I've sat down to write this about three different times, but I always get up and leave the computer because it seems too overwhelming to start. I keep thinking this week has to have been a bad dream, and that one morning I'll hear the doorbell and Loren will walk in like normal saying, "Hi Ms. Fielding!" But here goes. I'm going to share some stuff, but some of more personal stuff I'll won't because I don't really feel like it's completely my story to share.
We had talked all week with Alex, preparing him for the likelihood that his friend wouldn't be getting better. He asked alot of questions, but overall seemed to be handling it ok. Until Saturday night. Jeremy found him sobbing in his room. He had found the thank you card Loren had signed and given to him with a picture after his birthday party 2 weeks ago. I think he finally realized what not having his friend around was going to mean. So they talked about it and Alex shared some funny stories and his favorite things about Loren that he can have as memories.
Yesterday afternoon Jeremy and I decided to drive down to Children's Hospital and visit Loren's parents. It's something that's been on my mind all week since we heard of his accident and I knew we needed to do it. But yesterday, after having received a dismal update Saturday, I knew we should go as soon as we could. Saturday's update basically said that Loren had suffered a brain aneurysm and CT scans showed that he hadn't had any brain activity since the incident.
Although we had been mourning here in the privacy of our home, I really felt we needed to go and see his parents and let them know how much Loren meant to us, too. I'm ashamed that I was too emotional and chicken to go sooner. It was definitely not something either of us were looking forward to--we knew it would be hard to see them so broken, to share their grief, and to finally come to terms that Loren was gone. Plus, we hoped they wouldn't feel like we were intruding on a private experience. It was one of the hardest things I think either of us has ever done.
I felt like I might get sick right before we walked into the emergency ICU. My arms were numb and I was really lightheaded. But as soon as they came out of his room after being paged, it didn't really matter anymore. We all hugged and sobbed and hugged some more. They were as shattered and haggered as we expected, but completely gracious and humbled that we'd come.
They told us he was "gone," but he was being kept alive so that all the medications he had been given to induce the coma could be flushed from his system so that his organs could be donated. His mother made the decision that if no one could help her boy, she could help some others. Loren was otherwise a healthy and active kid, but had experienced a horrible medical tragedy when an enlarged artery deep inside his brain burst. That suddenly caused him to feel dizzy, go unconscious, and then he fell. There wasn't anything his parents could've done--there were no symptoms or signs at all before it happened. It could've been any one of our kids--it was just so sudden and seemed so random.
They shared some of their feelings, their worries about facing the future, and their despair and lack of understanding at what had happened to their family so suddenly. It just broke my heart to hear all the things I knew they would be thinking--regrets about little things in the past, how Loren had always wanted to please others, and how they know they have to survive this for their daughter, but they still haven't figured out how they will.
We shared some of our beliefs with them--one of them being that they will get to see their son again one day. That although it may seem impossible to feel comforted right now, that they can one day find peace and hope. We told them that although he'd only been around 9 short years, he had touched so many lives and been a good, fun influence on people around him--especially us.
They were worried about how Alex was taking the news, but we assured them he would be able to handle it over time and that he wanted them to know how much he loved Loren. We told them some of the things Alex had shared with us--things that he will remember about his best friend. We told them how Alex said that he knew Loren was a good friend, because once while they were playing basketball, Alex fell and scraped his knee. Loren let his ball roll in front of a car and get squished because he wanted to go inside and get a bandaid for Alex. They shared some of their memories of the two of them and they even laughed as they told stories of them torturing their dog by throwing her in the pool, being so competitive in EVERYTHING, and soaking Jeremy with a watergun once while he was in his suit . It seemed to make them happy and I was glad we were there to share those moments with them.
The funeral will probably be either Thursday or Friday, and I'm sure that will be another difficult day for everyone. The elementary school and community has been amazingly supportive and has already scheduled a month of meals for their family. I have to say thanks to all of you for your concern for us and Loren's family. They've appreciated all the love and prayers from their friends and even total strangers.
And so with that final update, I will promise to make my posts more upbeat as we try to heal from this emotional roller coaster of a week. I've been stuffing my face stress-eating all week and I've probably gained 35 pounds, so I really should be running laps around the house or doing anything but staring at this computer. Ta-ta!