What Does Death Teach Us?

I usually don't write a lot of personal posts here but I felt the need today to talk with you about something that recently happened in my life. It relates to our health and fitness but in many so ways is much bigger than anything I ever write about here.

8 months ago, my wife gave birth to a little girl named Elli.
She is the joy of our lives and I can't

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Our daughter Elli

remember what my life was like without her. I can't even remember what I used to do with all of my free time!  But most of all, I can't believe I am capable of loving her as much as I do, it's amazing.

My wife is a Nurse Practitioner at Children's Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park and the unit she works in takes care of very sick children. The diagnosis for these children is called Pulmonary Hypertension, which
for us lay people is basically high blood pressure in the pulmonary
vessels and arteries of the lungs. When I think about the children she takes care of and then think about our daughter, I can't help but feel so grateful for her health.  

Some of the kids that my wife takes care of eventually get better and
live normal lives, while others never get better and die at a very young
age. Some of the children are under the doctors care for a long time,
years in some cases and the doctors and my wife in some ways become like
an extended family for the kids and their parents. It's an emotional yet very rewarding job and she's the perfect person for it.

This past weekend, a 15 year old, very sick girl whom my wife and the wonderful
doctors at Children's have been taking care of for over 2.5 years
received the awesome news that she was going to receive a lung
transplant from another hospital. This girl desperately needed a lung
transplant for survival and with it, could live a much more normal life, without it she would eventually die at a young age.

The lung transplant took place at the end of last week and at first, things seemed to go OK but then, for reasons not yet known, things took a turn for the worse and she passed away yesterday. She was a very happy girl, from what my wife tells me. She dealt with her condition better than most adults deal with a cut or a bruise. She was a strong girl with a feisty attitude who wasn't going to let her condition slow her down. She was looking forward to swimming with her friends this summer    

It tears me up inside thinking how life was taken from this little girl who hadn't even begun to live life, let alone a normal one as a 15 year old girl. I think about our daughter and how devastated I would be if something like this would happen to her. It just doesn't ever seem right when something like this happens.

A lot of us probably know or have experienced similar stories and the only sense I can make as to why these things happen is to help us realize how lucky we really are. To help us care for each other, appreciate each other more, appreciate the life we've been given. To help us slow down a little and help make everyday count. To encourage us to try something new, to help us not be afraid of failure, to help us challenge ourselves and push ourselves to the limit. That's the only sense that I can make of it.

So from this day forward, I hope to take everyday a little bit slower, challenge myself a little more and appreciate those around me (especially my wife and daughter) a little more because I've been given the opportunity to do so and some, like my wife's 15 year old patient, were never given that opportunity.

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  • For me, death teaches me to live in the moment and enjoy every breath and second that I can. In fact, I often imagine myself dying so that it wakes me up to be alive and enjoy this moment as much as I can. Life passes by so quickly and we should be doing what we want at all times! This is why I love yoga as it brings me in the moment. http://yogatrainingguide.com

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