Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Little Girl Fell Out of a Tree—July 11, 1985

Time Passes But Love Remains
Twenty-Eight Years Today
Lexie on Captiva Island, Florida, May 1985
Can it possibly be twenty-eight years since Alexa fell out of the tree—a rhetorical question if ever there was one. It can be—it is.
That day—etched into my psyche—like birth, death, Kennedy’s assassination, September 11. Where were you when you heard President Kennedy had been shot? In the cafeteria at Spring Park Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida. Where were you when you heard the Challenger exploded? In my kitchen in Greenacres, Florida. Where were you when you heard that two jets had crashed into the World Trade Center and a third jet crashed into the Pentagon? In my 1998 Subaru Forester on Route 2 in Acton, Massachusetts, listening to NPR. 
Where were you when the babysitter called and said Alexa fell out of the tree? Eating lunch with Ken in my office at the corner of Military Trail and Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was only a few minutes’ drive to Lake Clarke Shores to get Lexie and drive her to the nearest hospital—Doctors in Lake Worth.
Nothing simple like a concussion resulted from her fall. Rather, the fall was the result of a spontaneous bleed (hemorrhage) caused by a malignant tumor pressing against Alexa’s brain.
July 11, 1985, wasn’t the day Alexa was born—March 22, 1979—nor was it the day she died—November 2, 1986—but it was the day that began our journey through her illness until its devastating end.
That journey was marked by fear, by anguish, by a grief no soul should ever experience. That journey also was marked by peace, joy, hope, courage, perseverance, and an acknowledgment and expression of love of which I never knew I was capable of giving or receiving.
It is the remembrance of that courage and that love—both given and received—that has carried me through the last twenty-eight years. On the wings of angels, I was lifted through illness and death and into and through what has become—in spite of anguish and loss—a life marked by a determination to continue to express and carry that love.

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