FAQs: Part 3

This third and final (as long as we don’t think of anymore) installment in the FAQ series and it is attempting to address the most frequently asked and the most difficult to answer of the questions…

How are you doing?

There really isn’t any way to answer this adequately without spending hours describing the complexity of our emotions. The simple answer that I have most recently been giving people is “shitty, but we are hanging in there.” We lay somewhere between a shrug of the shoulders and a multi-session trip to a psychiatrist’s office. What I really want to tell people are things that I wouldn’t publicly say most of the time, and certainly wouldn’t publicly write (but there is this Marsellus quote from Pulp Fiction…).  I’m not even sure that I will be able to do a good job writing it down in this posting, but after sitting on this topic for a couple of weeks I decided to give it a shot.

A lot of the time, we realize that people ask this question in one of two situations: 1) it’s just what you ask when you see someone (akin to the grocery store clerk saying ‘how’s it going’). There really is little expectation of a completely honest answer in most of the situations where you find yourself on the receiving end, as the question itself lives more in the greeting side of the language than it does in the interrogative side. 2) you really want to find out the answer to the question, but the answer may be too hard to hear or share. This is largely where we find ourselves, and it’s not meant to sound like we don’t care about the answer, rather it is a simple reality that there isn’t a good way to express the difficulty of it.

Given the walls of the situation, there are several things that are certain….we are taking care of ourselves. We are talking with people here in the hospital about things that we aren’t talking with you about. We are doing pretty damn good as a couple. We disappear deep within ourselves, and other times can’t stand to be in our own skin. We are managing being parents of two very different lives. We smile and even laugh sometimes. We cry – a lot. We don’t get enough sleep (but what new parent does?). We are physically and emotionally drained by the end of the day. And while we wish that you could understand some of this, we hope and pray that you will never understand any of this. Sometimes we are a little stir crazy and sick of being in the hospital, however there is never a time that we wish we were anywhere but either with Liam or Ezra.

One of the things that has become really prominent recently is that we are desperately wanting a return to our normal lives. This may seem like an obvious thing, but for the first few weeks we found ourselves so focused on what was happening that it really didn’t seem like there was much outside of these walls. However, after being here for nearly five weeks, we just want our bed and our kitchen and our shower and our TV and our coffee and our forks and our ketchup and our moments throughout the day with each other. But we also know that it will never be the same as it was, or as it was supposed to be…and that weighs heavy.

To answer that we are ‘okay’ or that we are ‘hanging in there’ is to somehow try to give you an answer that is short and textable, but holds a lot more behind it. The meanings of those two things are almost completely different than if we were to say them under a different circumstance, but the reality is that they still hold a certain level of appropriateness. There are a few things that allow us to be ‘okay’ and to ‘hang in there’….our family, our friends (including CTE and CRFD), and the staff here. Without the love and support that we get from you, there is no way that things would be nearly as ‘okay’ as they are.

Please keep asking how we are doing. It’s very comforting to know that you care enough to want to ask the question, just also understand when the answer is a shrug of the shoulders or a simple ‘fine’.


  1. I love you.

  2. I love you. . .

  3. Thinking of you four… I thought of you today, Oren, because I rode on the fire truck for the homecoming parade. I was holding on tight to Sara in one hand and the American flag in the other – it was so windy either could have blown away!

  4. Andrea Davis says:

    I think that a shrug and a tilt of the head is all that can be asked of you in this situation. I can’t imagine the difficulty of telling all of us out here a fraction of the truths and hard days that you are facing. Thank you for being willing to share some of it. It is right to be sad and frustrated and angry about the situation, but I am happy that you allow yourselves the laughter and smiles that need to happen to help you through.
    We are all out here hoping for the best and ready to support you in whatever way you need.
    Our thoughts are with you daily.
    Andrea, Shaun and Mackenzie

  5. Mike and Elaine Brown says:

    Sweet little Liam, we are so pleased that you have loving and courageous parents. Oren and Ahna, you have friends in Washington state praying for you each day.

  6. Stephanie Lerner says:

    You continue to amaze me. The strength and honesty that you share are truly exceptional. Thinking of you always.

