Lately it seems as though devastation is all around me and the most I've been able to do is provide minimal comfort in the form of food.
It all started about 3 weeks ago when one of my close friends was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. As if that isn't bad enough, she was 8 months pregnant at the time and so the doctors admitted her to the ICU so that they could monitor the baby's health as well as my friend's. She was in the hospital for 9 days, while her husband and 2 young boys were at home. To make matters worse, she wasn't even able to see her kids during her time in the hospital since ICU rules prohibit children on the floor. Her husband was understandably stressed out - and had just started a new job - and I offered to bring him a few dinners to help get him and the boys through the week. It was the least I could do to help out in a teeny tiny way. Thank goodness she's home now and both she and the baby are well.
Then the next week I learned that another one of my friends had to undergo surgery for oral cancer. She is my age and just had her third child about 3 months ago, and so this all came as a terrible surprise to me. I offered to bring her dinner and was so sad to find out that they had to remove a part of her tongue and 37 lymph nodes from her neck to ensure that the cancer was gone. Fortunately, her prognosis is great and her kids are all fine. But wait - there's more. Her husband was deployed to Iraq yesterday, leaving her to recover while caring for a preschooler, toddler and a newborn. So she packed up the family and is moving to Florida to stay with her in-laws for the next 6 months until her hubby returns home.
Just when I thought I had had enough heartbreak to last me awhile, 2 weeks ago - just a week after I had brought them a lasagna dinner to celebrate their new baby's arrival, we found out that our neighbor's baby had liver failure and had to have surgery. Did I mention that the baby is only 8 weeks old? It turns out that she doesn't have a gall bladder and had to undergo a complicated surgery to connect certain organs. Then she contracted an infection as a result of the surgery. She's still in the NICU and can hopefully return home soon.
Add in the news of the DC Metro tragedy (on my train line), Michael Jackson's sudden death and Farrah Fawcett's heartbreaking demise and it's been like there is a gray cloud hanging overheard these days.
So imagine my dismay when another friend of mine just called to say that it looks like she is going to become embroiled in a custody battle over her 4 year-old-daughter. While I am definitely counting my blessings, this is all getting to be more than my bleeding heart, and my love-filled kitchen, can handle.