Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slice of Life: Life in Perspective

The month of March brings on the Slice of Life Challenge where bloggers are encouraged to post daily about, well, a slice of life from their day. Link up with Two Writing Teachers to read what others post for their Slice of Life daily challenge.

I have actually been avoiding my blog this past week - not blogging means that I can avoid being some raw emotions that I experienced this past week.

I live in a rural coastal town where we tend to know everyone's business. Social media adds another layer of knowing what is going on. In February, a lot was circulating over Facebook about praying for a man named Kurt Robinson. Kurt needed a 2nd double lung transplant.

Kurt attended school in the district where I work - so my colleagues know him because they coached & taught him. His mom has been employed by my school district. His brother-in-law is an administrator here. Kurt's sister is employed by the ESD (educational service district) and works in my district as a speech pathologist. I have never crossed paths with Kurt himself, but know him of him based on my other work relationships and friendships. 

There's a lot that has been circulating over my Facebook feed about friends and relatives who have shared the comments of "positive thoughts sent their way", or "prayer for healing", or "please consider donating" - Kurt's story didn't push any emotional buttons, initially. 

When I saw GoFundMe/KurtRobinson begin to cross my feed I became more curious about the specifics of what is going on with this man that I know of but do not know personally.  

Through the GoFundMe website, I linked up to Kurt's blog and was able to learn about Kurt's journey leading up to his first lung transplant only two years ago. His story blew me away. To begin with, he put a face to a disease that I have only heard of - cystic fibrosis. Next, reading of his first journey and the false "starts" for his initial lung transplant were unreal to me. He was in the fight for his life and in a horrible twist, he was fighting the same battle all over again. 

His blog brought his condition to life. In February, when he was hospitalized, his wife continued his blog giving me an opportunity to know her as well. Kurt and his wife, Lisa, were no longer people who were random individuals showing up on my Facebook feed. They were real people opening up about the realities of their fight for survival. 

A bit less than a week ago, the family received news that there was a set of donor lungs only to find out that once the lungs were harvested that the lungs were not viable. A day later, Kurt was taken off of the donor list (he had deteriorated that much). The day after that his family agreed to take him slowly off of life supports. Kurt died at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

I was saddened by Kurt's death. It seemed unfair that this man who so many talked about as kind and courageous was taken from life too soon. However, was particularly difficult for me to cope with was the impact that his death would have on his wife, his sister(s), and his mother. I identified with all three of these women because it could have easily been me - not the one dying, but the one left behind. I would be heartbroken, as a sister, if anything happened to any one of my brothers or sisters. I would be completely devastated if anything were to happen to my husband. If anything were to happen to my daughter - I think I'd rather die, too. His mom, Sheryl, losing her son is what as stuck with me the most. I grieve for her in what feels like an unnatural occurrence. It doesn't seem "right" when children die before their parents. 

I appreciate Kurt and his family opening up about their lives - Kurt's battle with Cystic Fibrosis; his life as Kurt 2.0 (as he called it); and then the last chapter of his life that his wife subsequently documented for the rest of us. I have a lump in my throat as I think about the post that Kurt's wife posted today - the letter that he wrote to her in January just in case another lung transplant was not successful or possible. (Read From the man I loved).

I thought that when my dad died in 2010 that I had gained perspective. In the business of work and life, I have veered off of that perspective and have become unbalanced. Kurt's story, his family's story, has refocused my perspective. My work is important to me, but at the end of the day, I will be actively appreciating and taking advantage of every moment with my husband, my beautiful daughter, my extended family. Life is too short.


  1. Nothing makes loss like this easier. Life is too short, isn't it?

    CF is such a horrible disease. Hopefully a lot of people put a face with CF and will do more to preserve his legacy by working to raise awareness and funds for CF research.

    I hope Kurt rests in peace.


  2. This kind of thing is always so, so, so hard for me to understand. It sounds like you are bringing some good from Kurt's death through the lessons it has taught you. Give your family lots of extra love this week!