This beautiful girl is my friend Brandi. I met her when my son Drew and her daughter Marin were in kindergarten together. One of the first conversations I had with her was when she asked me if we could ride together to a dinner that a bunch of the school moms were going to. A lot of them were going to be getting a few drinks afterwards and she wanted to bow out before then. She knew I was mormon and didn't drink. She doesn't drink either because she thinks it's stupid but she didn't know everybody well enough yet and didn't want to offend anyone by saying so. She was hoping I could be her scapegoat for the night. I laughed and happily agreed. By the end of that night I knew we would be close friends for years to come.
Brandi is a smart girl. She was valedictorian of her high school, and she was also the head cheerleader. She is a total babe. She is one of the most dedicated moms I know. Constantly doing things with her kids. Teaching them and playing with them. Always trying to instill good morals and values into their hearts. Her kids are her world, her reason for living.
Her kids are pretty amazing people too, not surprisingly. They are both in GATE and all star athletes. They are polite and kind. They aren't afraid to stand up for what they think. Wyatt is a smart alec and so funny. Marin is a bit of a tomboy and the most loyal friend. My Drew spends lots of time with both of them. Marin and Drew are in 6th grade and Wyatt is in 5th and they are all in the same combo class at school.
Brandi is a total sucker for her two dogs Tilly and Bruiser.
I have never met a girl in my life who loves football the way Brandi does. She anxiously awaits the beginning of football season every year. She knows teams, players and stats, and she can discuss any of them as easily as Taylor Swift can call out each of her ex's. Brandi could be the president of the Tim Tebow fan club!
She is the grammar police. One of her biggest pet peeves is when people don't use the right form of to, two, and too, or there, their, and they're, and your and you're. Brandi knows her politics and can argue the republicans point of view all day long!
Brandi loves to get out and have a good time. She always has a smile on her face and makes friends with anyone around her.
She had such a great time doing the Mud Run at Folsom lake with me last year, that she signed up for a warrior dash with her family in Michigan later that year. Almost exactly one year ago today just the two of us drove down to LA and did another mud run together.
Her voice is scratchy just like mine and people often ask us when we are out together if we are sisters.
While we always laugh and answer no, we have come to feel a bit like family.
Brandi's entire extended family is in Michigan and lives close to one another. She is the only one so far away. She is so close with her sisters and her mom, and being away from them has been the cause of much heartache for her for years.
Right now all of our hearts are aching for her as she lies in the hospital for almost 3 weeks now. Intubated and sedated into a medically induced coma as her body struggles to fight complications and infections from a surgery she had on December 10th. Since then she has been in and out of the hospital. She has gone home several times and even come and stayed here a few times as well, but kept ending up back in the hospital. Right now they are trying to keep her temperature and heart rate down and dealing with abscesses in her stomach. Next they will bring her out of sedation and work to get her to start breathing on her own again. She is fighting to recover from the many surgeries she has had in the last couple of weeks. Her mom has left everything behind and flown out to care for Brandi four separate times since December. She has no idea when she will be able to go back home. Her husband Miles has been able to come out and support her for the last week and a half, but the rest of her support system, as well as Brandi's is several states away in Michigan, leaving her family feeling scared and helpless.
Most of the time when I go to sit with her in the hospital she doesn't even know I'm there. I sometimes wonder if she'd recognize me in my gown and gloves we are all required to wear in her room. But those of us who know her well have a hard time recognizing Brandi right now. She has lost close to 35 lbs in the last couple of months. She looks so young and helpless in her hospital bed. I have not yet been able to sit by her side without tears sliding silently down my cheeks. It's so hard to see someone usually so vibrant, full of life and opinions, beauty and spunk reduced to the small girl in the bed just waiting for the doctors to figure out exactly what to do to get her back on the path to healing. It breaks my heart to sit by her side and see this, but it breaks even worse when the visiting hours are over and I know she is in there alone.
I can only imagine the emotions her mom is going through as she sits by waiting and hoping today will be the day Brandi turns that corner. Her husband Miles is her rock. They are both lucky to have him.
Brandi has always been the rock for her babies. Kids she hasn't seen in almost 3 weeks. Never before have they been separated this long, and never have they gone so long without talking. This breaks my heart all over again.
Brandi just spent her 37th birthday in a hospital bed completely unaware of anything going on around her, while all of her loved ones wait and pray for a quick and full recovery.
Before she went back into the hospital this last time Brandi told me that all of this suffering had taught her some valuable lessons about what is really important. The way we look, the teams we are on, what other people might think, are not so important when you take a step back and look at the big picture.
For her there will be no more holding grudges, no more complaining about the way we look or the bodies we have been given. Every day tasks like taking a shower, driving a car, cooking a meal, or watching a child's sporting event, may seem like trivial things, but when she resumes them, will be daily treasures. She doesn't want to ever waste the chance to tell the people in her life that she loves them, give of her heart and time, be more gentle with herself, be grateful for what she has, and be quick to forgive others.
I am anxious for my friend to get better and come home. I am anxious for her to be reunited with her kids. I am anxious for her family to have the peace of knowing that everything is going to be okay. She will, but until then, any prayers sent her way would be much appreciated by all of us who love her.
* Update...I have had so many offers of donations and people asking how they can help that we have set up a fund to assist with her medical expenses. If you'd like to donate click here.