When Jason and I collided, I had the unfortunate experience of standing at the very top of twelve concrete steps. At some point, later in the day, my mother shook my left arm a bit and asked if I knew what happened. I think that’s what she said.
At some point, later in the day, my father told me a joke about a duck. I don’t remember the punch line.
At some point, later in the day, my grandparents stood over me. My grandmother leaned over, almost face-to-face, and observed, “You’re much too young to be in a hospital.”
At some point, twenty-five years later, my second son arrived. On Brian’s second day of life, I took his older brother, Mark (then 1 ½ ), to the hospital for the traditional sibling meet and greet.
When Mark and I entered the room, his eyes opened and opened and opened. Had the lights been out, the room would have shone a radiant shade of blue. His focus immediately honed in on his mother, but he remained by my side, well aware of a new, uncertain presence.
Mark, this is your brother, Brian.
He thought about that statement. His head tilted a bit. He started to move toward the window.
Oh no, don’t do it!
When he reached the window, he turned around and looked back toward the door. He walked back across the room and stood directly under the door handle. He reached up with his right hand.
Oh no, he’s going to run away!
Mark moved away from the door and made his way over to his mother and brother. He raised both hands in the air, the tell-tale ‘pick me up’ indicator. Twenty seconds later, all four of us occupied that bed; mom holding Brain, Mark and I flanking them on either side.
At some point, twenty-five years earlier, my family stood, sat, and even joked beside me.
And at some point, twenty-five years after that injury, my family stood, sat, and even joked with one another.
There is love in a hospital.
Sometimes, it’s the best kind of all.