every day, i’d kick off my shoes next to my chair in the dining room, and every day, she’d ‘steal’ one, and wait for me to notice
she would tease me, laughing as only a loved dog does…and with glee in her eyes, she romped through the house, with my shoe just out of reach
this morning, for the first time in…years…my shoes remain where i left them
her stuffed pig and donkey lie silent, dormant, in her empty bed…waiting for a game that will never begin again…and my heart breaks
she was, a good girl
i feel as though i could sleep forever
as though my life has stopped, suspended, frozen in time
i catch a glimpse in the mirror over the small sink, and wonder who that is, looking back at me…she looks so old
we’ve been in this room, 4680 in the intensive care wing, for a month now…or is it two?
i was anxious to get here at first, then impatient with our progress…now achingly accepting of our plight
your plight…i am free to wander, but these off white walls and rhythmic machines hold you within
i sigh…not in resignation or exhaustion, i sigh as one with you, my lingering son
we sigh as one, as this day ends and another dawns…as your eyes close and our dreaming begins
i didn’t finish my basket weaving today…and that’s as it should be, i suppose
we aren’t ever…finished. there is always something left undone, something to change about ourselves, a new path to take
i think i will leave this one as it is…to remind me of how we change as we grow, taking on new form as our days are added
i have changed as each moment, each day…each year…wove itself into me. and as my basket is, i am, not yet done
i will never be done
i’m tired…exhausted, really
i’m angry. and worried. i’m scared
as i print journal articles, and copies of months of medical records to fight in this appeal to insurance, i look over at lingering son
he’s fought so hard. we all have…and it shows in both his healing, and in his eyes
i am fighting a machine so enormous, i scarcely know where to begin
so i begin with logic and facts…and land on humanity and compassion
on the value of a life being about more than dollars and cents
on what it costs us all when we begin to lose sight of that intrinsic value, and pursue instead one we can count on balance sheets
lingeringson’s life is in the balance
it’s tipping, and i’m going to set it right
insurance has a finger on the scale, and i’m going to right it
or die trying
a sense of purpose…
yet when we find it, it’s as familiar as a well worn shoe
it at once settles and excites…stimulates us into action without indecision
i often wonder…what is the sense of purpose for lingering son?
he is assured of our love, his value, his presence in our lives…but what purpose is in his heart?
i chafe at hearing the word ‘inspiration’…at the idea his life is what it is to help others be “better”
as if he owes the inspiration of disability to society
no, his life is…his
his purpose is not mine to grasp, because it is, at the end of the day…his own, woven in and through our lives
we parents…we watch our children grow with wistful eyes and full hearts
bearing witness through the stages of life, as they run and float and fly
one day nursing a tiny wrinkled newborn…the next, it seems, standing by a grown son or giving away a bride
the days between fall, one by one, like autumn leaves, until we give our child to the world to carry on
but for this lingering son, there will be no wedding day, no firstborn, no flight from the nest
his life is different, yes, but his alone…and we who love him bear witness to that life, to his existence, to the meaning of it all
home. the word evokes mental pictures, memories, feelings, and for most…a deep longing.
i say the word often, as lingering son completes his third week in icu. home evokes feelings of hope for him. hope for family, hope for normalcy and routine. hope for love over perfunctory politeness.
hope for the place everyone knows how he communicates, where everyone speaks to him as an adult, where there is comforting, and no one asks ‘what does he go by?’.
home is where wiggling toes or shoulder shrugs are greeted with encouragement. where his wrinkled brow says he needs a change of pace, or something isn’t right. home is where he is part of life, not someone’s job for the day.
we hope to go home in the morning.
it’s about time.