She Lives, She Loves, and She Knows

from Jessica Kessler

Opening up a word document feels like school again. I am definitely not in school anymore, although sometimes I feel as if I ought to be with fall coming.  After school is work.  That is what I wanted to talk about, an experience at work.

For those of you who don’t know, I am a nurse.  In being so, I meet all sorts of people in different moments of their life, whether they be tragic or miraculous.  Daily, I am blessed by the beauty of life in all its forms.

I met a very special person last week who I had the honor of caring for.  She had been born with Spina Bifida and shouldn’t have lasted the night of her birth.  She did though.  Then she beat a rare infection in her spine.  Then, against all the “scientific speculation,” she grew into a unique person who is fully cognitive and interactive to the world around her. 

She may be paraplegic from the waist down but she lives, she loves, and she knows.  Her favorite show is I love Lucy and she loves to eat mangoes.  She baffles science and demonstrates God in just being alive.  Most children with this diagnosis in the womb don’t have a shot to live.  Many are aborted.

Well, of course I wanted to hear her mother’s view on everything.  I brought up how amazing of a miracle her daughter was seeing that most the time nowadays these babies are selectively aborted.  Her mother said, “We didn’t have ultrasounds and I didn’t know until she was born.  I am so ashamed to think I likely would have chosen death for her back then.  I was married at 23 and we were going through a divorce.  Most doctors would have recommended abortion and, being selfish and naïve, that likely would have been my choice.”

“Thank God,” she went on, “that science wasn’t as advanced, because it would have been the biggest regret of my life.  If I had made the decision to abort and then saw mothers with children who survived Spina Bifida, I don’t know how I could live with myself.”

The relationship between this mother and daughter struck me as so deep and special. Something indescribable built on many heartbreaks, challenges, successes, and selfless love. This really is just a small piece of their story, of course, but what a story. It puts me at a loss for words — how do you explain a miracle, how do you share a sacred soul? So many different lives, some harder than others, but to each their own. If everyone could experience life in this matter, maybe we would appreciate it more.

Live, Love, and protect life,