Life has been a little bumpy lately. Really really bumpy. A few years ago, L's youngest brother passed away, leaving his wife and 3 young children. Now this last week, his young widow, our sister, found life here just too painful, and decided to leave her children, and all of us. She hadn't been well for years, and was a source of constant worry, but STILL...it's hard to wrap your mind around it. It breaks my heart to think of anyone being that sad and hopeless. And those poor, poor kids...
In addition to that, we've watched a young man, our son, fight his way back to a whole life, and then last week, almost without warning, he started spinning out of control, and spiraling downward again. He's hospitalized, in lockdown, again. How does this happen???
When life sucker punches me like this, I try to figure out what I'm supposed to get out of the experience. Surely, there must be something. I have had friends offer unexpected help. I hadn't even known they'd been through the experience. Pure, unselfish, beautiful offers of help. Almost more than the help itself, was just having the offer. Amazing kindness. And I will take them up on it, as soon as I can sort out my questions. So maybe one thing I'm supposed to learn is how to accept offers of help. I think another thing is to listen very carefully to that still, small voice telling me to keep my hope alive. Don't become cynical or hopeless. Two years ago L, gave this son a beautiful blessing that all of his hopes and dreams could be realized. I hang onto that promise with both hands. In the meantime, we pray, we hope, we educate ourselves about his illness. And we keep our faith, and build our hopes on the success of others like him. I rely on, and find peace in L's quiet strength, and likewise give him some relief in my own brand of strength. (Mine is a little more intense and wacky, but it seems to work for him.) All of these are little things, that without pain or sorrow would probably go largely unnoticed. But it's these small things that are so soothing to the soul.
Tonight L and I went for a walk together. We held hands, as we walked down the trail. We talked about Tiffany, and what would become of her three little ones, and how we could help. I'm thankful for this good man, and, if I have to live through painful times, I'm grateful that I can be side by side with him. He helps me to be brave. He helps me to see the bigger picture - the eternal picture. And that is what helps me to get beyond the sadness. I hate pain. Pain is crap. But sometimes the crap is what opens our eyes to learning important lessons about family, and love, and patience, and why we're here.
Stay the course, Andrew. Fight hard. And Tiffany - you are with Ryan now, surrounded by only love. Rest in peace.