I woke up to the sound of coughing - a remnant of the week of COVID we've all battled. It wasn't an earth shattering event for us, thank goodness, but not without it's challenges, nevertheless. The boys each had one bad day filled with aching bodies, fevers and a lot of tears. Then, they were quickly on the mend. I only really battled fatigue and some muscle aches. Kris had a few days with a fever and definite muscle aches. His cough has been persistent, but I think he is on the mend, as well. But, gosh, the fatigue holds on for a spell! I had gone from sprinting up my hill one week to rejoicing that I made it up the stairs the following week. I actually made it back up my hill last night, so all is once again well-ish in my world. :-)
Life is so fragile. I take so much of it for granted, in spite of my grand intentions of never doing so. We are, each of us, touched by our own frailty at some point. Sometimes it is a devastating encounter, and sometimes it is in less catastrophic, but still remarkably sobering ways. And encountering the frailty of others - of those we love - that it possibly the most terrifying/daunting reality of all for me.
A beloved friend - a sister in every way it counts - is slowly losing a battle on this earth and heaven will call her home far too soon. We say phrases like, "my heart aches", often flippantly or without understanding. But, sometimes, the heart actually, resoundingly aches. The void I feel in this inevitable loss has filled me with such a pain. The kind that takes your breath away. The kind of pain that fills your eyes with tears before they even open to face the morning sunlight. What will the tomorrow be without you in it? I don't want to know.
Death surrounds us. We are none of us untouched by it. We can avoid living fully in this world where we are placed, and that is our loss. But, the frailty of life eventually touches each of us. This day I found myself watching the boys more closely, appreciating the tiny nuances that make them unique and absolutely incredible. As Madigan grumbled through Math, I saw him power through and fight to learn and understand, in spite of the fatigue that still plagues him post-sickness. He leaned against me in the kitchen as I washed the dishes and said quietly, "Mom, I'm so sorry I was cranky this morning. I want to learn and I know you're trying hard to teach me well. I'm sorry I make it more difficult than it has to be." I. Cannot. Ask. For. More.
We are still in the arduous process of moving stuff from the old house to the new house (and from the sheds into the garage), and today after one such trip back and forth, I found Kelton holding tightly to my hand. I stopped, knelt down and asked him if everything was okay. He looked straight into my eyes and said, "Mom, I just need some time with you. Just you. I feel like I haven't seen you." Same. It's strange how you can all live under one roof in the same house, day after day fighting the same sickness, eating at the same table, but still feel like somehow you're missing one another. We stopped what we were doing and went to get a decaf coffee together. He held my hand all the way there and told me all his meandering thoughts that he has been bottling up for apparently quite some many days. These things I will treasure in my heart.
Declan asked me if we could make bread tonight. I placed the unbaked loaf into a cast iron camping pot and surprised Declan with the massive loaf pulled from the oven. His joy was abundant and he has been flitting about the house in a state of pure delight. He even announced that nothing else shall be required for dinner tonight. Works for me!
Lochlan has found some new and more constructive habits in the past several days. Perhaps the sickness worked in our favor to distract him from his previous issues. It has been so encouraging to see him engaging with us in so many new ways. He even sat and listened to Kris reading the boys a long book on Saturday morning, giggling throughout the whole silly book. He has been using words to communicate more often than not and today I looked at him and said, "Lochlan I love you." He smiled, looked me in the eye and gave me the "I love you" sign. When he's in trouble for some naughty outburst, I tell him, "that is unacceptable. You have to make a better choice and not do that again." He now often responds with direct eye contact and a clear, "Okay". It's nothing short of a miracle. Keeping his active mind stimulated is one my great challenges in life. May God grant special favor in this department.
I don't know what tomorrow holds. I will arise and face what I do not yet know, trusting in the goodness of the One who Knows.