I sat staring at my computer screen, scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. Not focusing on anything in particular, just hoping the screen would somehow help me forget a memory.
Ten years before, my husband and I were lying in bed with our newborn son snuggled between us. He was only a few days old. So fresh, so new, so bright-eyed. I looked at my husband and said “Can you believe someday he’ll be ten?” We smiled and laughed and dreamed about what it would be like to have a ten-year-old boy.
Ten years later my son was lying next to me, but in a hospital bed; his bright blue eyes distant.
We were there because he was sick and no one fully understood why. My husband and I were juggling medical bills, life far from family, and so many things we had absolutely no idea how to manage or untangle.
It was not how we pictured ten for our son. Or nine. Or eight. Or seven.
He had been sick for three years. In and out of hospitals and emergency departments for symptoms everyone saw as severe but couldn’t fully explain. He’d been given diagnoses for his symptoms. Some of them stuck, others didn’t. Treatments worked, then they didn’t.
We were walking through what felt like unchartered territory. More than that we felt defeated. We had poured our hearts into our son’s health and well-being only to come up empty, again.
That night, I went to bed on the pullout couch in my son’s hospital room feeling sad, angry, and alone. I watched his beautiful blue eyes close, his chest gently rise and fall. And then, I opened my laptop and started writing for the first time in months. This is what I wrote:
There is no way I’m alone.
And suddenly in a wave of relief it hit me – I’m not. I knew there were moms around the world feeling the same way. Moms who love their families wholeheartedly through both times of hope and hurt. Whose stories are layered with passion, joy, and love as well as grief, sorrow, and struggle. Who need women to come alongside them in the mess and say, “I see you, and what I see is beautiful.”
I closed the laptop, stroked my son’s hair, then laid back down on the pullout coach, and drew the coarse hospital sheets around me. I fell asleep that night dreaming and praying about this space.
For several years, I wrote at Wonderfully Made, a blog dedicated to sharing our journey with a child on the autism spectrum. I loved that space. It was the first time I ever shared my writing with others. More importantly, it was the vehicle through which I met incredible friends. Friends who to this day know me better, love me more, and encourage me in ways I never thought possible prior to pressing “publish” on a post.
For many reasons, I had to put Wonderfully Made on hold. It was during that hospital stay, though, that I realized writing isn’t something I can put on hold. It is a part of who I am, the way I process life, express myself, and meet others. And that final part was key. I started thinking about the women who have walked alongside our family, both virtually and physically, and they all have one thing in common – they are wholehearted.
So, here I am. Wholeheartedly writing once again. Wholeheartedly hoping my words may encourage you on your journey. Wholeheartedly believing in the power of story, yours and mine, and feeling so very grateful to be walking and writing together once again.