Thursday evening. That evening marked a slight curve in the path of one of our babies’ life-journeys. Truthfully, this curve has always been there, part of this son’s story. And we have actually been following it’s gentle arc for years now — not fully aware that we were in a curve, but sometimes sensing where it was leading, nevertheless.
So . . . probably, it’s more accurate to say that on Thursday evening we reached the point in the curve where we could see more clearly, and more certainly, what’s ahead now. And that revelation has been accompanied by deep and softly throbbing heartache. I may write about the details later, but for now, we are all processing and just holding that pain together.
The next day was Friday, and Scott and I left the house for our weekly reset time together at the river in the woods. I carried that heartache with me into our little sanctuary. The soft throbbing had continued through the night, sometimes joined by a literal and piercing physical pain in my chest. I know from past experience that, although the acute physical pain will ease with time, the pulsing grief has become part of me now and will always be with me. It will link itself with my very heartbeat for the rest of my life here on Earth, as I continue walking by this son’s side. Guiding him. Loving him. Crying with him. Laughing with him. Urging him to keep moving forward at his own personal pace. Encouraging him to keep being himself, and resting in the knowledge that he can stop fighting so hard now. That he is enough. That he is precious and perfect. That he is safe.
As Scott and I walked, hand-in-hand, through the woods with our Ellie dog happily prancing alongside us, I breathed in the subtle signs of spring. The undergrowth is now sprouting soft, whispering green-ness in the form of baby leaves, and tiny buds are just beginning to form at the tips of tree limbs.
Then, suddenly, breaking through that gentle whispering among all the winter deadness, I stumbled across this vivid proclamation of spring, rising like the first notes of a joyful song in the midst of darkness and sad silence.
I felt a literal leaping in my chest as my heart seemed to lunge in an attempt to grab hold of its realness. It signified hope for my son’s future, whatever that looks like now, and it instantly brought the words of this quote to mind.
“Glory follows afflictions, not as the day follows the night but as the spring follows the winter; for the winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.”
~ Richard Sibbes (1577-1635)
Still processing. Still hurting. Still even wiping sudden tears at unexpected moments. But hope is alive. We will keep moving forward.