If these walls could talk….they’d speak a thousand words of compassion, terror, love, sadness, hope…
While checking a guest room one day for a maintenance problem, a guest journal caught my eye and I opened it to a wonderful, beautiful surprise. The cover of the journal had a cat with piercing blue eyes that whispered “open me, read me, tell my story.”
To my amazement I opened it to find a date of July 15, 1991.
As I thumbed through it, I was first amazed by its almost untouched condition – no torn pages, or thoughtless scribbles but a book filled with heartfelt penmanship, personal photos, and sketches. At first I started at the back and read a few random passages but my curiosity kept going back to the enclosed photos. So I began at the first written entry – October 1, 1991 – And there I was drawn in like a novel.
The first entry is from a family whose stay began 5 months earlier in June 1991. Their baby was born with a heart defect and had multiple heart surgeries. Unfortunately, the journal ends on October 11th – the day the baby passed away.
From this first entry comes one heart felt entry after another –
March 1992 – “Our daughter Bridget is why we are here. It is her heart – she has what they call Epstein’s Anomaly – where she doesn’t get enough oxygenated blood.”
June 1992 – “It’s a real privilege to be part of this RMH Family. It’s hard to describe how much I appreciate being a witness to all of these miracles….RMH Weekend Manager & Volunteer”
January 1993 – “Last night was the first night I’ve slept away from the hospital in two weeks. Believe me, this place was like a little slice of heaven. My 16 year old son came down with a rare disease, meningococcemia or meningitis of the blood. He was only given a 10% chance of survival, but he has fooled everyone.”
And then the journal takes on very personal journey for a family that lasts over 10 years –
It begins January 1994 – “When the hospital called me and told me what they found I was in total shock. The doctors ran an echo and discovered that the right side of her heart was not fully developed.”
February 25th “We are out of here!” writes the family after many ups and downs and multiple heart surgeries.
And then on March 13th the family writes that their beautiful baby girl passed away at their hometown ER.
5 years later….
“Today’s date is December 10, 1999. When we left the Ronald McDonald House this book got put in our stuff, the boxes with our baby’s papers were never touched till recently. Today our baby would have been 6 years old. On March 24, 1998 I gave birth to another girl.”
“The Ronald McDonald House is great. Please to those that read these stories for whatever reason you are there at the house. Please don’t ever give up hope. Sometimes things don’t seem fair but in the end things will change.”
And 4 more years later…It continues…
“Just a short message: How times get away from you. The book got put away again and here it is April 2003!! Since I have last written we have been blessed with a son born November 24, 2001.”
And with this last entry the journal does not get picked back up and written in again until January 2011. “The Ronald McDonald House has been the best place to have peace and see my girl. I’m so glad that their provision is this extensive. And thankful to this community for their efforts and involvement.”