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My friend Oliver

     Today the snow is coming down and it is actually peaceful and beautiful.  Lauren is upstairs in bed.  She has a low-grade fever.  She has been lethargic for the last two days and her illness hasn't really escalated to anything, but I can't help worry.  This is the first time she has been down and out sick since she got out of the hospital, I think.  Sometimes time plays tricks on me lately.  At least I am not hearing voices, yet.  But, I thought I just had indigestion until I realized that actually I am sick to my stomach because I am worried.  So many memories.  This is exactly how her leukemia started last year.  This is the anniversary of her big snow day with the Lolo's Angels in the Snow.  I talked to my friend, Jenni,yesterday and she gets it.  Of course, she would.  She has lived the same nightmare that our family lived.  I called her because I had to talk to her about how these people keep coming into my life that have such a profound affect on me since Lauren left the hospital. Did I have these experiences before and was too busy to pay attention?  I was going to keep this story to myself and decided that it happened for a reason.  I need to pay attention.  What was interesting is that Jenny had the same reaction to these things as I did.  She writes about her experiences in her blog, "Genuflected."  I love reading it.  We are leading parallel lives in many respects.  We both are feeling humbled by these experiences and sometimes uncomfortable.  I feel uncomfortable because I keep sharing this personal journey and it is pretty revealing.  I also speak about things that I feel I need to say, but wonder why I should be speaking about anything.  I mean, I am fumbling through life, but feel the need to tell what I know.  It seems arrogant to want to share any wisdom when I know so few of the answers.  But, I have to share this story.  It is the same message that I have received from the very beginning......SLOW DOWN....smell the roses, kiss your children, bring cookies to your neighbor....speak your truth and tell people you love them.  I guess there is no profound wisdom in that.  Those messages are heard all the time.  But, do we really listen?  We do for a moment.  Lauren's story stopped people in their tracks......then they got crazy busy again.  Well, here is another person that made me stop in my tracks:
     This summer I decided I needed some time and space by myself after we got out of the hospital.  So, a couple days a week I would go swim laps and lay in the sun all by myself.  Sometimes I would run an errand, but the point was I needed to be alone.  One day I was at Field Club and planned to swim laps and then go on an errand.  I was in swimming laps when the cutest little boy paddled over to me with his floaties and said hi.  He had gone past the 4 feet and the rope wasn't up.  He started talking to me and asked me what I was doing.  He showed me his little guy figures and had dropped his "yellow guy."  I dove down and got it for him and he smiled.  I continued to swim.  When I got back to the side he asked me what I was doing again.  I talked to him for a while and swam another lap.  This went on for a bit.  His mom came over and said hi and told him to leave me alone.  I told her I just had a couple more laps to swim and then I had told my new friend I would play with him for a while.  I had decided my laps weren't all that important and my errand might be able to wait.  I was captivated by this little smile.  I was also touched because he asked me if I would be his friend.  That was a pretty good offer.  His mom smiled and said she had followed Lauren's story and had prayed for us.  I had recognized her, but didn't really know her well.  I told her that her son was adorable, but didn't talk to her long.  She went back and sat on her lounge chair.  I started thinking about how I responded to things now and wanted to tell her that I felt lucky to play with her son in the pool.  I was thinking that maybe I wasn't stopping and being with my own children as much as I had vowed to do when I was in the hospital.  I wanted to introduce myself to my new friend's mom and tell her to take the time to swim with her little guy.  You just never know when life will change.  But, thought that would come across the wrong way.Then, I thought....quit overthinking everything and just swim with the little guy.  My new little friend told me his name was Oliver.  I told him that had always been one of my favorite names.  That small interaction filled me up so much, I beamed for the rest of the day.  It made me so happy, I told a close friend about it and told Phil later that day about my new friend Oliver.  A few days ago, Oliver was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He is having surgery today at 230.  His mom doesn't know me that well.  But, today, all I can do is think of her.  I have been cleaning my house and crying.  Last night I took Jonathan to MOMPROM...or he took me.  I remember thinking that the world went on last year while Lauren and I were stuck in that hospital.  Last night I kept thinking, I am dancing with my son while Oliver's mom is struggling to breathe.  Thinking about her today makes me remember the terror that I felt last year.  I don't want to relive that anxiety.  Today, many of us will go pray at SMM at 230 for Oliver and his family.  It makes a difference.  Please take the time to come and pray with us.  Or, if you don't live in Omaha, please pray for the Fangman family.  I remember a friend telling me, she didn't want to put all her grief on me.  She was terrified for Lauren and was suffering for her and me.  I had complete strangers come up to me and start crying because they felt so overwhelmed by emotion over Lauren's story.  Writing on CaringBridge was uncomfortable at times.  I don't think I know what I am talking about half the time.  So, I just say how I feel.  There isn't a right or wrong in that.  That brought people to prayer for my sweet girl and it made a difference in her outcome.  I was so touched by my experience with this little boy, so I hope his story brings people to pray for him.  Please pray for Oliver Fangman today.  He is my friend.
     What helped me not go to the dark side and worry about Lauren's outcome was imagining her in the future.  I imagined her in her high school uniform, as a bride, as a mom.  So, what made me smile last night, was thinking of little Oliver at MomProm with his Mom in the future.  That little kid has a spark.  Maybe even Father Tillman will still be at Prep ready to bust a move with Oliver.  He had a lot to offer last night as he kept up with Thomas Doran on the dance floor (Father Tilllman).  I had such a wonderful time with my son.  He treated me so well and made me laugh.  We are so lucky to be raising kids in this community where sons actually dress up and take their moms to a prom and have a good time.  This is the community where my friend, Oliver, lives.  I hope the Fangmans feel that love today.  I hope Lo gets over her sniffles and is ready to go back to school.....or go make snow angels for the other kids at Children's tomorrow????  I just can't help wonder why did Oliver and I cross paths this summer?  Maybe it was for me to stop and pay attention.  Like Lauren, he is special.  He is going to be ok.  I know his family's life will never be the same, ours isn't.  But, I hope they feel the love and find the grace they need. 

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