What does it all mean?

I don't believe in co-incidence or happenstance.

I believe that every thing...EVERYTHING...that happens to me, people who cross the path of my life, people who leave the path of my life, the stories I hear, happy moments, the sad moments, the hard moments, are all for a purpose to move me along in life.  Whether it's a lesson to be learned, a helping hand I need or helping hand I can offer...it's for something, a good reason.

Usually, with a little time passing, I can determine the purposes of each event and person and I feel content that God is in the details.

I was looking back on the past few years, as I continue to think about our upcoming visit to Seattle, and realized that there are still two major events involving total strangers that don't exactly fit into the puzzle of 'why' I was involved with them.

 The first event happened about 5 years ago.  We were dealing with lots of strange new symptoms with the kids.  Lots of neurological problems.  I was still working at my full time job with the Architects and I had heard a short advertisement on the way to the office one morning about a fundraiser to take place at Red Robin that night to help a family whose son had Mitochondrial disease.  It was the first time I had heard the name of that disease.  I didn't even know what it was.  I had this overwhelming feeling, like I have rarely had before, that I needed to go to this fundraiser.  I see sad stories everyday of people sick and needing financial help but I'm not compelled to help every single story but for some reason, this story felt different.

          
We headed to the city for dinner at Red Robin that night.  The place was packed! People          everywhere; in the restaurant, and mulling around outside around the building.  We walked towards the door and a woman from seemingly nowhere came out of the crowd and walked to me and grabbed my hand...she said, "Thank you so much for coming! Do you have a child with mitochondrial disease?"  I thought that was the strangest thing to say to a total stranger!   Did she ask every single person that?  Why would she if it was such a rare disease? 

Turns out, this was the mother of the boys with mito, for whom the fundraiser was for.  We talked for 10 minutes or so before she got her boys to meet the kids and I.  They went on to describe life with Mito and I could hardly contain my sadness.  Once we said goodbye and got to a table, the kids said, "Why did you make us come here?"
"For dinner, and to help this family raise money for their medical bills."
"They sound like us!!  Do we have this disease?"  At that point, Shelbie started crying. 

It was a moment I will never forget.  We exchanged emails and I kept in contact with them for about a year.  I haven't heard from them since.  It was before the end of the year I communicated with them, that Mitochondrial disease did enter the diagnostic picture for us.

Maybe that is all that was needed from this encounter, to get us on the right track, but for some reason there feels like there should be more...I haven't found closure on this one yet, like I normally do.

The second story haunts me nearly every day.  Ironically, it has to do with Mito again!  I had just joined a Mito forum.  I just joined it about 3 years ago, two years after my first encounter with the word Mito as I just relayed in the above story.  I mostly lurked around, never commenting, just reading the posts and comments.  

One Sunday morning, a man posted about what a beautiful day it was in his Montana town and how he was remembering his 20 year old son who had passed away from Mito.  I commented on his post that it was a lovely sentiment.  He messaged me back!!

From there, he would message me, email me, call me, constantly.  He is of the same Faith as me and was serving as a Bishop at the time.  He has a wife and 6 kids.  All of his kids had been completely healthy.  His son was out serving a mission for the church and started having numbness in his legs.  He ended up having to come home early from serving.  Within 9 months of being home, he passed away.  He eventually lost all feeling in his body, couldn't move he was so weak, lost his vision, some hearing, couldn't breathe on his own and eventually, died of pneumonia. 

I did not understand why he was telling me this horrible story!  It was so sad.  Our Mito diagnosis was still not set and even still, for Shelbie, we tread in the grey area when it comes to Mito.  The boys, though they have so many symptoms of the disease, is likely just an overlap in dysfunctional Mitochondria because of the shortened telomeres and complications of Dyskeratosis Congenita that mimic Mito. 

Eventually, he just stopped calling, stopped emailing and I haven't heard from him in a couple of years.  I can't even remember his name.  I have searched my phone, my FB list of friends because I thought I added him but there is no trace that he even existed in my life.  It was like his only purpose was to deliver a message but somehow, that message feels all wrapped up in a very sad story.  I have yet to unravel it all.  It's starting to bug me that I don't understand the purpose of him in my life. 

The fact that I keep thinking about these two stories constantly, the past few weeks, makes me wonder if I need to start up the fight in the Mito direction again for Shelbie?  There has to be a purpose for these pestering thoughts. 

It's always interesting to me how everything has a meaning for our lives if we stop long enough to notice.  These are two pieces I need to understand more about...what could they possibly mean?



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