same as in my tweets – sending prayers, hugs, love to you and yours. And thank you for giving us his name to focus on. It’s good to read the comments of those who’ve come through this awful disease and are able to offer hope.

    love to you!

    bel August 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    You and your family are in my thoughts, HBM.

    akakarma August 26, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Trolls, yuk! Sending hugs and wishes of good outcome even tho you do not know me at all! Never apologize for needing support- asking is how you get and you are where you are and we will count on you when we need it (hypothetically). I sure hope it is all okay…

    kittenpie August 26, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    HOney, I can’t imagine how your sister, your mother, you, Tanner… how your whole family must feel right now, besides frantic. Thinnking of you and hoping for th very best of news, in fact, for him to utterly astound the medical community with a stunning comeback. Hugs to all of you, and the contnts of my well-stocked liquor cabinet.)

    Manic Mommy August 26, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    Please take the opportunity to rely on the kindness of strangers who so desperately want to help.

    Most of all, my heart breaks for your sister. How much should one mother have to endure.

    You are all in my prayers.

    Lisa b August 26, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Holy Fuck Catherine. How terrifying. All my best hopes are headed out west towards your family.

    Barbara K. August 26, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Delurking to say I’m so sorry to hear that your nephew is so very sick. Sending all my prayers to your family. I’ve traveled Boston to Vancouver with two kids and I know it’s a long trip. I hope you can find a way to bring your love and support to your family in person. And if not, then I know they must feel it even from a long distance. Living far away from my (Canadian) family, I know that sometimes it’s hard to be in the place you want to be most of all.

    Anonymous August 26, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Praying everything works out for your family. Twenty years ago two cousins both caught meningitis at the same time. It was initially thought they may have had amoebic meningitis but it turned out be a serious viral form. Both boys survived. One has no long-lasting effects and is in university. The other has moderate effects and has just graduated from high-school. I hope for the same fairytale ending for your family.

    Undomestic Diva August 26, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    This is when you need us, your virtual friends. We’re with you, him and all your family.

    We ache with you.

    Maia August 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Sorry to hear about your nephew. Will be sending positive thoughts / good vibes / prayers his way!

    lavandula August 26, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    oh catherine sending you a big hug. i will pray for your nephew. hoping all goes well. and you are not the most depressing blog …anyways we all heart you and our here regardless of whether it is happy or sad or serious …

    Connie August 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Catherine, sending good thoughts your way. Hopefully you’ll be on your way to your nephew very, very soon.

    Lady M August 27, 2008 at 1:07 am

    This amount of drama is appropriate for sweeps week on TV, but no good for real life! I’m so sorry about this horrible thing. Love and strength for you and your family and for Zachary’s rapid recovery.

    Mojavi August 27, 2008 at 1:15 am

    OMG! OMFG! How crazy. I am so freaked for your family right now.. NO words No words…

    sending health and love and hope your way…..

    Kim/2 Kids August 27, 2008 at 1:48 am

    My heart is so heavy for you and your family, especially your sister. I cannot imagine what she is going through. I have a sister who is severly disabled who wasn’t suppossed to live past ten years old and is still doing well at 25, my husband has a progressive terminal illness but none of that compares to my children. I cannot imagine losing a child. I am sending every good thought, vibe and prayer the way of your entire family. I am so sorry. Please know that there are so many people thinking of you.

    Kelly August 27, 2008 at 5:41 am

    My husband lost his younger brother in 1996. I’ve always thought that prior heartbreak and tragedy should inoculate a family against any more grief. I truly wish that was the case.

    I’m sending prayers to your family and your nephew for strength and recovery. He needs to be well again.

    zchamu August 27, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Have encountered meningitis in my life before and lost a friend to it. No more. Zachary, please be OK. I have everything crossed for him.

    Kris August 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

    My daughter was diagnosed with meningitis just before her first birthday. It was a hard battle, but they caught it quickly and she’s a healthy normal 6 year old. I hope that your nephew has similar results. I will be praying, just know there is HOPE. Never give up hope.

    Alex August 27, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Oh geez, Catherine, this on top of everything else. My love and happy thoughts are headed out West for Zachary.

    Lara August 27, 2008 at 10:17 am

    i hope you won’t mind if i bring this up this morning in our staff devotions. (i teach at a christian high school, so we have a staff prayer-time every morning before classes begin.) we always talk about prayer requests and then pray as a large group, so we will all be praying for zachary and all the rest of his and your family.

    i love you tons, catherine. there really is hope – i promise.

    Bella August 27, 2008 at 10:58 am

    very, very sorry. My most hopeful positive thoughts are with you and your family. It’s just too much…

    Wish I had better words.

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