Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

October 28th, 2012 - visitors

There is something so magical about longtime friends. The kind that you don't see for years, but you talk to often and think about even more. The kind that mature and grow, but never let go of the memories of yesterday. The kind that drop everything to come sit with you in the hospital.

Tyler Paul, was Tyler's best friend in high school. And over the years, he became my best friend, too. We had driven to Maine just a few months before Matilda was born to be in his wedding. And Molly, his bride, was perfect. From the moment I met her, I hoped they would marry.

Molly was in town to visit a friend, and Tyler Paul joined so that he could meet Matilda and bring us coffee. Having him there felt like a break from reality. We talked as we always had and told stories of high school shenanigans. He brought his favorite food of all time (bagels) and gifts for Matilda. A prayer book that she still thumbs through on a daily basis. He brought up things Tyler and I had been afraid to talk about, like whether or not we should move to NYC, find new jobs and make this our home. He asked about the alarms that would go off and what the nurses were doing. He was who he always was, and that felt so nice. There was still a world beyond this room.

He was there for us despite his own fears. The biggest being that Matilda would pass away while he was there, in the room. As a friend, he wanted to be there for us, but he hadn't realized the severity of Matilda's sickness until he saw her for himself. We never stated outright that Matilda was dying. But she was. We showed pictures of her, but often cropped out the majority of the wires and tubes connected to her. We mentioned that Matilda always had her own nurse, but until you see firsthand that Matilda was never left alone, it is hard to imagine. It is why having a friend there meant so much to us. We couldn't say all those things, we just couldn't. The reality of the situation was too heavy. It was too much to express, but to have someone else see and know - it felt nice.

Sometimes I feel like we see so much sadness and heartache on social media and TV that it becomes necessary to distance our thoughts, instead of succumbing to empathy. For Tyler Paul it took seeing us. Feeling the heavy air around us that, despite our smiles and welcome hugs, remained in the room. Our eyes were always on Matilda. Our thoughts were always with Matilda. Our hearts were hovering over her crib, hoping to not crumble. And he saw that. He felt that.

We said our goodbyes and told lies of seeing each other at Christmas. And then he left. And we were once again alone.

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