Sunday, August 20, 2017
Didn't sleep well again. Finally gave into the restlessness and opened my eyes to see 4am, yet again. Xanax couldn't even keep my mind quiet last night. As usual, I read from my phone until my eyes are too heavy to stay open. As the time ticked by, the torture going on in my own head was numbed from mindless scrolling. Around 5:30, I stopped scrolling when I saw a familiar face. Another life, one we knew, one who had impact on our lives, left this world about 5am this morning.
Roman Komenda and BJ had been in the same classes in school. The first time I knew of Roman, he was standing with his IV pole and oxygen tank in the 11th floor hallway at Levine Children's Hospital. I was trailing behind the nurses who were quickly rolling BJ in his hospital bed out to the elevators for a CT scan. This scrawny boy standing there with his nasal cannula said "Hey BJ" as the nurses rolled right by. He looked at me and asked... "Is that BJ?" I said "yes, but how do you know him?" I really didn't get his quiet answer as I was rushing to catch up with BJ and his entourage.
That not-by-chance meeting started a pathway toward our interest in natural treatments, supplements, concoctions, alkaline water and such things. Lingering outside our room, Roman's mom very obviously wanted to talk to me. This particular time in the day where time didn't really exist for us, Roman's mom, Jadwiga cornered me in the small laundry closet. She is from Poland, and tries very hard with English, but it was still very hard for me to understand. What I got from her, is that BJ could benefit from "natural". She invited me back to her room when I had a free moment, that she would like to give me some things. I found a quick moment to go down the hallway to Roman's room, who translated for his mom, and explained to me what she was trying to express. I could see how deeply important it was to her. She sent me back with a bag of tinctures and dropper bottles of things I really didn't understand. She really started the change in my way of thinking about medicines and nutrition. It was Roman and his mom that, coupled with a few other non-coincidental suggestions, put us firmly on a path and strong interest in what God's earth held for healing.
We had many visits with Jadwiga and Roman over the past year. They came to BJ's visitation, with Roman's oxygen tank in tow. Carly and I visited him at Levine last year, and Jadwiga gave us the update on their upcoming trip to Chapel Hill, for a lung transplant. We kept up as much as possible through very sparse facebook posts. We saw them at the post office one afternoon, and Roman still had that smile on his face, and twinkly blue eyes. That's what always stuck out to me about Roman. That smile. He was always so happy to see us, and even with his severe breathing problems, he smiled.
So this morning, when I saw that smiling face, I stopped. I read. Roman's sister had posted that at 5am this morning, after a medical flight back to Charlotte, Roman died. He had been at a children's hospital in Texas for another lung transplant evaluation. I lay there looking at his picture, and all those memories of Roman, the day that we met, the conversations with him and Jadwiga, and that smile came back in rapid succession. Roman probably already said Hi to BJ this morning, and maybe BJ even welcomed him. A very slight smile broke the rapid development of tears for just a moment at these happy thoughts and the images of two strong, healthy boys with beautiful smiles and twinkly blue eyes meeting each other again in a different space.
Then my thoughts returned here to the present...a place without two beautiful smiles and sparkly blue eyes...a place where moms grieve for their children. I know the pain that Jadwiga is in and the road before her. I felt a drawn toward reaching out to her, so I sent a quick text just to let her know I am thinking about her, and praying for their family.
In the darkness and quiet, in the midst of a chaos of tangled thoughts, I realized it is Sunday. BJ died on a Sunday, 531 days ago. 531 days that can still feel like yesterday, at any time of the week, any time of the day or night, and especially on a Sunday.