I Remember the Sunsets

A year ago today (December 10, 2021), I rushed with my son (Mikey) to Stony Brook Children’s Hospital because whatever was making him ill was out of control and could no longer be dealt with at home. Within a few hours, we were admitted to the hospital. The two of us would stay in the hospitals (including the second rehab hospital) for three months.

The following photos were taken during that challenging and frightening time period. They were my attempt to both stay creative and have an outlet to deal with my fears and stress…

Christmas Decorations

We didn’t get to have a Christmas in December of 2020 because my wife (Lynne) was in the hospital ICU (she wouldn’t come home to us until April). So, we were really trying to plan for a nice Christmas holiday as a family. My brother-in-law had put up some lights outside our house…that was as far as we got with celebrating Christmas. I snapped these photos on one of my brief visits home from the hospital. For me, the lights served as a reminder. As a goal of a future celebration to come when we all could be together again.

Sunsets

The location and design of the Children’s Hospital lends itself to amazing sunsets. Mikey was in several rooms there during our stay and each room offered an amazing display of Nature painting the sky as night approached. I would look at these as a comforting sign that Mikey and I got through another day and were another day closer to him being well enough to move on from this temporary residence.

My Beautiful Inspiration

My entire purpose…my main inspiration…was to be there with Mikey in the hospital every possible second to guide his recovery and be his support through scary times. And there were moments when that was incredibly difficult. I would go to sleep at night in the chair or the couch pulled right next to his bed so that the two of us could see each other at all times. He often would wake up when the nurses would come in to do vitals or give him medications. I would wake up at times extremely worried about him. But the two of us were there for each other. All we had to do was open our eyes and we would be comforted by the loving face staring back at us.

A Constant Beacon

This simple, yet beautiful light was present in each of the rooms that Mikey and I stayed in at the Children’s Hospital. Many times at night it would be the only lamp lit as we slept. It provided just enough light for when the nurses would sneak in to check on Mikey, or for when I would want to shuffle around the room pondering the next day, but not wanting to awaken my sleeping child. Sometimes I would just open my eyes the slightest bit so I could see this beacon of light. I welcomed it as a lighthouse guiding us through a stormy period.

Unusual, But Somehow Settling Architecture

These cube-shaped buildings are part of the hospital grounds. They can be seen from most parts of the hospital area, and from the roads leading up to and away from the location. When I worked across the street from the hospital on the University side, I would often see them as I strolled around campus. But, for me, when I needed something to distract my eyes and brain, they existed as a somewhat mind-settling curiosity to be examined. I would comfort myself by starting at them…especially at night when they became part of the aforementioned beautiful sunsets that bathed the sky.

My memory will never forget these images and what they represented, and how they got me through my most difficult time as a parent. There have been many difficult times in our lives the past two years. But, as these images do in my mind’s eye, we persist.

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