It was a special day for St. Luis Hospital. The conference room was filled with medical students, support group volunteers, media people, friends and well wishers of Drs. David & Jane Brown.
Jane’s eyes scanned the packed 80-seat room. Most of those present were familiar with Dr. Jane’s captivating presence and they listened to the story of her courage and pain in rapt attention trying to imagine how a child could illuminate the lives of millions. She stood at the makeshift podium under the spot light; everything else was flooded with soft darkness.
A year ago they’d lost Jason. He was two years old and terminally ill. As David listened to his wife speak about their dying child, their hopes and despair during the two years that Jason lived he recalled his child’s gradual decline and his wife’s courage.
“I knew it was just a matter of time as I leaned against the nursery door taking in the sights and smells of my baby’s room I felt a profound sense of emptiness. As I ran my fingers along those untouched things we had collected for our son I felt that I didn’t know myself. I could hear Sara playing and blowing soap bubbles with her father in the garden. Sometimes I would find her perched on a stool near Jason’s bed talking to herself or watching her brother quietly. She seemed to understand that her time with Jason was almost over. When Jason smiled it illuminated the entire room and brightened our lives but I needed more, I needed a sound from him before he was gone forever.”
“I went and stood near Jason’s bed and watched the light filtering through the blossoming branches of a cherry tree. As I watched his face lit up and his eyes moved as if following something. My eyes followed his gaze and saw that a soap-bubble had floated in through the window. He was fascinated as it drifted around him glistening in the sunlight. Slowly Jason’s hand lifted towards the bubble and then he chortled. My eyes filled with tears of joy.”
Jane stopped speaking, took a book from the table and held it up.
“This is a story of the two years we spent together, ‘Jason – A Mother’s Account of Letting Go’.”
She clicked a button and a large photograph of Jason smiling, filled the screen behind her.
“This is the picture my husband David took of that one precious moment.”
David and Sara joined her on the podium. They hugged and for the next half an hour she read passages from the book, finally she said:
“I hope my book will help all those with a terminally ill child cope with their loss. David, Sara and I would like to thank everyone for their support; you offered it when we needed it most. “
There was a moment of total silence, then a ripple of applause grew louder and louder. Jane listened with tears shining in her eyes.
(Digital Art by my son Aditya . The story was published under the theme Luminous with a 500 word limit)