At the beginning of the year, my company announced that they would be giving us two new personal holidays each year. These personal holidays were to be used for "Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation". It seemed appropriate to use one of them to go to Tampa this past weekend to meet up with my liver moms.
I knew that Lisa, Laurie, and I would get along. We chat online frequently - 2 - 3 times a week (heck, sometimes twice a day). We both have young little boys who have a transplant, we've been medical mommies for awhile now. So, I really wasn't worried about flying over a thousand miles away to spend the weekend with total strangers.
What I didn't expect from this weekend, was the absolute connection I felt with these women. We didn't have to explain to each other what it's like to be told that you child will need a liver transplant, what choliangitis is, what it feels like to have to take your child in to have labs drawn, or to see machines breathing for your child. They knew... They had been there... They completely understood...
We could sit and talk about bilirubin values, Prograf, and long term side effects of our child's meds without getting that glassy eyed look that often accompanies our other friends and acquaintances. We could discuss the strain that all of this puts on your relationships with family, friends, and your spouse - without the other person thinking you were psychotic or on the verge of divorce. We all know what it's like to lose a friend that can't deal with you because "it's too depressing to be in your life". We were able to share the pain of losing one of "our" liver kids - and cry together.
Now, please don't misread this. We have wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who have been extremely supportive of us through our entire process. But, this was the first time that I've spent time locked away with parents of other biliary atresia babies.
The weekend was so relaxing...a spiritual rejuvenation to say the least. A time when we could let go, remember, relax, and let our guard down. It was an incredible experience to be there - so uplifting. And, as my plane was taking off, it took me awhile to figure out why I had tears rolling down my cheeks. And, then I realized, this was something that I had needed for so long.
So to my friends, Lisa and Laurie, thank you.