Thank you Peach

A part of us is speechless today, disbelieving you are gone and that we are burying you and our dreams that, despite the daunting surgical plan, we would live many years together. A larger part of us spills with words about your brave journey, the fullness of 2 years and the wonderful way you touched and taught people to see and appreciate life’s little pleasures.

When you were born, some people did not congratulate us, they did not know what to say, they were sad, and they did not know that Mazeltov was appropriate. We were so happy to have you Sash, we were deeply grateful to be with such a special little girl. Some people would stare at you and ask Why is she yellow? Others would simply say She is so beautiful. We are grateful to those people could see beyond the yellow in your eyes, beyond the scars all over your body.

Sash, for a child that had so much wrong with you, you were so happy, so engaging, and left us with so many wonderful memories. Mom and Dad loved waking up with you and having cereal with milk while you enjoyed your minigo yoghurts and carefully picked fruit loops and then went for a two hour walk in the ravine with Sam. The daily dance routine in your crib as you wiggled to Stevie Wonder. Hearing your sweet little voice. How much you loved your books and your incredible fingers turning the pages, the endless enthusiasm you had for throwing out crayons and cards and then putting them back, pressing cell phones and musical toys continuously, never waiting for the songs or beeps to hang, your interest in Dad's shirt pocket, playing with the hair on his chest and arms. The lovely way you held and caressed finger tips, the smile you gave your grandparents, jumping in the exer-saucer, flying hand over hand along the walls shouting at the top of your lungs, your happiness at seeing a chip, a cup of ice or a drink from a straw, your helping Mommy with the IVs and syringes and your love of your watermelon toothpaste. We loved the vigour with which you shook your head when you didn’t want something and the excitement when you pointed to anything you wished to explore. How you clapped and how you put your hand to your forehead in exclamation: Oh Goodness.

We are lucky to have a health system where there was never a discussion about resources or costs as you were 1 in a million and your health care cost millions. In many countries you would have died at birth. You taught us to treasure the dedicated doctors and nurses we met at Sick Kids who worked so hard to include us in your care plan and we again thank the floor 4 Cardiac Ward team and your pediatrican Dr Michael Peer for his positivity.

We were also very lucky to have our family’s support as we did. Bubby, Granny and Gramps visited us daily and your aunties and aunts were always available, often canceling holidays due to hospital visits and little scares. Your life was a marathon, not a sprint, and the family helped us help you. Everyone pulled together in their own way, flying in from out of town, working longer hours to keep the business on track, calling just to see how we are, arriving with food and good humor, and listening to us try work things out.

Your Mommy and Daddy did not have the opportunity to be together as often as we liked and we did not sleep in the same bed for many months as we cared for you, Mom during the day, Dad at night. Mom is one of the most emotional people Dad knows and it was quite a sight to see her alternate between streaming tears of love and concern and steely determination to give you everything. One of Dad’s greatest joys is to be married to a woman who loves being Sasha's mother, who taught Dad to see your quirky personality - throughout, when one of us was down, the other was ok. And since Mom was with you all day, she would often bear the brunt of your impatience. Dad got the big smiles when he appeared at the end of the day and he thanks your mom for that big pleasure.

Sasha, you have brought, and will always bring us so much joy. You have also taught us the simple righteousness of visiting someone who cannot get out of bed, of being simply present for a friend when words are difficult, of growing from trauma rather than avoiding or denying it.

Peach, you touched so many people in your two long years. We cannot imagine where you will go or what you will now do but we do know the joy you have brought and the discomfort you absorbed and the example you set ripples out through time and space in ways we cannot understand. Everyone who met you and heard your story was touched.

During the recovery after CCU we listened every day to Jack Johnson's Curious George soundtrack and we end with words we heard nightly as you fell asleep.

My own two hands

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

I'm going to make it a brighter place
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a safer place
With my own two hands
I'm going to help the human race
With my own two hands
I can hold you
In my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands

But you've got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands
With our own
Our own two hands
With my own
With my two hands

Thank you Sash for the joy, the love and the honor of being your parents. You will forever be our little Peach. We love you.

3 comments:

  1. Dear distant friends,

    Though I have to date only had the pleasure of meeting grandfather Henry for one evening in May, I was deeply touched then by the story of little Sasha and her loving family.

    We sit half a world away from you, in Cape Town, South Africa, where our University of Cape Town has its own "sick kids" hospital, the Red Cross War Memorial. It too is the site of heroic efforts to help our babies in ill health, and a place of joy and of sadness, as some of them recover and go home, and others, alas, do not.

    All of us at UCT reach out with love to our most special friends Henry and Marcia, and to the wonderfully strong family that they head.

    A Gaelic proverb wishes "deep peace" in difficult times, a peace that binds together in love what otherwise might crumble under the weight of great sadness. "Deep peace" to you all...

    Jim McNamara
    University of Cape Town

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  2. Anonymous10:22 PM

    Today was the funeral for you sweet Sasha.Everybody who loved you was with you.The sun was out and at times there was a light breeze.The birds were singing.
    It was hard to walk away.

    We went to your house and I held baby Mia.I wispered in her ear that I loved her. And then I wispered to her again and told her how much I loved you. She opened her eyes for a few seconds and I could see you in them. She then fell back asleep in my arms.

    We drove home later in the day-it was a long drive.It's hard to be away from everybody.I walked in the house and realized you never got to see it-but there are pictures of you everywhere. I came downstairs to read you website and watched one of my favorite clips of you-the one where you say "nite nite"... I miss your voice.I miss you so much.But I know you are in a good place-my head says so. I just wish my heart felt the same. One day maybe.

    Love you sweet Bella
    Auntie Jessie

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  3. Anonymous2:04 PM

    jonny and pammy
    i just found ben harper's video for my own two hands on his website under video at benharper.net. i dont know if you have heard his version, it is reggae and rather celebratory and jubilant, and at the end of the video there is dancing, and i imagined you with sasha in this way and smiled. the rabbi asked us to leave you with a sasha-saturated-smile yesterday, and i wanted you to know that those smiles continue today and countless tomorrows.
    thinking of you and playing her song
    stephanie
    xoxo

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