The wind is blowing snow flurries from the gutters and the chill can be seen more than felt. The cold patters at our windows. I am reminded of that lone tree I see every day on my walk - standing tall and straight, alone, against the elements. It isn't unmarred - it has the missing branches and the scarred bark - but it is beautiful and mesmerizing to behold. It is unshaken, for now.
November is often a cold month, but in my heart it is always cold. It has been 40 years since Daddy was killed, and time has dimmed the acute agony of loss, but the gaping void remains very much unfilled. I think, as adulthood throws it's full weight upon me, I find myself longing to lean on him; but he is not there and my heart feels that emptiness.
We are none of us unbreakable. There is a shirt that someone sent me:
Though I can appreciate the sentiment to the strength and determination that is required to be the parent of a child with special needs, nothing has made me feel less unbreakable than parenting Lochlan. It has not been unlike walking a tightrope in the dark. There is no clear pathway to walk and always a sense that one wrong turn, one decision on his behalf made unwisely, one hour where I fail to watch over him appropriately, and his life will or could be permanently altered for the worse. Like that tree, so often I feel alone against the elements this world throws against me. Because truly, no one has answers. This path is full of possibilities. Keep walking. Look back, but only as a reference point for continuing forward, trying to place one foot in front of the next, prudently, even as every step feels precarious. And, in these times, again, the void is felt. I know that he couldn't tell me what steps to take or what the future holds, but I believe his presence would be comforting.
I don't think anyone expects us to be unbreakable - we shouldn't expect it of ourselves. Perhaps, in the breaking of our hearts, the deferment of our hopes, the longing that cannot be mitigated, we find new strength - strength granted to us outside of ourselves. To be stronger, wiser, more resilient, filled with realistic hope - conceivably the breaking of ourselves in all the ways we never anticipated is preferable. I am thankful that this is another day to live fully, even if the next step forward, moment by moment, is unclear.