Monday, April 27, 2009

a lovely letter

We are back from St. Louis. I am still processing the visit and am in the middle of a post about the rest of our hospital stay that I'll probably finish long after you all remember we were gone at all. Life just picked right back up the moment we landed at SFO with music performances at school, dinner with friends, a baseball game and practices. It will take me a while to find the space to sort out St. Louis in my head.

Meanwhile, life goes on. Today, while I was busily emailing vitamin and supplement labels to Shriners (so they could see just how much calcium, Vit D and B6 the kids are getting), signing Ruby up for soccer, throwing in loads of laundry, and not hauling the 8 newly arrived boxes of Walking for Prader-Willi Syndrome t-shirts down to the basement ...a letter arrived in the mail.

It's a letter for Oscar, with a return address of Haven House, the family housing for people who have children in St. Louis area hospitals. We stayed there one night before we checked into the hospital. Yes I opened it. I could say that I needed to make sure it was appropriate or that with his lack of manual dexterity he couldn't have opened it anyway. But really I was just curious.

The letter was actually written simply to "O.H." and was from "A.", a 10 year old student at a local elementary school. A. had received Oscar's initials from her teacher and was writing to tell him about herself and to wish him well during his stay in the hospital.

Dear OH
My name is A.
I am 10 1/2 years old.
I Love to sing.
I Love animals.
I Love to pick up trash in the woods and plant trees and flowers.
I Love to ride my bike.
If I could I would come and visit you.
I have one Brother and no sisters.
I have two crabs for pets.
There names are
Shotting Star and Wacher!
Get Well Soon,

Oscar will love this letter. If he were to write a letter to a child in the hospital it would sound a lot like this. We don't have crabs but we do have a tadpole named Elisabeth. He loves animals and singing and gardening.

The sweetness of the gesture and the words caught my attention in the middle of my "get organized" morning and I felt a tear escape. I am still processing. My kids are fine. They are going to be just fine. But they were in the hospital and we do need to watch some things. It is real, and yet it is not so bad. It is gray, like so much of our life. So much typical stuff intertwined with unending medical appointments and tests. I feel like I am always straddling two worlds not truly belonging anywhere.

My first reaction was that this letter should have gone to someone else, to another child or another family who really needed it. And then I went to the exact right child. He too is still processing his experience...his lifetime of experience.

I downloaded and printed three copies of all of our St. Louis pictures yesterday -- the ones from the hospital and the ones from sightseeing, and raced to the drugstore first thing this morning for little photo books. The kids each took a book to school today and shared their experience with their friends. When I said good-bye to Oscar he was showing his book to 3 classmates who were patiently ignoring his stuttering and listening graciously.

So, I am grateful for this lovely letter, for the caring gesture of a complete stranger. If Oscar isn't up for writing back, I will send a note thanking both her and her teacher for their wonderful thoughtfulness.


  1. Michelle DonaldsonApril 27, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    Oy, so sweet...

  2. How lovely. I know what you mean about realizing that your life might warrant some extra attention! I am happy that you got that letter and eager to hear about the rest of your trip. I hope your days, now, are filled with normalcy and downtime!

  3. Thanks for the wish. As "luck" would have it Ruby cut her chin on a helmet strap and we spent the evening in the ER. We decided that from now on we'll aim to enjoy our quality time OUT of the hospital.

  4. Loved the story about the letter. Oscar looks like such a sweet boy.

    Oh, Ruby :)


  5. This is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it. Imagine: the love in that child's heart has touched yours, will touch your son's, and now is touching ours by your sharing it. What a miracle.