Reflections on Mali.

Tonight I sit here so very grateful for all the positive support and love I’ve received this week from friends both technologically mediated and physically present. I’ve tweeted about my best friend’s daughter Mali and her journey following a pseudoaneurysm a week ago. Her coma, the progression of her condition, her family’s struggles, my request for prayers and energy have all resulted in care and compassion from so many people. I can’t thank you enough.

The final chapter of Mali’s journey is coming to a close. Today she was diagnosed with a virulent form of pneumonia caused by bacteria introduced through her breathing tube. The decision was made to discontinue life support and allow Mali to go. It was clear from the early prognosis and every test since that the damage from the pseudoaneurysm was severe, that Mali would never regain capacity, and that she would likely not survive.  She was clear in recent years that if anything like this ever happened to her, she would not want to be kept alive through heroic measures.

This last week has been one of the most difficult of my life. If I believe that there are lessons we are to learn in our lives, mine are that I do not control anything and that I must be patient.  Neither come easy for me. Nor do they to my friend Mary. That said, this week I have been clear that I have no control.  I have been patient.  I have remembered to breathe. I have waited in Mary’s silences. I have held Jess as she cried. I have reached out to friends and family. I have tried to live in the moment.I have tried to be with the pain of this coming loss.

What I know: Mali is a lovely young woman, a devoted mother of two beautiful children, a loving wife, daughter, sister, a good, kind, compassionate friend. I know that I have been blessed to be a part of her life. I know that the grace and compassion her family members have shown to one another this week as they negotiate the impossible task of letting go of a daughter, wife, sister, mother has humbled me. I know that strength is found in the moment, not in planning for the future, not in reliving the past, but in the moment-to-moment choices we make to be present, to be human, to claim our truths. I know that I will miss Mali, that her passing will leave a gap. I know also that her process this week has illuminated the best in her family and those she loves. I know that Mali continues to make a difference as she concludes this final chapter. I know that the support, love, compassion, prayers, positive energy of so many have helped all of us this week.

Addendum: Jessica had asked Mary to tell the story of meeting Mali at an orphanage in Thailand where Mary and Glenn were teaching after stints in the peace corps. Mary talked of seeing this beautiful baby girl and their knowing that Mali was destined to be their daughter.  Mali passed away peacefully early this morning as her mother, sister and husband sat with her, recounting the story of her beginning.

4 responses to “Reflections on Mali.

  1. This was an amazing post and a beautiful tribute to Mali and her family.
    Prayers for strength, comfort and peace are headed your way.

  2. Debroah I have to say your stregnth to carry on throught the day today was a testament to how great of a person you are. My heart goes out to you and Mali’s family. These events in life are always difficult to deal with and I wish peace and understanding for everyone involved.

  3. dballardreisch

    I was not kidding when I said having class with students like you made it easier. I can’t thank you all enough!

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