I put Sarah down for her nap and ate lunch. Then I moved down to the basement office, I had bills that needed paid, farm bookwork, I needed to open mail.
I set my iced tea down and reached for the biggest envelope... better to start there right? It was from our health insurance company and I scanned the pages. Me, me, me, Luke, Marie... Marie. Her name, beautiful name. Printed in black and white and a sight that used to be so common. Her folder was over two inches thick from health insurance... all the keeping track I used to do. And the date of service, February 6, 2008... She wasn't even one then. Now it is creeping up on what would be her fourth birthday... That was so long ago.
Three years ago with a sick baby in my arms that couldn't stop vomiting and they told us she was starving to death. She was so tiny at nearly one... I remember it. Only 15 pounds... I held her in my arms all day long, every day back then. She'd cry if I let her go and she hurt... And I remember the doctor appointment they're suddenly billing for, three years late.
We had taken her down for a study, to see if reflux caused her pain. I had to coax her to drink a thick pink mix, so stubborn even then. I remember tiny brown eyebrows scowling at me and us just pleading "come on Marie, just a sip, please Marie..." And the x rays showing her tiny organs, her tiny esophagus down to her stomach and the pink drink coming back up and the pain that reflux must have caused made my heart ache because she was just so small. And nothing was working back then, we didn't know how to help her. That was the day the scheduled surgery for her g-tube and the Nissen. February 6, 2008...
The woman was so businesslike. She told me the account was closed, zero balance. Then she explained the account is closed because my child is dead. Thank you. Thank you for clearing that up. As though that is a fact that doesn't touch every corner of my heart, shadow every hour of my day, as though I wasn't aware. I told her it was ridiculousness to even get this statement of benefits. I told her when my insurance company received the bill, in 2011. I told her how unhappy we are with Children's Hospital. At every corner they have been too little, to late, to wrong, and they have never apologized. We have been mid-diagnosed, double billed, asked to be studied, we have been moved into dirty rooms, we have notified them in a timely manner and still not heard from their grief program until she was gone six months and we were beginning to learn to live again. But we always get their requests for fundraising dollars, they have no trouble asking for our money. And I told her that we would choose another hospital if we ever needed that kind of care again.
The lady very politely offered to give me an email address that I could use to file my complaint. She did not say she was sorry. I told her it probably doesn't even matter anymore and hung up the phone.
Why? Why today? Why did I get this statement? Why did I have to talk to that woman? What is the lesson I am supposed to learn from this?
It just hurts... because my Marie is gone, baby gone. And I wish her back every day though I know God won't give her and I wouldn't take her if He did because she's Home... but the hurts no less. And what am I supposed to learn from this? Why?
Why this on a heart aching to plan a fourth birthday party instead of wondering how to fill those hours. That day four years ago I labored long and hard and then she was... Marie all dark haired in her Daddy's arms and we didn't know anything bad yet, we were just so happy. Why this reminder as I come up on that day. That she is gone, baby gone.... And she is not just some account. She was Little Mama and we love her...
Why this, why today?