Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Blood Drive in honor of Nora's 11th birthday!

Next Tuesday will be Nora's 11th birthday and as we normally try to do we had scheduled a blood drive on her birthday. As it turned out, Virginia Blood Services has been bought by the Red Cross and the future of that blood donation center has become uncertain (at least to the employees there!). So we moved up our drive and were the last group in there before the close for a complete clear out, training, and then hopefully re-opening. At this point we don't know if we'll be able to host blood drives as we have in the past! As this one approached, I wondered if maybe folks are tiring of this ritual and if maybe we've "milked this one" for all it's worth. After the event I have come to the conclusion that I don't think so!

Once again the evening felt like a celebration and a wonderful gathering! Despite 6 of us (Jason and me included) were not able to give since we were not "symptom free," we still had 16 successful donations throughout the evening. There was lots of great kid energy, wonderful snacks to share and some splashes of orange.
Without my mom there to help, I was trying to balance keeping the snack table loaded, getting some photos, and keeping track of kiddos. So it wasn't exactly an event that provided a lot of space for reflection, but I did have one deeply heartfelt moment. At one point I looked over to the table where I had put our two books about Nora for folks to take a look at. I noticed that Phoebe was there reading the blog and went over to see if she had found any pictures of herself as a baby. Sure enough, she was right near a page of her adorable baby self! She sat there for a good while reading excerpts and I felt my heart swell. She was Nora's only baby friend and it means the world to me that she seems to still feel interested in being part of Nora's continued story and presence in our family.
I have been grateful for two the opportunities this birthday month to share aspects of Nora's story and our journey with her. Earlier this month I spoke to a group of undergraduates taking a senior seminar at EMU on suffering and loss. The only problem was that the class was only an hour long. Today I was on a panel (of 2 of us) for biomedicine students at EMU to share in their "Patient's Perspectives" forum they do yearly. Both times I felt so grateful for the chance to talk about Nora. It seems as the years go by, there are less opportunities to do so, so when I get the chance it's kind of hard to get me stopped...especially if someone wants to talk about palliative care! I can get just a tad fired up! 

I was reflecting on the way home today that I still feel her birth month more in my body than I do the month of her death. I think there is something always so striking about the change of seasons occurring at this time of year and the colors around us changing as well. So here we are in October again!! 

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