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Letter to a Friend

February 11, 2012

My dear friend,

I know you feel robbed. A thief has stolen in the night that which you held most dear- the hope that you would find peace- the one thing that you have sought for so many years. In the very week that you should find celebration in your heart, the fear has crept in and snuffed out the light. Every step forward is met with such cautious celebration that it becomes impossible to catch your breath under the impossible weight of that invisible cloak you have worn for so long. Just when you thought the sun was finally peaking it’s way out from behind those clouds, a new storm threatens on the horizon and you find that the last shelter you thought you had has collapsed.

I won’t tell you that you have nothing to worry about. I won’t tell you that everything will be okay, because I know that when you are there, in that moment, those words disappear like snowflakes falling on molten lava.

You have everything to lose. I get that. But right now, you also have everything to hope for. Please don’t turn your back on that hope. Your son deserves that gift. He deserves to have his mama smile at him with a joy as simple and as bright as on the day he was born. He needs you to dream for him. He needs you to believe in and plan for a future for him. Yes, a future.

For such a long time we lived day by day with our baby girl. I didn’t realize what I was stealing from her by doing that. By believing that this day might be one of only a few we had left, I was robbing her of her right to have the security that her parents know that she will grow, thrive and achieve. The first time I said out loud to someone, “maybe when she grows up she will….” I caught myself. “Maybe when she grows up….” because she will. She will grow up to be whatever she is meant to be. Whether she gets to grow for one more year or seventy, she will grow up to what she is meant to be. And so will your precious boy.

This is their journey, not ours. You have every right to cry and scream and bang your fists into the walls. You have every reason to be terrified. You have every reason to feel like someone has robbed you of the only thing you had left to hold on to. But you have every reason and even more, you have a responsibility, to hope, to dream, to plan, to believe, to smile, to laugh and to live for your son.

I thought for so long that living every day like it could be our last together, that making the very most out of every moment, was the very best thing I could do for her. In hindsight, I realize that I was robbing her and myself of one of the most precious things we as human beings can do. I was denying our ability to dream of her future.

Today he is healthy. Today he is okay. Today that thing that has haunted you for so many years is gone. It will still be gone tomorrow. You may never need that shelter. Or perhaps there is a better one waiting for you. Today you can dream. Today you can breathe, here surrounded by friends who love you. Today you can hope.

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2012 11:11 pm

    Yes, yes, yes. None of us know what the future holds, especially for our kids. But if we don’t dream for them and hope for them, then we will never step out of our safe space, never take a risk. Risks bring the richest rewards.

  2. February 12, 2012 6:04 am

    Wow what a great post. My twins have autism and I find myself up at night a lot ‘wondering’ what their future will be like. I know that I shouldn’t be afraid to dream, encourage, celebrate, and live! I love my boys – why would I not do all I can for them? Thanks for the post.

    • February 12, 2012 4:53 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Every child has their own path to follow. Sometimes the very best we can do for them is to dream with them. Peace to you and your family.

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