A year ago today, Andy and I dressed Jonah in a green “Hi! My name is Jonah” shirt, drove him to the Anderson Center for Autism, dropped him off, and left him to live and attend school there.
I have a good memory for dates, so this was an easy one to remember – aside from the fact that it’s the day Elvis died (35 years ago today). I woke up this morning with a strange feeling of dread, as though I were going to have to go through the whole thing all over again.
And yet something saved me from turning into the weepy self-pitying woman I, left unchecked, have the tendency to be.
That something was a boy. And a box.
Someone on Facebook commented on the Scare Me Nots page (I am their facebook “mommy”) – and when I saw the name, I was compelled to look at their page. The page is for a little toddler who enjoyed 3 months of health before seizures led to a discovery that his little brain is essentially degenerating – and there is nothing they can do. I wrote to the boy’s mom and asked for her address so I could send her the Scare Me Not she liked.
Then, last night, I spent hours filling and decorating the box, all sides of the box, with pictures from books and magazines and calendars in my crafting basement. I used a whole roll of packing tape and carefully adorned the box as though it were a gift in and of itself. The process distracted me from thinking about how I haven’t had my Boo with me for a year.
This mama may not have her little boy at all for much longer. There’s nothing like perspective to keep you from self-absorption.
When I got to work with the box in my passenger seat, I felt an urgency to get the box to her for her boy. So I left work and stood in line when the post office opened, and I mailed it the fastest way I could. Now I feel like I love her boy as well as my own. I pray for him as I pray for Boo. And after I mailed that box, I was no longer so worried, so pained, so obsessed with thinking, wishing, complaining, crying about my own boy – and I let go of holding myself bow-string tight.
Instead I felt humbled, and no longer alone in my sadness. Pain is pain. Loss is loss. Everyone has to have some. None escape grief and trouble. We all have crosses to bear, some of them terrible. Unimaginable.
Yet there is a hope we all must hold, that things will get better, that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train but rather a beacon of sunshine.
That on the other side there is beauty — and others – even strangers – who really do care.
“All that matters is what we do for each other.”
~ Lewis Carroll