Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanks Dad, So Very Much

Today, my son, Eddie, was hospitalized with pneumonia. Eddie has significant special needs, so no hospitalization is ever routine. We spent hours in the ER at Fair Oaks Hospital and received excellent care. We also found out the hard way that Eddie is allergic to another antibiotic -- never good news.

While this is not the day I would have planned for myself, God's blessings were ever present in everything that transpired. First, I must commend his teachers at South Lakes High School for their dedication to their students. They recognized right away that something was happening to Eddie, and it was happening quickly. Obviously, we didn't see any problems in the early morning when we sent him to school. They noticed a decline in his health and several signs that alerted me to the fact that what was happening was more than just a routine issue. I am grateful for their attentiveness to my child and all the children with special needs that they serve.

It also touched my heart when Fr. Stephen Holmes, the parochial vicar from our parish, came to visit us. His pastoral care of our family and his love for our son, Eddie, is so special. It was a comfort to have him with us, as it has been every time we have had a crisis and he was there. I am blessed to know him.

A profound moment that stopped me in my tracks was when I met a little person with Down Syndrome and his Grandfather. As I was leaving the hospital, after getting Eddie settled and making sure his nurses were up to speed with the level of care he would require through the night, I pushed the button for the elevator to go to the lobby. The door opened, and as it did, the little bundle of love toddled toward the door with me. I immediately blocked his way and looked up at his grandfather who was just two steps behind the little man.

The door closed behind me as we started to chat about what a joy he had in his little grandson and the fact that his daughter had just delivered his little sister. I told the grandfather how my son, Eddie, was in the pediatric ward just across from labor and delivery. He said with a sense of camaraderie, his name is Eddie, speaking about his grandson, and so is mine!

Believe me, I was tired and worried about leaving Eddie to go home to comfort the other sick members of the family and help them pray and get to bed. When grandpa Eddie and grandson with special needs Eddie met me in that hallway, I felt my dad, who has been deceased for 18 years, with me. Do you want to take a stab at what his name is? That's right, it's Eddie. It was as if my father had put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Knock it off, do you think someone else is going to take care of this for you? Go home, I'm right here with Eddie." Of course, that inspiration came with the same New York accent that the gentleman named Eddie who was with me by the elevators also sported. It was uncanny, and such an incredible comfort. Like listening to my own father speaking to me through someone else -- who was from NY, had a grandson with special needs, was Catholic and pro-life, whose daughter's doctors are the same as mine, etc. Coincidence? No way!

Of course, we believe the souls of the faithful departed are alive in heaven. They are alive and present to intercede for us in our times of trial. John tells us in his Gospel: "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (Rom 8: 16,17) If God wants the salvation of all souls, and we are heirs of God, then His mission is our mission too, in heaven and here on Earth. There is no doubt that my father was interceding for me in that moment. God's love was palpable.

I left the hospital joyful, with a happy story to share with the family about my new "Eddies" and the spiritual comfort offered in that situation by my dad, their grandfather. Congratulations to the new blessing that entered the world tonight for little Eddie to love and bless with his presence. And, thanks Dad for lifting my spirits in that special interaction, and for reminding me that even when life is tough, blessings abound!


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