Aleen Mean

On My Heart

I should be getting it together. A week and a half after leaving one job and a week after starting a new one, my life is in chaos. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, my office is a wreck, and my clean clothing options are limited. But today, amidst the chaos and information overload that accompanies starting a new endeavor, I’m starting to feel like me for the first time in a while. Instead of trudging along from one catastrophe to the next, I’m able to take a step back and just…breathe. Life is good.

I met Rowan six years ago, at her uncle’s 50th birthday party. I can distinctly remember the pride with which my coworker Tina pointed her out. “That’s my daughter. She beat leukemia.”

At the ripe age of ten, she was this incredibly mature woman-child. I didn’t have many conversations with her, only a a few words here and there when she came into work with Tina. She spoke with consideration and thoughtfulness. She was always kind, always patient, always respectful.

And then…. And then. Leukemia came back, but Rowan’s treatment was going well. The wonder of modern medicine was able to break her immune system down so that her body would be able to accept the gift of new bone marrow. The curse was that her immune system was unable to fight off the germs rampant in a hospital and, five years ago today, she died because she caught a cold.

I’ve grown close to both of Rowan’s mommies over the last five years. We have laughed, cried, and banded together in times of tragedy and stress. I’m at a point where sometimes I’m not sure where my memories of Ro end and where the stories Michele and Tina have told me begin.

All of this is to say that today, my heart has been with my friends all day. I hope that you were able to honor Rowan today. I hope that you wandered in your memories and remembered how kind, smart, and funny she was. I hope you remember her resilience and her grace, even when she was burdened with more than many adults can bare.

Mostly, I hope you were able to bask in her love for you both.