I’ve never been one to say “life’s not fair,” or to be angry about Caitlin’s CF, or about her (not-inevitable) decline and need for a lung transplant. I’ve always tried to be philosophical and optimistic and I truly do believe that tough experiences ‘grow your soul’ and make you a more compassionate human being.
Nick and I are in Florida, at a hotel with an atmosphere that feels more like our beloved Virgin Islands than “Florida.” The hotel plays soft reggae in the background. There are palm trees and thatched buildings and the water here is a Caribbean blue.
Being an only child, Caitlin tagged along on pretty much every trip we ever took–either by herself, or with Katie, or her boyfriend.
So I keep imagining her here–ambling in her slow way across the pool deck. I see her big sunglasses, her long hair, and I keep thinking I was a fool to have had one hundred percent faith that the transplant would happen, and that she would prevail.
I want to go back and cherish every minute even more than I did.
I keep thinking of her first days on ECMO and how the surgeon said, “We’re going to get you transplanted, Caitlin.” And, “I have a good feeling about this weekend.”
He was trying to be positive, and I’m sure he truly believed his own words.
I keep thinking of my own words, written in Cascade, where I describe a feeling that has always haunted me and which haunts me now:
There had been other such days—the long-ago morning her mother took sick, the afternoon the telegram spelled out the fact of her father’s first heart attack. At the ends of those days, Dez had looked back through the blur of hours to the innocent mornings, which started so normally. An egg, a piece of buttered toast, plans for this or that. And if those days had stayed normal, if the flu had passed through her mother’s body, through her brother’s, if her father’s heart had not seized, there would be no marveling at the day’s normalcy, no reeling from being blindsided.
No, normalcy is taken for granted until it’s gone.