A Strange Year

It was a strange year.

On one hand, we experience the greatest sorrow imaginable in our young lives, our child died. The first quarter of the year was filled with a deep sorrow.

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After she died, I looked around and asked myself, what is life to be like now?

In asking the question, I learned my Masters in Clinical Psychology was of no use to me in the state of California. At least the question was settled. Since it still seemed a pipedream to complete California requirements for licensure, I was relieved to no longer feel I was not doing what I should be doing. It was impossible. We need to be near family. We need to be in California right now.

I looked around again. What else can I do? I began to write.

And after finding my rhythm, thinking again and again how I would love to write news stories on community events, I saw an advertisement in our local paper asking for a part-time freelance writer, or stringer, in newspaper speak. The publisher was thrilled when I wrote him.

Now, I have the freelance writing, the newspaper writing, the weekly column and can see the finish line in my memoir on our journey of darkness and light. One writer astutely put it, “writing is editing.” This is edit #4 which I think will be a very productive edit. Then I plan to read it to someone for feedback. Then it might, might I say, be time to send it off. Regardless, it will be time to apply myself to the book proposal.

Meanwhile, my husband’s story differs only slightly. He began to play cumbia. I reached the dream of being paid to write and he reached the dream of being paid to play. He began to sell wind chimes.

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More than all this, around the corner, on his second birthday Peter will have been five months out of the hospital. Five months without imbalances, infections or rule-out fevers. Pink eye landed him in the hospital last year. Mild colds landed him in the hospital. Inexplicable, life-threatening immune reactions landed him in the hospital. Over the course of five months, the hospital faded into the distance. Life at home is normal.

Two years of terror and heartache, one crisis after another, and then the springtime.

And yet, I wonder. I wanted to write, “and then the springtime, when all our dreams come true,” but then I remember what New Year’s Day was really like.

I wept at her grave wishing she were with us.

Then I suppose the wisdom is that no matter what we achieve in this life, heaven is our home. Our longing ought never to stop. These are not the things that matter. To be honest, if it were not for Celeste I am sure I would forget in this season.

It is a season. Though I stare at the meadow now on the trail up the mountain and feel the breeze that brushes against its sweet stream, I know this is only temporary. Life is not meant to be sweet forever, it is a valley of tears. One day our path will turn…and that’s okay.

Because the meadow is not far away. It never was.

Nor is it the goal. The summit of the mountain is our destination, whether the view is fragrant and green or dusty and barren.

One day, Peter will get sick again. With his wonderful doctors I do not expect him to be in danger again, but sick and we will be separated.

One day, I will either be pregnant or sorrowful that the season of new babies has passed. For this, I will not presume on what God has in mind for us. I hope to take what comes with gratitude and trust.

One day, there will be more deaths, because living is dying. It cannot be avoided.

One day, my heart will break because my other children suffer.

But today is not that day. Today I can take the good and the sweet, embrace my work and projects and wrap my arms around my children laughing at a healthy two-year-olds antics. I take it and rejoice, strange as it is.

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