I haven’t written lately. I couldn’t. And as I sit here at my computer, I nearly wonder if I can even now. Life, you see, has been exceptionally hard lately. The words haven’t come; my mind has been too muddled with, well, other things. But as I drove home today after running some errands in a town about 30 minutes away, words started coming to me again. Call it a breakthrough or a breakdown, or both, I’m not really sure.
A few weeks ago, my life took a sudden turn, and since then I have been on my knees…
Emotionally on my knees as love ends and as dreams are abruptly put to an end.
Physically on my knees as I scrub the house that is now becoming a home for myself and my 2 precious sons.
Emotionally as I continue to see my angel’s seizures grow worse as his body grows more tired.
Physically as the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative discs wreak havoc on this ageing body of mine.
And spiritually, as the realities of life weigh down on my soul…yet again.
I sit here typing on this cold, dark winter’s evening, Brendan Bjorn smiling away next to me in his wheelchair while Declan is in the other room playing on his tablet – the life of an 8 year old boy these days! A few hours ago, I found myself once again on my knees, though this time figuratively.
There I was standing in the gaming section queue at Smyth’s Toys when out of the corner of my eye I saw some really cool scooters and pedal cars. Instantly I thought, “Oh! I should get one of those for Brendan so he can ride along with Declan when he’s on his bike!” WAIT…where in the hell did that come from?! It has been 12 years on this journey with Brendan Bjorn – who cannot even sit up, let alone walk or ride a bike – and now my mind comes up with THAT?! I repeat, where in the hell did that come from?
I crumbled inside. As I fought back the tears (only to save myself embarrassment amongst the strangers in the queue), I went numb. My mind raced, my heart skipped a beat, and I stood alone in a shop full of people.
I purchased the small Christmas gift for Declan and wandered through the rest of the toy shop. Brendan…a gift for my special boy. I found myself, as we parents on this journey do, in the infant section. A light-up toy? No, he’s got enough of those. A plush toy? No, again, enough of those. I stood there, looking at the rows of toys stacked way above my head. This was even worse than the irrational thought of buying him a scooter. There was nothing “new” I could get him…the boy who deserves all the world could give, yet gets so very little.
This time the tears didn’t maintain their proper place locked up behind my surely all-too-revealing eyes. And with the tears, the hidden but not so hidden depression and anxiety rose up in me despite my best efforts to compose myself. I couldn’t breathe well. The room started to close in on me. Here it was, another panic attack. With that, I went out to my van and sat there until again I could steady my world.
As I drove home, I remembered that it was only yesterday that my son Declan said to me something that at the time surprised me greatly, but now after having thought of buying a scooter for Brendan Bjorn, I wasn’t surprised at all. We were planning to go out for a walk around the neighbourhood. Declan said to me, “Hey, let’s go for a bike ride instead!” I had to gently remind him that we couldn’t do that because there is no way to push Brendan in his wheelchair while we ride our bikes. “Oh, yeah…” he said, and resigned himself to a walk. At the time he said that yesterday, I thought just as I did today at myself, where in the hell did that come from?
And just then, as I drove along the tree lined road on my way home, it came to me.
I know where those nonsensical thoughts came from…
From the place of forgetting.
From the place of dreams.
Those of you on this journey will understand.
Those of you not on this journey probably can’t. But if you could all please just try your best to have compassion toward those of us for whom reality is far, far different than yours, it would make this journey that much less difficult. For the place of forgetting, the place of dreams, is often the mainstream reality…and it is a place we on this journey cannot afford to let ourselves wander into without taking great care to protect our hearts.