Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas at Ryan House

Yesterday we went to see Santa.  And we also visited Lily.  Both of them were at Ryan House, both of them lit up the room they were in.

Ryan House had a Christmas party for all the kids who take advantage of their respite facilities.  There were kids zipping around in power wheelchairs, climbing on the playground, and sitting in their wheelchairs next to their parents.  We saw people we haven't seen in a long time, and reconnected with people we haven't seen in an even longer time. 

Santa held both of my children and told me what a blessing each of them is.  And I thanked him, while admiring the glitter in his (real) beard.  He was obviously not your average rent-a-Santa, he had a special heart, and a twinkle in his eye.

But while all of this was happening, while children were laughing and playing and taking home toys, Lily was just down the hall fighting for her life and losing terribly.

You see, Lily has bone cancer, and she's on hospice care.  She is at Ryan House to die.  Knowing this, made visiting Santa yesterday bittersweet.

I am so thankful for Ryan House and all the things they do.  For Santa and playgrounds and reuniting me with old friends.  For making me feel normal with my tube-fed, non-verbal, physically handicapped child.  But, I am also thankful for Ryan House because they are making Lily's last days enjoyable with tea parties and art projects.  They are giving her mother, my friend Alicia, help and rest that she so desparately needs. 

And that's what Christmas giving is really all about.

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