  7. Carole Malezija says:

    Ahana & Oren I have worked in grief and loss for 20 years. I can’t think of many words of comfort, but know that you, Ezra & Liam are loved. You are a young couple of incredible strength and it is obvious you know how to go withthe flow of your feelings….keeping up your communication and love for each other will sustain you in this most challenging journey. Love Carole M

  8. Gil Daphna says:

    thinking of you every, even when not leaving a comment.
    thanks so much for sharing your routine and especially your emotional rollercoaster with us. We love you .

  9. Doug says there should be a culturally understood response to “How are you?” that lets us all know that ‘I am surviving, but can’t really talk about it right now’. Know that we understand if that is your answer. Know too that you continue to be held in my heart and in my prayers as you continue to travel this totally unexpected, painful and uncertain path.

  10. Sarah Leonard says:

    I’m so in awe of your strength and honesty. You are a beautiful couple.

  11. Katy Gibbs says:

    your words are powerful & we appreciate you taking the effort to share with us on this journey. as always, we are sending prayers your way.
    love you guys, Katy, Toby and Davey Gibbs

  12. Thinking of your guys, and wanted to thank you for the time, effort, and honesty that you put into this blog. I’m sure it’s not easy putting your heart out there for the world to read. Continue to be strong and hang in there.

  13. O…you amaze me with your wisdom and words…you are ahead of your time Brother!! The blog is proving to be an excellent outlet for you and Ahna, well done.
    You have provided us all a daily reminder that life is fragile yet at the same time, full of passion and love!! Sometimes we love it..and sometimes we love to hate it..
    Keep being “ok”…cause that is better than shitty!
    Love you and I hope you get a chance to watch a little football today…hate to say it…Go Packers!! (Ugh..for those of you that don’t know me..I was born/ reared a Viking fan)

  14. Marilyn Gnewikow says:

    My heart goes out to all of you. This journey you are on is one that no parent would ever be able to answer the question “how are you doing” and it be what you are really feeling in your heart and your gut as parents. Know that there are so many prayers out there for all of you and so much love. You are a very strong couple with so much strength and love to give little Liam and his big brother Ezra. “God Will Take Care Of You”. Love that song and it has brought comfort to me many times in my life. That one and “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” Love to you all.

  15. We send our love. We are praying for you daily and you are never far from our thoughts. We appreciate how much you’ve shared of this journey, your love, and your strength.

  16. Sandi Hernandez says:

    We had baby Dylan in the cubi next to you. And, I have texted your Dad since then to see how Liam is doing. He directed me to your blog today. You don’t know how proud I am of all of you. And, Liam is definitely an “angel” as I looked at his pictures. You give him a big hug and kiss from this grandma.

    My biggest flying home was “This was all a really bad dream and if someone would just pinch me to wake me up.” As you Dad said, some days are good, others you’re heart stops. My love to all of you.

  17. Just a note to tell you how touched I constantly am that you continue to share your story. Doc would be proud of your writing skills that were clearly honed at The Bear Facts. 🙂 Lots of love to all of you – thinking of you and praying for you all every day.

    Much love, Mara

  18. So…how ya doin’n? :-)~
    lemme know if you guys need more ketchup.
    Very seriously, we think and pray about Liam, you guys and your entire family.
    Billy, Teri & Family

  19. I appreciate how you guys continue to let us in and on so much more than a surface level. I don’t know that most people are fully prepared to answer the “How are you?” question most of the time and that would be at just living a “normal” life. I’m glad you have such good support at the hospital and that you are talking a lot with these people and crying. That’s part of what your multi-session psychiatrist trip would tell you to do. And though you are “o.k.” a lot, it’s more than fair and honest to say shitty too. Words often seem inadequate. So no more words just a big virtual hug to you or maybe a punching bag too.

  20. Marty Hampton says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty, candor, and faithfulness to this blog. Every time I read it your words move me. Thank you for allowing mere acquaintances to walk alongside you in this journey. Our family and our congregation in Marion, IN are holding you in prayer.

  21. Jill (long) Lewter says:

    I had a patient that was headed there for the delivery of their baby. I mentioned your name to them and they may seek you out, hope you don’t mind. I also saw Hope Cassel this weekend, and she worked with me a few years back, how ironic!!! Just wanted to say there is not a day that goes without thinking of you! You have been so wonderful with the updates on your blog, great work!!! thinking of all of you daily!

  22. Dee and Eric says:

    What an amazing post. Thank you 🙂 Even in this unbelievably difficult situation you are thinking of others. Much love to all of you.

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