Sunday, October 24, 2010

When you marry brothers

Almost twelve years ago I began dating Dan. His older brother, Steve, was a regular fixture around his townhouse, and we would go out together frequently. Steve was dating a girl he worked with, Amy. There was no fast friendship between us. I was only twenty-three years old and Steve, Amy and Dan were all a good bit older than I. I don't know that Amy and I had much in common at that time except we were dating brothers. As both our relationships got more serious and then we both ended up getting engaged and married and buying homes within months of one another a seed of friendship was planted.

In the fall of 2005 we moved back to Maryland from a three year stint in Ohio. Delaney was just three. Steve and Amy had Aaron who was three too and Mia was just a baby. We lived in Gaithersburg, just down the road from them, and we were in similar life situations again. I found an amazing Montessori school for Delaney and within weeks they enrolled Aaron too. I had the privilege of seeing my nephew almost every day before and after school. We spent weekends doing things with the kids and hanging out at one another's homes. Our lives became very entwined.

The night I found out I was pregnant with Danica their family was with us in the box suite at the Verizon Center for the circus. Amy was one of the first people I called when I began to bleed so badly and when they told me I had lost the baby. After losing my job, while still suffering from the subchorionic bleed and the uncertainty of my pregnancy, before my kidney became blocked, I went through a very deep depression. I still have the emails Amy wrote me during that time reminding me to stay strong. She had lost jobs before and a baby, and her advice came to me as someone who really understood how much my career meant to me and how painful life choices can become.

When I became hospitalized for my blocked kidney . . . for weeks . . . that turned into months many people in my life fell away. Amy did not. She worked all day in DC, rode the metro home, drove to get her kids, made some dinner, got the kids baths and in bed and sometimes it would be 11pm when she would get over to Shady Grove to sit with me. Every night I had to have the baby monitored for an hour, from 11pm-12am. After an excrutiating long and painful day I had to wait to try to sleep until they did this. Amy would come and sit with me and talk or just be quiet and bring me contraband snacks and rub my ugly swollen feet.

When Delaney moved to Ohio to begin Kindergarten here at LCCS while Dan worked nights to keep our insurance in Maryland, and I had to remain hospitalized, Amy made sure Delaney had the most amazing 5th birthday planned for a weekend my mom was able to bring her home. I left the hospital for that weekend and sat as a guest at my own dear Laney's party with my huge feet propped up and a pain in my flank so bad I had to pop dilaudid and phenergen. Dear Amy had the house decorated so beautifully and a special Laney bingo game created and a huge water slide in the back yard for the kids. It was truly magical.

The last week before Danica was born I really went downhill. They had installed some wires in my back with a pump, something like a constant epidural to try to numb me from the waist down so I could not feel so much pain. I believe it bagan to attack the nerves in my back. The pain and spasms were unbearable. I also began hallucinating from all the drugs. Amy sat all night with me during the worst of that time. She advocated to the nurses. She listened to me scream and act completely irrational. She was one of the few people who never looked away when it got so ugly.

I can honestly say if I was ever shipwrecked and could pick one person to have with me it would probably be Amy. She is an amazing problem solver. She is truly helpful in situations where other people want so badly to be but fail because of their own emotional handicaps. Over the years and shared life our hearts have become true sister hearts. We can share the chaff and the grain of life and always know the chaff will be blown away.

Almost exactly three years ago Danica was released from the NICU. It was my birthday. Amy planned to take me out to Rockville Town Center to eat and see a movie. I hadn't been anywhere "real" in months. We sat at Gordon Biersch and ate. We watched "Dan in Real Life" and then we walked throught the little shops. My favorite shop there was "The Waygoose." We spent lots of time looking through the cards and sharing ones we loved. We both have a stationary fetish. She bought a stunning one with a beautiful woman on it.

Today Amy gave me that very same card she bought then. She has been saving it for me all this time. She flew here this weekend to spend some very special time with my Laney. She took her to a play at Playhouse Square and to the Science Center and for long walks on the beach in Bay Village. This afternoon she and I were able to go to Starbucks and sit in the sun and breeze and share our hearts. She calls me "Warrior Queen." She makes me feel like I am that strong. When we hugged goodbye it hurt me because I needed her to stay. She is truly one of God's greatest blessings to me, and I thank Him we married brothers and found our way into one another's lives and hearts. I love you, Amy. You are a gift.

(Danica had a very bad screaming and thrashing episode tonight. We leave tomorrow afternoon for Cincinnati for Tuesday morning appointments with the neurosurgeon and the orthopedic surgeon and an xray to see how the fusion is doing. Please pray for peace for her little body as we travel. Please pray for safety and strength for Dan and I. Our hearts are so heavy about returning there this soon.)


  1. Such a beautiful post.

  2. so beautiful...i am a chiari survivor myself...praying for your sweet girl and remembering those days after surgery.