It has been three and a half years since my son, Zach, was born. October 14, 2008 to be exact. I will never forget the day, where I was standing, and what I felt when I heard the words "I have reason to believe your son might have Down Syndrome." I was in complete shock and remember feeling like the hospital room just closed in on me. I remember the numbness I felt as people came to the hospital to visit...I would find myself lost in conversation one minute and crying the next as I thought "This is real. This is my life now. I have a child with Down Syndrome." I remember the feelings of sadness, grief, loss and at moments, despair. Could I handle this? This kind of thing happened to really strong people...not people like me! I remember Phillip and I weeping and voicing our prayers out loud to the Lord while kneeling by our couch when we came home from the hospital. I remember wondering how long it would take before I could say the words "Down Syndrome" and not cry. I wondered if that day would ever come.
Now here I am three and a half years later. I just got home from having dinner with my dear friend, Pam Sharp. A book came out this year by Kelle Hampton, a blogger/photographer/writer who had a child with Down Syndrome a couple years ago. Her book, "Bloom", shares her story of having her life turned around by the birth of her sweet girl, Nella. I borrowed the book from a friend and read it one day while on a weekend trip with Phillip a few weeks ago. My friend, Pam, also read the book recently, because her daughter , Sammi, started following Kelle's blog a couple years ago and bought a copy of the book when it came out.Pam called me a week ago after reading the book and said she wanted to go out with me and talk about the book. She wondered if she had been a good friend to me during the time when I had Zach. Did I receive the kind of support Kelle received? She had some questions she wanted to ask me and wanted us to discuss the book together.
Let me just say, it meant the world to me that Pam reached out in this way and wanted to talk to me about this. She cared enough to ask the questions. In fact, when we got together tonight, she had a list of questions for me. I felt so loved tonight as I talked and answered her questions. She cared enough to wonder how I felt then, when Zach was born, and then to ask how I felt now. The funny thing is Pam wondered if she had been a good friend to me...and yet she is someone who stands out in my mind as one who has gone the extra mile to care for me and to care for my family over these past three and a half years. She spent a year or more, before she had some changes in her schedule, spending time with Zach on a weekly basis, because she "did not want Zach to grow up and not know who she was." I am blessed to have a friend like this!
I cried some tonight with Pam as I shared stories with her. I cried some as I remembered some of the feelings I had years ago,and some of the feelings I have felt even this year. To have someone care enough to take the time to ask, and to take the time to listen...that is a real friend.
It's funny- sometimes you don't even know what you need until a friend as perceptive as Pam, takes the time to ask the right questions. Just the fact that she read the book and then wanted to talk to me about it...I am not sure I can put into words how deeply that touched me.
On the way home tonight, the Scripture "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15) came to mind. That is what Pam did with me tonight. She listened well, she loved well, and she reminded me tonight of how blessed I am to have a friend like her. Thank you , Pam.
And Zach, I am also reminded tonight of how you have changed me. Your precious life, your sweet laugh, the way it takes you a little longer to accomplish so much of what I used to take for granted, YOU are a joy.