When I started to write this post — that is, just minutes ago, when I typed the title and readied the cursor for typing — I meant to write about a little thing, an annoyance, really to most people, that has terrified me since childhood.
That will have to wait till later.
Because right after I typed the title, I was shown what it’s like to be truly, deeply, pit-of-your-stomach, clutching-sides-of-your-heart afraid.
We are all fine here, me and the husband and the baby-to-be. We’re all fine in our little family.
But — as I just learned — other parts of my family are not fine, and it may be a very long time until they are again.
SisterMeghanne’s sister-in-law, N, died tonight. She was 36 weeks pregnant with her second child, and went into the hospital last night with kidney stones. Doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section, and my sister’s new niece is healthy and beautiful.
SisterMeghanne called and told me earlier that it didn’t look good for N, after the Caesarean. A ruptured artery. Unidentifiable internal bleeding. Three operations. Multiple units of blood replacement. Life support. She’s so cold. Her husband is a mess. SisterMeghanne asked me to pray and light a candle… two candles, one for her too.
I just heard that N died on the operating table during her fourth operation.
Yesterday their family was waiting for a new baby. Now, along with bringing that baby home, they will be planning a funeral. Today was N’s 30th birthday.
Mom didn’t want SisterMeghanne to tell me about this, worried that it might upset or scare me. Well, it did both of those things, of course. I am afraid for the family, for how they will put themselves together. And I know that I don’t have the same issues or medical history as N, but I have enough of my own to worry about, and yes, I admit I am afraid about “what happens if something happens?”
But I’m glad she called and I’m glad she told me. My sister seems to have more capacity for giving herself to her friends and family than anyone else I know. I am more glad to try to offer some comfort to her than I am afraid for myself.
And I don’t have a snappy ending to this, or a platitude, or common truth. I will go to sleep praying and holding my husband’s hand, and tomorrow I’ll go watch my own beautiful niece and nephew so my sister can grieve with her husband and his family — hopefully she’ll find some comfort herself as she offers it to others.