This YouTube video, synced to Kelly Clarkson's song, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger," was put together by the nurses at the Seattle Children's Hospital. Makes me cry every time I see it. You may have seen this before, but it is worth another look. To see their smiles, their hearts, their eyes, touches my heart. I hope it touches yours, too.
I wrote this short story after our son's short visit to the hospital, thinking of the kids who would not be going home as quickly as he did. For them, life looks different, very different, and this video picks up a little bit of that. And, again, it makes me especially grateful for those who work with these unique children, their talents and their hearts are beautiful.
Terry walked the two blocks to her flute teacher’s house, her flute case banging against her leg, squeaking with each swing. Squeak, bang, squeak bang. She changed hands, feeling self-conscious about the noise. Bang, squeak, bang, squeak on the other leg. Maybe some Wd40 from the garage would fix it. She held the case out so it didn’t hit her leg. Then, it was just squeak, squeak, squeak with each step. Oh well, at least she didn’t have to walk very far.
Cara answered the door, asking her in, and to wait a minute while she finished up in the kitchen. Terry stood in the living room, looking around. She liked Cara’s house. It was simple and comfortable and relaxed. She always had a vase of fresh flowers, and a couple of books out on the coffee table. The books changed every week, like she actually read them, not just decorated with them. That made her realize, and she looked around. No television, or DVD player. She wondered why she hadn’t noticed that before.
When Cara returned, Terry asked her, “No TV?”
“I have a small one down in that cupboard, with a DVD player I pull out when I want to watch a movie or catch a program. In general, though, no, I don’t watch anything. There are too many interesting books to read, too much good music to listen to, students I give lessons to, and time I would rather take a walk or work at the hospital.”
“I didn’t know you worked at the hospital. Guess I thought you just taught flute all day long.”
“Both are part time jobs. At the hospital, I volunteer, so guess that’s not really even a job. But I’m there three days a week, working with the kids on the pediatric floor, helping in the play room, and coordinating the stuff they do to entertain those who are able.”
“Hospitals are creepy places.”
“They can be sad, depressing places. But they can also be exciting, interesting places when you get to know the kids there, the ones who have to come in for frequent treatments, or the ones who end up staying awhile. They are amazing people.”
“Yes. Their courage, their strength, their joy is amazing. Under circumstances most of us couldn’t imagine, they reveal how beautiful and powerful a person can be.”
“I don’t think I’d be either of those if I had to go to the hospital.”
“No, none of us would choose that, of course. But, when times are hard, when you have to be strong, those kids prove you can be.”
“What did you say you did there?”
“They have a room set aside for books, games, DVD’s, and toys for the smaller kids, too. They can spend time in there if they are able, to get them out of their beds, think about something else for awhile. I read to them, or play with them, or just talk to them. Often, that is what they want the most, just someone to talk with them. Other people come in to the hospital and go room to room to visit. Some, with dogs the kids can pet, some with musical instruments, one group does little impromptu acting for them, to make them laugh. They are really funny, they always make me laugh, too.”
Terry thought about her irritation with her squeaky flute case. A minor, fixable problem. “Maybe I could come with you some time, to help out a little?”
“I would love that. The kids would, too. There are a couple of teen girls that come in for treatment. You could meet them, talk with them. When would you like to come?”