Before we found out he had died, I hadn’t thought of Mr. Laws for a while. Except in passing. That’s my shame now, since Mr. Laws was such an important part of our lives. Of course it wasn’t reciprocal. We didn’t really do anything for him. Still, often that’s how it works with medics.
Tell that to my grandma. Since he first operated on Delphine in 2012, my grandma got the parcels ready. Every time Delph had a follow-up appointment, or another small surgery, I remember the look on Mr. Laws’ face as we presented him with one of my grandma’s gifts.
‘Hmm,’ I could imagine him thinking. ‘Polish chocolates. My favourite.’
It became a bit of a joke – but he was never ungracious about it. For Mr. Laws, it was more the eyebrows-raised, ‘I didn’t do it for the rewards’ look on his face. Like it slightly upset him; to think we thought he’d expect it. But I wasnt not going to give him the chocolates. Or the cards my grandma wrote him. I’m not that stupid.
At the beginning, Mr. Laws made it clear we can’t know exactly how long Delph’s lenses will last for. Since cataracts mostly affects elderly people, synthetic optical lenses don’t require special longevity. For children, it’s a different matter. He explained it to us in his careful way. Hopefully they’ll last sixty years.
After her initial surgery, it took around three years to monitor Delph’s vision. There were lots of follow-up appointments.
So, when asked for the person who most made this trip on Quest possible. Easy. David Laws. I don’t think we would be here if Delph’s sight had been lost. He didn’t like to hear it though – when we told him. Those eyebrows raised up again, and he’d start talking about his whole team.
I’ve been reading the tributes left to him on his obituary page. Many are from parents. One family wrote how Mr. Laws had been so supportive, even though their child did go blind. They wrote how Mr. Laws had spent years researching their child’s condition, always hopeful something could be done.
I sat back, a bit winded. Oh man. Theirs hadn’t been a success story – not clinically. And these people still held Mr. Laws in such high regard.
I was thinking about it on Friday morning, while cleaning coral trees with Bonusia. Well not exactly thinking. More like a swirling going round my head. That’s how my thinking usually feels.
This work re-building coral reef in Bonaire; it’s so rewarding but so uncertain too. A thousand things could bring it down. One big storm for example. The whole ‘why bother?’ question. I couldn’t scrub it out.
Enter Mr. Laws into my head swirl. I wondered how it must have felt for him to save some children’s sight, but not for others. Especially knowing his caring character. It could have taken its toll.
Aha. My swirling stopped. He never stopped trying. Even if it wasn’t going to work. Of course.
I smiled into my regulator. I wish I could thank him one more time. Watch those eyebrows go up again. ‘Another Polish chocolate? What did I do to deserve this?’