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August 25, 2016
Days were blurring, blurring, blurred.
I’d wake up, pray, meditate, write on the floor of the hotel room in the dark, with my laptop on a pillow on my lap.
When the kids woke up, they came over to me for hugs, I’d set the laptop to the side as soon as they came stumbling over, and my lap would be ready to receive their warm, sweet selves.
As soon as they received their charge of love, they’d invariably bolt around the room and start getting into things. Or they would want to talk. When it was the latter, I always got this:
My kids would just go to where I put my hearing aids, get them, then walk over to me and give them to me before trying to talk.
Whenever I connected the fact that they knew me and my hearing so well, it always made me smile. It’s nice to be known.
Known, too, was my brother and I.
Is that why I love him so much? Because I’ve always felt known with him? That he understood me when no one else – even my parents – did.
Understanding and love: those were two things that Dana carried in spades, tucked all around and in his exuberant, energetic self.
At this point, Dana had gone through numerous surgeries and was still in coma. My nieces were still living in the family quarters that the hospital provided, and my mom was still sleeping on chairs in the waiting room.
My husband had not come. He rarely called or texted.
We were about 4 hours from the legions of support that existed in Blue Lake and Humboldt County – Dana was deeply loved by his community, and I have no doubt people would have come to help us if we had made space for that. But we didn’t. I’m not sure we could have. We were so raw and in this state of fog that we did not have the wherewithal to think of people who were not in our immediate sphere.
It’s like mom, Yu Han, Yu Rou, and I were living in a lava lamp: we did not have ability to go outside of our lava lamp then and ask someone to plug it in or invite anyone to join us.
Just keeping our own feet moving, one in front of the other, keeping our own breaths even was all we could do.
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.