It’s supposed to get easier, right? It’s been over 11 years since my son was seriously injured in an automobile accident. He’s come so far, and for that, I am truly thankful. You know, I started this blog (one of my first ones!) to provide a place to air out my emotions. It was great to have a place I felt I could dump it all out and leave it all behind so I could go about my day. Man, have things changed.
There’s a lot of really good changes. I have lots of work now! I often take on too much and I should probably be working on my work to-do list now, but my mind keeps getting clouded. Again – I am thankful for all my son has relearned. But the last few days seem to have crashed in on me for some reason.
It’s a Facebook Thing
I have lots to do on Facebook, don’t you? I manage a group for Chris called, “Keepin’ Up With Chris Hampton.” I update it regularly to keep those who care informed. I also write a devotion for caregivers and I put that on Facebook so other caregivers know when it’s been published. Plus, I’ve opened my own bookstore with study guides and other materials I’ve written. They are all linked so I end up being on FB a lot.
The trouble is my news-feed. Isn’t that always the problem? lol. Usually, I can pass on by and shrug off those weird emotions. But lately, it’s not been so easy. I see his friends getting married, announcing a baby, a new job, having another baby, and tons of other life events. While I am genuinely happy for them, my heart breaks. Chris didn’t get those things. Barring a miracle, he’ll never know the feeling of holding his own son in his arms. He won’t walk down the aisle and marry the woman of his dreams. He’ll never play in the Old Guard, or anywhere for that matter.
For some reason, it’s been harder lately, rather than easier and I don’t really know why. I love my son. I still love my son. He’s so much different than he was before, obviously. But I love this version of Chris too. But my heart hurts. There’s still grief. I don’t always know where to put it.
Worse Than Death
There was a horrible tragedy in my community a couple of weeks ago. Teenagers were killed by an impaired driver in a horrific act of violence. One teen died at the scene and another died a day later. One young man clung to life after suffering a traumatic brain injury. I followed his story closely and grieved for the family. He made a bit of progress, but never recovered and died a bit later.
I was so saddened by his death and yet… I knew his parents had been spared another hard journey. One that can be worse than death. You see, my son did die in that crash even though he’s recovered a few basics like standing, eating, and now turning and sitting. But I still grieve the loss. Daily. I am sure the young man’s parents would not agree at this point in their grief journey, and I am sincerely sorry for their loss.
Now I do get to care for my son – and that is a blessing I must say. But it’s also only possible if I bury my first son and devote my life to my second one in the same body.
Focusing on What Matters
Even though I would rather be celebrating my son’s marriage, first or second child, or new work promotion (who am I kidding? He was a drummer. lol), I’ll celebrate he is making a few noises with his voice, that he is standing some now – and choosing whether he wants to stand or sit. I’ll be glad he is able to interact with facial expressions and let me know definite “yes” and “no” answers. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s where I’m at.
Thankful for the Furnace
With all this in heart and mind, I’m thankful for this furnace. Not that I would have ever chosen this path, especially for my son. But now that we are in the daily burning of the fiery trial (and it never lets up), I can say I’ve become a much different person than I was before. I am more thankful. I don’t have to work hard at gratitude. I’m closer with God – even though my faith has indeed been tried by fire. It’s burned away a lot of things in me that didn’t matter and I can focus on what does.
And what would that be? Faith matters. People matter. Relationships matter. It matters that God has spent every second with me in this fire. He hasn’t jumped ship when the storm started tossing. He didn’t abandon when life became less than picture-perfect. That matters. So I will thank Him for this storm and for the fire, even though I don’t really like it. For I know there will be another side, some day. Maybe after time has passed away – and maybe then, this side won’t even matter at all. I’ll still be hidden in Him. Faith matters.