Grace and Grit

We started seeing a specialist for weekly ultrasounds as soon as we found all the anomalies with Eva. There was one technician that I loved the most. She made sure I always got lots of pictures, and even put little video clips of Eva on a flash drive. One day I had another technician, and explained to her the flash drive from last week didn’t work. She seemed unenthused to help when her task was really to take images for the doctors. At that point I wanted to ask for my favorite lady every appointment. Luckily I got her anyway. Joe came with me after Eva’s Miller Dieker diagnosis. It was his first time seeing her on the screen. He had started a new job and didn’t feel comfortable taking time off. After her diagnosis, though, they were super good to Joe. He sat there staring at his girl and trying to figure out how this perfect baby wiggling on the screen could have so many problems.

It was at this appointment that the ultrasound technician shared with us something private. This full of life woman was dying of cancer, and had two children at home—a daughter that was Max’s age. She told us because we were discussing how to talk to Max about Eva’s diagnosis, and she had experience in that department since she had to share the absolute worst with her children, and prepare them for a life without their mother. This woman offered an outlook we needed to hear, she had grace and grit.

Perspective. What she did was knock me back to reality, to the knowing that we are not alone in our suffering. We truly, truly have no idea what others are going through. In fact, any time I would start to get jealous of someone with a healthy baby I would ask myself: what type of tragedy have they experienced? Oh that’s right, something huge—bless you, bless your baby, I’m sorry you had to go through that. How’s that for a trip through my psyche?

The Buddhists believe it is how you handle the suffering. And I can really get down with that idea. We had stopped the weekly ultrasounds since we knew diagnosis. So the last time I saw the technician was in the hallway. Her head was shaved and wrapped in a scarf. I smiled, she smiled and tapped her head as if to show it off. Life is hard, but we are never alone in our suffering. It’s called being human, and it takes lots of grace and grit.