This is from the 3 week series that honors the time that my brother Dana spent in coma.
August 21, 2016
Dana’s oldest daughter Yu Han’s birthday is August 24. Because her brother Jrin Long and his family were only visiting Dana for a short while, we celebrated her birthday early, together.
I remember that moment so well.
Redding was still so hot. We chose this wonderful Lebanese restaurant and we all circled around, trying to find the entrance for the parking lot. Everything was still so foggy to me, for me, like living by swimming through some dense matter.
I loved being with everyone. I marveled at our ability to smile and enjoy a moment.
I think we all marveled at that.
Yu Han at that point had been living in the ICU family quarters with her sister Yu Rou since the day Dana had been airlifted there.
She had spent countless hours on the phone, communicating with everyone but mostly with the insurance company.
You see, Dana’s health insurance had not been paid – there was some hiccup in it falling through the cracks. Yu Han was endlessly in the hallway outside of the ICU waiting room with them, on hold, waiting, conferring, seeing how to resolve it.
With Dana in ICU for more than a week at that point, it was imperative to resolve his insurance; the bill alone for his care could wipe us all out financially.
So this moment, this respite in the work, the care, the anxiety, the worry. This moment was precious.
My mom and her great-grandson.
Sweet Dayyan, Dana’s pride and joy.
Those of us staying in hotels returned to them when the party was over.
My kids and I settled in with the animated version of “The Prophet,” by Khalil Gibran.
I had high hopes for it, because it’s one of my favorite books.
It was where I had gleaned that piece that transformed my feelings about bringing a child with Down syndrome into this world.
I remember not getting too into it. Not much else though.
From the looks of the rest of the photos of that night, it looks like they were not, either.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.