Paula texted me yesterday evening. It was brief. A single emoticon.
I was getting ready to make a bottle for Anna when my phone chimed. (Yes, Paula has her own text tone.) “Just a minute,” I told Anna. When I saw the message, my heart sank. I knew what it meant. “I need to check Facebook for a minute before I can make you something to eat,” I told her.
As I started to cry, she stopped fussing.
For the record, Paula is fine. Her baby is fine. I’m fine. Anna is fine.
But the other friend I told you about? Then one who’s baby had been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy? Well, he hasn’t been doing well. And I knew that was why Paula had texted that simple message. He passed away on Thursday. He’d turned two months old on Monday.
The three of us, these three classmates, have been group messaging since they got home from the hospital. So while most people saw the trying-to-stay-upbeat posts on his CarePages site, Paula and I heard the hard things, too. That’s what we’re here for, we kept telling her. And I’m proud of how she shared her fears and her exhaustion.
And I know her heart is now broken in a way that will never fully mend.
I texted Paula back.
There really wasn’t anything more to be said.
Hug your loved ones. Hold them close. I send my light and love to Joanna, Aaron, and E as they begin this new chapter without Gabriel to hold.