Recently Erynn and Ruth have been having trouble sleeping. I’m pretty sure that it’s the manifestation of their anxiety after Matthew’s three weeks in the hospital this summer. We’ve been praying with them, but a couple of weeks ago, we switched from praying with them to getting them to try to voice their prayers on their own. At first, they were nervous and their prayers consisted of “Thank you for our fun day” and ” Can I please have a new stuffed animal?”
Quickly, though, they became comfortable with hearing their thoughts spoken and they began to share their fears. “Lord, can you please let Matthew walk and talk?” (Ruth) “Lord God, can you please take away Matthew’s tremors?” (Both Erynn and Ruth on different nights). “God, can you please keep my family healthy and alive?” (Erynn). I began to see through their prayers what was keeping them up at night. Ruth is afraid that Matthew is only ever going to be able to cry, that he will never be able to have a conversation with her. Erynn is realizing that we won’t live forever; that we aren’t guaranteed to be together like we are now for a really long time. She’s afraid of losing all of us.
Their prayers have been tender glimpses into their hearts and always leave this tired and emotional mama on the verge of tears.
Tonight, though, tonight was a different story. Tonight, Erynn bore her heart.
“Lord, please take away Matthew’s tremors.
Please heal him and make him normal.
I miss him when he’s sick and in the hospital.
I don’t want him to be sick any more.
I want him to be normal,
because I miss being able to do fun things with him.”
It’s not possible to hold back tears after a prayer like that. She usually asks me what my prayers are, after she has finished praying. I’m glad that she didn’t tonight. I want to pray for Matthew’s complete healing. And, in a way, I do. But here’s the thing. I know what that could mean. I know that Matthew may only ever be completely healed in death.
Matthew’s current favorite movie is Big Hero 6. He loves it. He recognizes all of the music and anticipates the scenes. It doesn’t matter what is upsetting him, starting that movie will settle him and put him into fits of laughter. We both love to sing and dance to one song in particular, Fall Out Boy’s “Immortals”. One line echos through my head day after day. One line catches in my throat.
“I try to picture me without you, but I can’t.”
That’s the reality. That’s the ugly truth. I don’t dwell on it, but it can’t be ignored. Four times in Matthew’s short 2 years, I have had to face it. The truth that Matthew may not be with us forever. The truth that it doesn’t take long for him to go from ‘perfect’ to ‘clinging to life’. It’s a reality that I hate living in. It is a reality that I wanted to keep my little ladies from ever realizing. Unfortunately, they uncovered that reality on their own and it keeps them up at night. It sends Erynn into fits of tears at the drop of a hat and has Ruth operating on more rage than should be humanly possible. It’s too big of an emotion for their little bodies and I am powerless to help them, because it is too big of an emotion for my adult body.
I try to picture me without you, little buddy, but I can’t.