October 25th, 2009

In any relationship, but even more importantly in a long distance relationship, it is imperative that you have a plan for when emergencies arise. Because unfortunately, they will: that’s just life. Not to sound all Negative Nellie but we’re all only one phone call away from a crisis.

Since Mr. J and I have been apart I’ve lost two grandparents, three aunts, one uncle, and very painfully: my three cats (before Alex and Jamison, my current cats).

This last week we had one of the most feared phone calls that a parent could ever take:

“Your child is in intensive care and may not make it.”

Now I know that if you’ve checked my “About Me” page you’ll see that I said Mr. J and I were DINKS: Dual Income. No Kids. And we don’t have any children. Together.

But Mr. J has a son from a former marriage. And he got that dreaded phone call last Wednesday evening.

His son was in intensive care: H1N1, his lungs so filled up with fluid impairing his breathing to the point that his lips were turning blue. Because of his compromised situation, he was placed into a drug induced coma.

Mr. J’s son is in TX – far, far from where we live (either of us) in the Snow Belt.

To further complicate matters, Mr. J and his son aren’t on speaking terms and haven’t been since his parents divorced. But estrangement doesn’t mean that Mr. J has ever, for a single second, forgotten his boy. The pain I’ve seen in my husband’s eyes makes my own heart ache. The fear I saw when I arrived at his apartment, five hours after I received the call, made my blood run cold.

I wish I could say I empathize. But I can’t. I don’t have any children. Medical issues prevented me from carrying a child and ironically from being able to adopt one either. There is no way that I could understand what it means to get a call that says your child may not live. I didn’t even try.

I just held Mr. J while he tried to process this terrible truth and to understand how to act: should he go and risk upsetting his son still further? But there was really no question: he had to go.

Early the next morning Mr. J headed for the airport and I packed up his cat to bring back home with me.

Because of the estrangement from his father, I’ve never really considered Mr. J’s son my stepson. But that all changed the moment we got the call.

In a flash I was on Facebook, asking for positive energy and prayers. My parents, who’ve never even met my stepson, were on the phone around the clock, asking for updates, talking to Mr. J, worrying like he was their own grandchild. Over a hundred people Mr. J’s son doesn’t even know were pulling for him.

Thankfully, Mr. J’s son has made it “over the hump” per his pulmonary doctors. They believe he will make it now. But he has a long road ahead.

I hope that somewhere along the way, he and his father can sit down and work out their differences. I keep hearing a line from a Don Henley song in my head, “You see a lot more meanness in the city….the kind that eats you up inside.”

Meanness, anger, bitterness. Don Henley had it right: they will eat you up inside. My fervent prayer is that this crisis will open the door of communication between two men who haven’t spoken in over ten years.

If anyone has a spare moment, I’d appreciate positive energy sent my stepson’s way. May he grow strong in body and in understanding of how precious life and the lives of those you love is. May he open his heart to recognize how much his father loves him. And may he know that he has a whole community of people he’s never met who wish him love, joy, and sweet, sweet recovery.

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