O

ur Gratitude Trip
That’s what we’ve been calling the amazing trip our family took this summer,” Avi says. “It’s been two years since that long summer that my parents and I spent in Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. That summer we were all apart from each other and that was really hard for all of us. This summer we finally took the family trip we’ve been waiting to take.”

“How did it feel?” I ask Avi.

He pauses for a moment. “Incredible,” he says. “It was so nice just spending the summer like a regular person enjoying the beautiful weather.”

I’m sure you all remember Avi mentioning previously how much he always looks forward to summer. “That winter when I was sick,” Avi says, “I remember counting down the days until I would be able to play outside in the sunshine.” Those days that he waited for unfortunately did not come. “What was supposed to be a two-day hospital visit turned into a six-week stay,” Avi says.

He shares that one of the hardest parts of his summer spent in Cincinnati, besides being away from his family, was not knowing when he would be able to leave.

“It was like a long tunnel of hopelessness,” he says. “Every day the doctors would come in and I would ask them if I could go home, and every day they would say no. I had nothing to look forward to and that was really hard.”

His parents tried to cheer him up by promising him an amazing summer trip to make up for the summer in Cincinnati. Here, Avi’s mother interjects, “Of course, at that time when we kept telling Avi that we’d make this summer up for him, we had no idea if we’d ever really be able to take him on a summer trip,” she says. “So having him with us on our trip to California this summer was a tremendous zechus that we are so grateful for.”

Avi feels the same way. “This trip gave me something to look forward to when I was so sick,” he says. “And it was really amazing that I had the strength and felt well enough to spend this incredible summer with my family.”

As Avi speaks, a thought pops into my mind. “I find it so inspiring,” I say, “that you were able to move on and live your life while not forgetting about what you went through.”

“I’ll tell you something interesting,” Mrs. Newhouse says. “At one point during our trip, we were packing up from a five-night hotel stay. It was a big job to pack and we were all quite busy. Suddenly a photo from two years earlier popped up on my phone. It was the day the hospital staff in Cincinnati realized that we weren’t going home anytime soon, so they prepared the biggest room in the hospital for Avi to stay in. I snapped a picture as we packed up the smaller hospital room, and that was two years ago to the day that we were packing up in California. The difference was amazing and filled us with gratitude.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 681)