Flynn's Family Vigil

March 29, 2009

I left my father’s side Friday evening to stay with my mom in Bozeman. Two young climber friends got out of the hospital elevator and I realized instantly that the family in the ICU waiting room is there for Flynn; young-adventuress-big-smile-super-kind Flynn who rolled her car a week and a half ago. She was returning with her brother through Gallatin Canyon after a day of teaching ski classes at Big Sky. She broke her neck and crushed her pelvis. They both had seatbelts on, her brother was uninjured. Our small climbing community is still not over the shock and concern for LizAnn after the accident on Mt Cowen left her paralyzed months ago. Once again the climbing community has rallied with love and support for one of our “own” cherished super sweet and adventurous gal. The plan was to transport Flynn to Craig on Wednesday (the same rehabilitation center where LizAnn went after her spine injury)…so I hadn’t connected the dots…and had no idea the family in the ICU waiting room belonged to little Flynn. Lung complications have kept them from transporting Flynn, in fact…the complications took a turn for the worse yesterday which necessitated sedating her, putting a feeding tube in and scheduling a tracheotomy this morning. She won’t be able to talk when she wakes up…terrifying to someone who cannot move or feel below her neck. Just a few months ago, Flynn inquired often about LizAnn’s progress after LizAnn’s accident and remarked that she did not think she could deal the way LizAnn did. Dealing she is, struggling for breath and life, showing grace and bravery. My heart aches for her parents and their pain. The journey by LizAnn’s side has been poignant and gut-wrenchingly painful…but is no comparison to a parent’s pain. Parents were not part of the intensity of that first month in ICU with LizAnn. The sedation, the breathing tube, and respirator allowed her parents their first break in the bedside vigil last night. They got a hotel room and showers for the first time in 10 days since the accident. Much needed rest, hopefully they feel strengthened for the scary moments today when Flynn wakes from surgery and realizes she cannot speak. I am home after a relatively simple vigil with my parents. Dad is recuperating from his surgery, feeling good enough to be grumpy about his breakfast. Dinner last night was shared with a big batch of girlfriends by candlelight during the 60 minute Earth Hour where many people from around the world turned off their lights and power for one hour. Felt good for me to reconnect with some of the women in my own little town. I read updates about Flynn and her family before bed last night, ( and became too pumped with concern and emotion to sleep. The morning brought thick winter whiteness, trees veiled and snow falling. My first cup of tea had Bailey’s, two more cups (without Bailey’s) and a number of phone conversations later and it is time to write for the April 1st performance at Pine Creek