Will King will forever be remembered by me and my family. Although we have never met, and I never got to meet Will, we lived next door to you for 2 weeks. We were in the PICU with our then-two month old (Betsy) in what I have now learned was Caroline’s room. We were next door to you on March 6, 2018.
The PICU was a universe that I, like you, never really knew about. On arrival, I was scared and felt completely optionless. On one of our first days I remember passing you in the hall. (I am fairly certain you were coming back from that little room with a breast pump and I was on my way there.) And you smiled. I hadn’t even made eye contact with another parent. But in the midst of your fighting - which I knew nothing about - you smiled. This obviously impacted me and I wanted to thank you for that.
I know that March 6, 2018 was filled with unimaginable sadness for you and your family, and I am sure every moment is sealed in your memory. However, I wanted to offer my very small observations from the room next door (with our hospital-mandated open door during a particularly quiet period of our hospital stay): I remember there was a lot of activity in Will's room in the days leading up to the 6th. I didn’t know anything about his story or his diagnosis, but I was worried about the uptick. On the 6th, I saw people coming and going all day. Honestly, it seemed like every doctor at the hospital stopped by. Some people greeted each other with hugs and handshakes. At one point, I heard your husband's voice telling a story (not the specifics of the story, I could tell from his cadence that it was a “family story” type tale), and I heard cheer coming from the room. I heard a baby’s cry and then the room immediately erupt with laughter. From a complete outsider’s perspective, there was joy in the room that day. Again, I am in no way underestimating that day for you (and my observations were, of course, very limited), I guess I wanted to share this to underline my admiration of you, Will and the rest of your family. In reading your posts, I am also in awe of everything that you and your family internalized and took such great care to analyze while the twins were in the hospital. Will is lucky to have you as a mom, as are your other children. You provided Will with joy and comfort until his last moment here.
While we were in the PICU, we had a priest, who is a family friend, come to baptize Betsy. After he blessed her and said a few prayers, he talked to us for a little bit. He told us that we did what we needed to do as her parents, and that we were so blessed to have a facility like Wolfson’s in our community. Then, with a smile, he exclaimed that is incredible to KNOW that whatever happens in the coming days is already done. It is God’s will. He indicated that we should take comfort in knowing that Betsy’s life will unfold in accordance with God’s perfect plan.
I got (quietly) furious. How dare he suggest that my child in this state was AT ALL part of His will. The rest of the day I stewed over his words. Eventually I calmed and accepted it (to a degree). And it led me to my constant mantra for the remainder of my time at Wolfson’s: be still. I needed to be still and know - that we are blessed to have this facility, this trained medical staff and the insurance to afford it. Ultimately, I needed to be still and know that God’s will will be done. Later in the day, I saw Will’s name tag taped on the window to his room. And I immediately read it as “God’s Will.” I know this sounds a little reaching. However, the rest of our stay whenever I passed by his room, I thought of him as that - God’s Will.
In a very self-centered way, Will has impacted my life by reminding me of just that. While we were in the PICU, I had one simply prayer screaming through my body. Months later, it is very easy to get caught up in the small and the seemingly annoying, and to get bogged down in the unimportant. But I am reminded to be still and know. Will’s life one earth was 96 days long, but filled with such a fight and such a purpose. He lived and he fought every single day in a way I cannot comprehend. He showed you what a miracle — breathing when science suggested that he shouldn't. When God’s plan revealed itself, Will went where he was called. I am inspired by God’s Will, and I am honored to have lived next door to him.