“This happens to people,” is the thought that echoed in my head when I had some precious moments of solitary silence. It provided some strength, somehow, as I stood in front of HSC waiting for our dinner to be delivered and looking up into the night sky and across a quiet neighborhood.
I suppose the thought is indicative of me moving from ‘shock’ to ‘acceptance’. Sometimes, the road ahead seems very, very long and very hilly. And on some days, the road actually stretches as we see the fixed waypoints ahead pulled farther away from us. A several-day period without weight gain means that we have expended time and energy without anything substantial to show for it. A couple of breathless sessions with the bottle, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the radical inefficiencies in Will’s circulation and breathing. A sizable intake of milk followed by an equally sizeable episode of reflux leaves us heartbroken. We wonder how long this 5-part course of surgeries might last, and what our son’s faculties will be like as he grows up. We wonder how long we can keep walking and how long our friends and family will be able to continue with their determined support.
On other occasions, the path seems to level out and the markers bunch together. Some good solid sessions with the bottle, a little gain in weight, a few days of care under our belt, some hopeful hints from the staff here, and we can feel jubilant. The Boy is remarkably strong, and is in fact teaching us actual and metaphorical lessons as he leads out on this road to recovery. Given a 50-50 chance at survival, he has outpaced expectations at almost every point along the way.
In all of it, it is tempting to feel alone. But in the still of the night, in the impatient waiting for delivery of some organic Chinese food, the sky and the city seemed to chase away the lonely.