This week needs to start over again. This year needs to start over again. It needs to go back to where it came from. Back to the eve of the New Year.
What 2012 ushered in is a whole lot of hard-to-believe moments.
My days are completely messed up right now after my Christmas vacation (which wasn’t really vacationy – unless you count the no-sleep-sleep-in routine I mastered while never changing out of my pj’s.
So, my first week “back” (to work, life, and blogging), came as a bit of a surprise to me. And ever since cancer & chemo, nothing has really surprised me.
Excpet for this week.
In life there are names we hear and easily forget. And then there are names we hear that strike our hearts – names that make us stop forgetting names and start remembering people and their stories.
These are their stories.
Jack Jablonski. 16 years old. #13. Hockey player. Benilde St. Margaret’s.
Like the hit Jack never saw coming, so also did his life; it changed with one instant in one game by one hit. He had no choice; the accident took his 16 years of living and rearranged the story. A story him and his family have to live out – chapter by chapter.
Jack is receiving the care he needs and the overwhelmingly necessary support of the hockey community. A community that knows how to take care of its own.
Jack’s prognosis is grim, but the hockey world keeps hoping and praying.
#13 In our hearts.
Alissa Haines. 15.
Her name won’t pull as many hits as Jack’s. But that doesn’t diminish her name or story.
Life, as her family knew it, changed. They had no choice. She did. Everyone does. So as many hardships as this life throws at us, at Jack and his family, it’s worth the risk. When you take out the risk, you take away the opportunity to experience life the way it is meant to be lived.
But Alissa’s family and friends still need support. Just like Jack’s family and friends need support.
A Minnesota Mite. 8.
Not just any Mite. But one of my buddies from back in my mini-van-soccer-practice-I’ll-let-you-stay-up-late-don’t-tell-your-parents days.
A kid I’ve watched grow up from toddlerhood to elementary school. Just thinking about him makes me smile. And tired. Active hardly describes this kid – his enthusiasm and happy-go-lucky-spirit and hard-core competitiveness are unparalleled.
And this week, with Jack and Alissa’s names and stories on the tips of people’s tongues, my little buddy was playing in his own Mite game.
And he took a hard fall into the boards. He laid on the ice without moving. Crying. His lower back was tender and sore, trainers, coaches, and paramedics confirmed it was not broken. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was scary – for him and his newbie hockey mom and family.
He was taken to an ER – just in case. And when he sat in a wheelchair, he asked his mom, “Am I going to be in this forever?”
His name won’t pull up any search results in Google or Yahoo. You won’t find videos or profile pics supporting him or his family, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a story.
He’s on the mend. Back in school; his buddies and classmates called to make sure he was all right. Hockey parents supported the newbie hockey mom.
It’s a rough way to enter the hockey community, but a welcome I know the mom appreciates.
Life changed a bit for my active friend. No sports for a week. Signed up for everything and anything, as well as just running around the house, my little buddy is going a bit stir crazy. That’s a good sign. One to be extrememly grateful for.
Who knows how long my little buddy will stay in this Minnesota sport. All I know is that I’m grateful for his story – a reminder that even the youngest names have important stories to tell.
A girl and her grandpa.
Earlier this week I was informed of a loss. A loss of someone I did not have the privilege of knowing. But a loss that was hard to swallow for a family I have come to know over the past year.
The grandfather died just before Christmas from an aggressive cancer; one in which he beat all odds and lived longer than the doctors thought possible.
Like many grandparents, he left behind a family – kids, grandkids, and greatgrandkids. Networked in with the grandkids, I was asked to be there at the visitation and funeral for support.
And so I went, on this week with Jack, Alissa, and a Minnesota Mite’s names in my heart. I didn’t know anyone in attendance, except the family who requested my presence. I didn’t know the person we were honoring, but I honored him because of his family – the family he left behind.
Life changed for this family, right before the most magical time of the year. I glimpsed at this great man’s life through pictures in the funeral home. Pictures with the family and kids that I am connected to. The kids showed me the pictures commenting on how much they liked or disliked ones with them in it. One of the kids told me, “There’s a lot of pictures.” And I simply asked, “Do you like looking at the pictures?” Her response was, “Yeah, I do.” When I asked if the pictures made her happy or sad, she replied, “Happy and sad – both.”
The name of her grandpa will draw some hits, people stumbling upon obituaries thinking it’s just another grandpa. But it’s never just another grandpa. Even when it’s not your grandpa. It’s someone’s grandpa.
Needless to say, I’m a bit tired from the emotions of this week. From the physical tiredness of getting back into normal sleep patterns and a busier than normal work week.
This is just the beginning of the year. But for so many people this week, it is the end of life as they knew it.
These are the stories of tragedy, hope, and comfort that I want to remember throughout this year. The names I want to know at the end of 2012.
If this is just the beginning, what else will 2012 bring us?
Whatever it brings you, remember it.