It's been a crazy few weeks, but I've had a few things stirring in the pot so here goes...
Last week, Lee took me to London for the first time. On the first night there, we had dinner with a colleague of his, and his colleague's wife. As we enjoyed a drink in their hotel lobby, Lee said, "David's the one I told you about, whose son vanished and had an accident and died." I nodded. I did remember the story, and knew right away that it was going to be a different kind of night.
We headed to the hotel lobby to meet David and Michelle, and they swept me up in hugs, saying, "No, no, we hug..." when I held my American hand out to be shaken. Cheek kisses, warm hugs, and laughing ensued. Well, I don't cheek kiss. Never have. But they did. Europeans...
In any case, the evening was wonderful - we sat on a terrace overlooking the Thames and had cocktails and then went inside to eat and saw a British actress at an adjacent table. I placed her, putting my phone on the table with her profile for them to confirm. "It's what I do," I said.
Of course, through the evening, our conversation turned to losing our sons, and, of course, it turned very emotional. I did not manage a stiff upper lip, embarrassingly. But we had a chance to talk about our extremely different experiences, and our extremely similar emotional reactions. It was such a relief. Not that we aren't honest with people, but we also know that sometimes the people we are with aren't in the right place to be hearing about our experience.
It was a fantastic night - the best of our nights in London.
Today, I stopped by the florist to order a bouquet of roses for Miss Christy, as her anniversary with us is Friday. There was a young boy, 7 or 8, there with his mother while she worked. I said, "Long day here, huh?" to him as she worked on my order. He nodded. She said, "He had a blood test today..." and proceeded to tell me that he had a medical scare last year, and is anemic, and possibly has cancer. They retested to see how his blood was faring. I told her I would keep them in my thoughts, and that I hope both the anemia and the potential cancer tests come back negative. They have to wait a week to find out. After the year they've been waiting already. I wanted to reach across the counter and hug her, like Michelle and David reached across the awkward chasm of loss to embrace me.
The waiting, my friends, is truly the hardest part. We waited for 9 years. David and Michelle waited 6 weeks for definitive news. This family has waited a year to know if their son is sick or healthy.
I think I'm going to go back next week, not because I need more flowers, but because I need to know how this little boy who is just around Drew's age will be.