Thursday, May 04, 2006

Not sure if this is a good idea

Several years ago, before I got pregnant with Gabe, before I went to law school, I was working for a research company, mostly crunching US Census data, and occasionally trying to work out odd statistics, such as how many households in Boston owned dogs, or how much garlic the average American consumes in a year. I also had a minor duty of writing articles for the company newsletter, which came out once a month.

Based on those articles, one of the company VPs called me to her office one day with an unusual assignment: the daughter of one of the company employees needed a bone marrow transplant. The family needed $100,000. We were going to raise it. She needed someone to write press releases. She thought I was the right person to do that. (Evidently, she liked my little articles in the company newsletter, which were mostly about who had had a baby, or who had sold the most research projects, or what people were really enjoying in the company cafeteria.)

And so began a four month quest to raise $100,000 to pay for the bone marrow transplant of a little girl I didn't know, whose mother I barely knew.

Well, I came to know her quite well over those four months, and I wrote a lot of press releases about her daughter, who was 8 and adorable, and very very sick.

It's really not that hard to raise $100,000 for a child who looks like an angel. People generally want to help in such cases. We had dances and raffles and penny jars all over town, that kind of thing.

We raised the money. The child got the transplant. We were all hoping for a happy ending. The whole company was pulling for her. The news media was pulling for her.

But, there wasn't a happy ending, and the transplant didn't work, and the little girl didn't make it. She had a rare genetic disease, and it refused to let go, and she passed away.

The family had a daughter who was a year younger than her sick sister, who had dodged a bullet - a 50/50 bullet that hit her sister and not her.

Shortly after the child's funeral, I found out I was pregnant, and then I left the company was Gabe was 6 months old, in order to go to law school.

I hadn't thought about the child, or the child's mother, in a long time.

And then, last week, I was having lunch with a friend who still works for the company, and we were talking about how our adoption was going. And then all of the sudden, for no reason, I said, "How's D~ doing?" (the child's mother.)

My friend said, "Oh, I think she's doing well. She and her husband adopted a little girl from Guatamala last year."

It didn't really surprise me. It's not like having another biological child was an option - not with a 50/50 chance of losing that child at age 8 or 9, just like her older sister.

Anyway, I've been thinking about her a lot, and wondering how her experience has been, and wanting to call and ask her to lunch, or email her and ask what her experience with attachment and her biological child reactions to the whole thing...

But, I'm afraid, really, that it will just make her feel bad. Her only "real" contact with me was our effort to save her daughter's life. Which failed.

Maybe I'll send the email anyway. Maybe she'd want to talk about her experience with me, anyway. I guess the worst thing she could tell me is, "I don't really want to talk about it with you."

Maybe it's better to let bygones be bygones...



Anonymous Jenn said...

I would write to her. The worst thing she can say is no, thank you…not interested. On the other hand it would seem that perhaps that wound has healed enough for them to embrace this new life into their home. She would probably welcome the idea of being able to help someone who helped her family at one point.

Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

As much as you might represent a really hard time in their life, she might also appreciate talking to someone who remembers her daughter and doesn't mind talking about her (if it comes up or whatever). I have no personal experience with this, but I've hear a lot of people who've lost loved ones say it's much harder when people act like the bad thing never happened.
I say, send the email. :-)

Thursday, May 04, 2006 2:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ryan and Heather said...

I bet she'd be happy to hear from you! Try it!

Thursday, May 04, 2006 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger matmaven said...

I think it is a wonderful idea to write her. You were a stranger who put yourself out there with her during a very difficult time. I think she will greet you with warmth and gratitude and your new shared experience could bring you to a really close friendship. Do it!

Friday, May 05, 2006 9:05:00 AM  

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