I have been holding on to an amazing moment that I had this week. Not because I did not want to share it, but because I have again not listened to the wise words of many warning me of self-care, and I have gotten so sick I am unable to do anything now.
It just goes to prove again that when caregivers give too much of themselves, they are not available to caregive any longer.
I am thankful that tomorrow is another day, and I will hopefully feel better, and I can try again to be better to myself, so that I can better support my family.
Thursday night was another presentation for us. Frank and I went to Lakeville to present for North Memorial Air Care. Although we have five of these, this one was special for two reasons. First, this one was close to Savage, and there was a good chance that people that know Frank would be in attendance. The second reason this was special was the fact that the team that flew Frank to North Memorial that night would be there as well. Getting to meet those people definitely added a special note to the evening.
As usual, there were many friendly faces, but one of the most important was Officer Kanz, the officer that was the first to arrive on scene the night of the crash. We haven’t seen him lately, and it was wonderful to see him again.
Our presentation went well, just slightly different as we had to pause several times for a private plane, and then the helicopter, as it arrived outside of the hanger. The dangers of presenting in a helicopter hanger I suppose. I enjoy giving this presentation; especially to people that were part of the beginning of this story.
At the end of the presentation, and during the questions session, all of us – Frank, Officer Kanz and I – spent time one on one with those that want to speak with us. It was nice to meet so any people that have followed our story, and that wanted to personally meet with us.
I was speaking with a wife of a Savage officer, grateful for her interest in our story, and I noticed another woman waiting to speak to me. I smiled at her, thinking I many know her, and finished speaking with the person in front of me. As I turned toward the woman that was waiting, awareness quickly formed in my head. I glanced at her name tag, and my heart leapt in joy.
Standing before me was the one person that for me began our new journey. I speak of her each time I do a presentation. The knock on the door, the waking in the middle of the night, the opening of the door, all led to this meeting.
Gwen – the officer from Cottage Grove – given the task of waking me in the middle of the night and informing me of the crash, is standing before me.
You may find this hard to believe, but my heart was joyful. I quickly moved forward and hugged her, probably much harder than she anticipated. I coudn’t believe this one person, the one person that I think of so often and want to thank profusely, is standing here with me.
I call Frank over, and he turns back to the person he is chatting with – I call again, and he looks at me and comes over. I know I am over excited, but this is such an amazing moment for me.
“Frank, this is Gwen!” He glances over at her. “Gwen, from Cottage Grove, she did my notification.”
He smiles at her, and says “Oh, okay!”
Truly, I can no longer remember the context of the conversation, but I hope that my excitement reveals how much I appreciated her skills that night.
I do know I asked if my recall of that night was accurate. Sometimes my memory fails me, and I can only go by what I think happened, even though it may not be what actually happened. During my presentation, I talk about standing in my room talking with Mariah before I left for the hospital. As I talk with her, I am pacing back and forth in my room. Mariah stops me, and asks “Mom, what do you need?”
My answer? “Pants, I need pants.”
Gwen laughs, and tells me that I definitely did take quite a while to find some pants. We both laugh at that.
As she leaves, I am so happy that we have met again, and under better circumstances. I know that it may be difficult to understand how much I honor her, but to do what she did that night, and to make me feel so comfortable and calm, took a lot of skill and compassion.
I cannot express my thanks and gratitude enough. There aren’t words for my joy in seeing her again, and finally given a chance to thank her in person.
Thank you again Gwen. You gave me the courage to face my night, and my fate.