We mark time in all sorts of ways, weeks, months, seasons, years, birthday and anniversaries. Most are enjoyable, but not all of these are pleasant, yet we still mark time by them. It has been 4 years since…
Today as I woke up, I was tired, I have been fighting off some form of a bug for over 2 weeks now, that being said I felt capable and ready to meet this day, (even though it took me an embarrassing amount to time to get out of bed.)
An odd turn of events ended up showing me that on this particular day I am still just a tad bit more fragile than I would like to admit. We had a card left in our door today from the SPCA, apparently someone expressed concerned about our St. Bernard being out in the snow. She is outside on nice days, if the weather is poor she is inside, and she always spends the night inside.
I reacted, I felt judged. I would like to think on another day I could have let this roll off me. On another day I would not feel so vulnerable. On another day I would not have had my mind clouded with tough memories. I’ll never know because it was today that they stopped by. I still marvel at how one totally unrelated event can have an impact on another.
Today is the day where I weigh the good and the bad of the last 4 years. 4 years seems like such a long time, yet the day to day living of those years, makes it seem much shorter. Not all healing is immediate, and sometimes it is much slower when you are so desperate for it to be fast. Sometimes healing doesn’t come the way we picture it.
Today I remember again every little detail, I remember how the early morning light cast a shadow across the rather stark room. I remember the sounds and smells. I remember fear, courage and peace all mingled together with smiles, tears, and waiting. Today I remembered his sweet little hand reaching up to rub my cheek before he was taken away to surgery. I remember how strong he was, how, ugh, for lack of a better word, normal he was. I guess that is just it he was normal, he was strong, he was fast, funny, full of mischief… and then.
Neurosurgeons have a saying, “You ain’t never the same when the air hits your brain.” There is even a book with the title, When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales of Neurosurgery. It is true in Joel’s case, he isn’t the same. He is different. He is still my little guy, he is alive and for that I am beyond grateful, I am not sure that there is a word in the English language that adequately describes just how grateful I am that he is here.
Yet even after 4 years I miss him, I guess a little less each day. He is at a new normal. There are many things that make him different, (I have been planning a Joel update and I will get to that soon,) yet in many ways he is still Joel. He still loves music and desperately wants to learn to play the guitar. Even though he is still just at the strumming stage he has been invited to join one of the worship teams at church on occasion. We have been so blessed with folks in our lives that take Joel as he is, isn’t that how we should be with everyone? Sadly that isn’t always the case though.
Joel is creative and still loves a good adventure…He is still funny and mischievous at times. A few weeks ago in church our pastor was preaching about the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. When it was first built it was beyond anything that we could imagine it was so richly adorned with gold. When it was rebuilt later it lacked the adornment that the original one had, our pastor talked about how those days were gone, they could not go back to the days of the first temple. My comparison isn’t that Joel lacks the wealth of his days before surgery but only that we cannot go back to those days. Yes those days were great days we lived a very different life, but we can not go back.
The new temple was cherished and so are these new days, they present new challenges, yet they are not without hope.
It is an odd thing to grieve a living child that was. With the passing of time it becomes easier. I think what has caused this drawn out process is that we were led to believe by a few that over time things would return to normal. I guess they have, a new normal.To the SPCA worker I suppose you were just doing your job, and you caught us on a tough day.