Friday, March 22, 2013

An unexpected loss in the community.

When we (as in, Aaron, me, and our families) arrived at Bethesda in September 2011 we were very scared and unsure. The very first fellow caregivers to speak to us were Siobhan and Krystina, who were there for Derek (his mom and girlfriend). Derek had already been in ICU for 50 days when we arrived. Derek was a very sick man and more than once he was almost lost. However, he pushed through. For the past 20 months he has worked harder than anyone else I've met at the hospital. He and Krystina won a dream wedding, totally $80,000 in worth, just this past December. He had recently begun the med board process and looked forward to going back home to Jersey and finally beginning his life. Here is their initial story as told by Siobhan.

So it has been a huge, terrible shock to learn of his sudden passing. There aren't any details known yet, but it happened at point where he would have been sleeping. Krystina discovered him. After so much hard work and hope, everyone who knew this family is devastated. There is nothing to be understood about Derek passing away because it isn't understandable, fair, or even comprehensible. I absolutely can not imagine the pain his family is feeling. Siobhan composed a beautiful good-bye letter to Derek on a site she was very passionate about, DC Military Family Life.

Siobhan and Krystina are the molds for caregivers. They did whatever it took to make sure Derek got what he needed, and didn't care who had to work harder or get pissed to do it. The hell they are in now is literally the most unfair situation I have ever heard of and I honestly can not process it. Derek was quiet but well-composed and a talented writer. Krystina constantly posted about their shenanigans and how much fun they had together. High school sweethearts, they spent a total of six years together. A lot of marriages don't last that long.

Here is a link to donate at Operation Ward 57. If there was a post of mine to re-post and share, it is this one. It is not about the money- it is about making this family feel loved and remembered for all they have been through. It's about making sure that they never feel alone in their new journey. They were on the brink of the rest of their lives when it was so unjustly robbed from them. When they post information on which charities to donate to in Derek's honor I will be sure to share it with you all. That is just the kind of people they are, which is all the more reason to drop a dollar or ten at the link for them.

I will not claim to know them particularly well, but you didn't have to be affected by this massive loss to the Walter Reed community. Derek was a friend of the animals, and had just selected his service dog. Krystina had just picked out her wedding dress. They were so ready to move on and move home, and that is exactly where he will be taken now. I had the opportunity to hug his mom the other day. My entire family remembers their brief encounters with her because she was there to hug and coach us in those early days when we had no idea what to do or how to proceed with Aaron. Now it's our turn to pass love onto Derek's family. Whenever I spoke of caregivers and the price they pay, I always thought of them. They have sacrificed so much.

So please, share this link. Share their story. If you never share another thing from me, just share this.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry to hear of this loss, he and his loved ones will be in my prayers.