Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tilt and Swirl

Our son came home from the lake in the woods just for the day to meet up with friends from college, and now he is gone again, and I am sad from missing him. I wrote a whole other post which I have now taken down, because after I wrote it I went over to Ezra Caldwell's blog Teaching Cancer to Cry, and after reading there my concerns just seemed so puny in the face of Ezra's grace, and so I will just say I miss my boy, I wish I could make everything perfect all the time for him, and for his sister too, and I am sad tonight, and in time the sadness will pass.

This was the post I took down. Putting it back up because even in the face of very extreme suffering, what I feel is also valid.

Our son came home from camp, just for the day. He'd come to town to meet up with two friends from college, one of whom is moving to Colorado to start his post-college life. Our boy came through the door around 8:00 a.m., tall and lean and sun-browned, beard a little scruffy, the whole effect of him streamlined and lithe. His dad was already at work, his sister still asleep. He wrapped me in a hug, and then we watched a DVR'ed episode of The Daily Show, chuckling at humor about the royal birth. But he seemed distracted.

He didn't talk much. I didn't press. He left to meet his friends a little before I left for work. At some point in the day, he stopped by the museum to see his dad, his friends in tow. I knew he was going back tonight, so I thought I wouldn't see him by the time I got home, even though I left work early. But he was still here, dozing and then sleeping deeply on the couch. I tried to wake him once or twice, asking him did he want to eat, what time was his train, but he didn't stir, and I didn't shake him awake. I figured he'd set the alarm on his phone. But at 7:11 pm he jerked awake, agitated that he would miss his train, which was leaving in minutes, and he would therefore not get back to camp until very late. His energy was spiky and wound tight. He threw his things together, hugged me and went out the door.

His dad is at a meeting, his sister is at work, and I am left here alone in the house with a hollowness at my core, an uneasiness, an aching missing him, hoping he is okay. I'm thinking how odd it is that we can talk on the phone with such warm connection, as we did at length just this past Sunday, but in person he is so distant with me. More distant with me than with his dad, I think, or maybe it's just that his dad takes him as he comes, accepting the lack of transparency. They say you are only as happy as happy as your least happy child. My son did not seem happy today, and so neither am I. It's hard not to be able to do anything. It's hard to just sit. I am sad tonight.


  1. Aw. Your sadness is valid. And your home looks so cozy. :)

    Hugs to you tonight, my dear friend.

  2. My friend Sue used to say, "I've got the saddies." And it didn't sound stupid coming from her mouth. It was just a way of saying that she was sad but it wasn't the worst kind of sad so maybe you have the saddies.
    (And anyway, I've always said that someone else's cancer will not cure my broken leg which may be a bit selfish but it's true.)

  3. Oh, I get it. You know I do.

    And that Ezra Caldwell is a luminous light in the world -- I imagine that when he's gone, he'll keep burning through us, too.

  4. I read your previous entry before you removed it. I was moved by how strongly you connect to those you love. To me, it is very different than the sadness in the world around us. It is beautiful. It is one of the things I most admire about you. I don't mean I want you to be sad of course, I mean the depth of feeling. I believe it will come back to you 10-fold. Sweet Jo

  5. Hugs from afar...to you and them.

  6. Sorry you're going through a sad spell. Your concerns are your concerns, and they're not puny to you. Don't ever feel like it's inappropriate for you to express them here, or that they don't measure up to the concerns of others! (That's my two cents.)

  7. Oh I know how hard and lonely it can be when your child will not open up to you. But he came home and if it was only to rest and recover from whatever - you may possibly never find out - at least he came. Back home. That is very precious.

  8. I never understand the rhyme or reason to my sad spells. They sneak up on me when I'm least expecting them. Hope yours was fleeting, and yes, after visiting Ezra's blog last week I am trying to keep things in perspective. Ezra's eyes speak volumes, don't they? I hope he is not in pain, and I hope I can live with half the grace he manages.