The Hand I Was Dealt

The Hand I Was Dealt

One for you.
One for you.
One for you.
One for me.
One for you.
One for you.
One for you.
One for me.

The cards are dealt. They’re turned over and fanned out and read. Everybody has their poker face on. My face has tears streaming down it.

It’s right there in front of me. I was dealt THE HAND. The dreaded “You’re going to be the mom of the baby that died” hand.

How easy it would have been to fold. To turn my cards over. Give them back. Say, “I quit.”

But how was I to know that somebody else didn’t have scarier cards than me? Or the same cards as me? What if they all had a worse hand and mine was the BEST one of the bunch?

I choose to keep my hand I was dealt. I choose to embrace it. I choose to use it for good. I can’t ask for more cards. I have to take the ones given. For better or for worse, they’re my cards. I own them.

I will play them.

Photo: jannemei, Creative Commons License

Why am I writing this today? The last week has been filled with exciting things. Things that if I hadn’t been dealt that hand, I wouldn’t be experiencing.

Band Back Together is growing exponentially. We’re working 12 hours a day (or more) on it and have finally gotten some others to help us. It’s exploding and helping more people than we can imagine.

I’ve gotten to share Charlie’s story with no less than four people (and that doesn’t include those who just read it here and are impacted). I don’t know why, but it seems to happen like that. One was with a mom of Henry’s friend who didn’t know. We were talking and it was just time to share it. If we’re going to be friends, she has to know. It’s who I am. It’s who we are.

Another was a girl who wrote in to the GBS group with an almost identical story as Charlie’s, as most late onset Group B Strep stories are. We’ve been emailing back and forth this week and she has had some wonderful questions. Questions that honestly, in nearly eight years, I haven’t processed the answers to. I’ve thought about them, but have never dug deeper to be able to tell someone my answer. I think they may be another post, but her biggest question was basically, “How did you go on?”

My answer to that is, “I just did. We just did.” We weren’t given a choice. Nobody asked me if this is the hand I wanted, was this ok? If they had, I certainly would have told them, “HELL FREAKING NO, it’s not ok.”

But then I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be talking to people and helping them heal. I wouldn’t be running a site that is helping SO many people deal with their demons and burdens and heartaches. I wouldn’t have an understanding of what it’s like to live without part of your heart and soul.

But I also wouldn’t know what it was like to have an all-time guardian angel sitting on my shoulder, going with me everywhere I roam.

And for those reasons, I won’t fold. I’ll play my hand.

In fact, hit me, dealer.



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  1. Great post Jana! I know Band Back Together is awesome! I wish I have more time to dedicate to it. Have you seen the movie Love Happens. This all makes me think of it.

  2. I so greatly admire your strength, Jana. Just wanted you to know.

  3. xoxoxoxo. That is all.

  4. You keep going because you have to keep going. I admire you and am glad to have you as mah co-captain.

  5. Great post. You are so right.

  6. I can’t begin to express how amazing you are for turning this into the chance to help others – you’re awesome. For reals. <3

  7. Allie Gresham says:

    I am so proud to be your friend! You are so amazing and wonderful and special! XOXO

  8. What a post!
    Yes, we go thro life dealing, the expressions how the cards fall, the hand we are dealt, the luck of the draw … t
    They say if you went into a room and put your problems in a bowl … at the end of it, you would take your own back out.

    • Yes. I truly believe that at the end of the day, whatever is “supposed” to be in our lives, will be. No matter what roads we take, we will typically end up in the same place. Thank you for reading.

  9. Thank you for bringing this subject to this post. You are amazing. You are also making a difference. I am also working on how to use the hand I was dealt to benefit others. I am not to the point of saying ‘hit me’ since I think I have plenty to deal with right now. Your courage, compassion, and sense of humor encourages me to seek the same. I am so sorry your angel couldn’t stay with you on Earth. I am so thankful you are willing to share what you feel. Thank you for learning to work with the cards you were dealt.

    • The “hit me” comment was semi in jest. I hope I’m not hit with something this hard again, but I do feel like I survived and am still “here” so I can handle a whole lot of other crap. It also didn’t happen overnight. There are times when I feel it more than others. It’s not every day. Keep moving forward to help others. It comes back tenfold, or more!

  10. Awww! Here is some love in return!

    This is a wonderful post Jana. I hope you know how much we appreciate you.

    • Thank you! I love return love! I feel the same way you do, too. Some days it’s hard when you only get 2 or 3 comments. Makes you feel sad. Even though the blog isn’t necessarily for anybody else, it kinda is, you know? :)

  11. This post is a great way to explain reality. I will take my hand, no matter how sucky and hard it is sometimes, over anything else. I would not wish it away, not for anything. It is my story, it comes with my sisters. I was made for it.

    Thanks for co-captaining the Band site, I think it is fantastic.

  12. As sad as this post makes me, I love it and find it so inspirational. So glad you posted it and so sorry you have this story to tell.

  13. Wow. Thanks for writing this. I had no idea when I met you that you were a part of Band Back Together. Y’all are doing great things over there.

    • Yup. I’m Becky’s right hand beyotch at Band Back Together. Been with her since before it launched! It’s an amazing place, glad you’re with The Band!

  14. Love and hugs.

  15. You’ve come a long way Baby…and I’m so proud of what you’re doing (& have been ).

    • Thanks, Mama. Who knew, sitting in that “Oh Shit” room in the PICU that this is the point I would be at and these are the things I would be able to say? Even though it seems like yesterday, it WAS 8 years ago. Doesn’t seem possible. xoxo

  16. As I always say when the question “Why me?” comes up…..”Why not me?” and “Who better to handle this?” Love ya, Mama PCH

  17. I am reading “The Last Lecture” and that’s a huge part of what he’s trying to say. Here you are, dealt this hand and you can’t do anything to change it. (I don’t believe for a second that you can fold in this situation even if you wanted to.) What to do?

    You play your cards. You played yours. I’ve played mine. We’re all just showing what we have until we get a chance for a new deal.

    Can I tell you how much I love that you get it. I wish I would have known you years ago.

    • That is one of my most favorite books ever. What an inspiration he was… and still is after his death. I wish we had known each other years ago. But now? We do!

  18. love this. It can be applied so many ways.


  1. […] It wasn’t and isn’t in my cards.  […]

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