…Chronic grief, that is.
Tonight I found myself weeping as I contemplated Jake’s future.
Those who know me best would not necessarily say that I am a “glass-half-full” type of person. I can be cynical, I can be jaded, and I can be guarded. Despite all that, however, I typically have a rose-colored lens type of viewpoint regarding Jake and his interactions with the people around him. I tend to write and reflect a lot on the fact that we really have only had positive experiences so far. I feel blessed, I feel encouraged, I feel supported.
For some reason though, it all fell apart for a few minutes tonight. What started as an innocent comment about someone else’s child bored its way into my soul and set up camp there, nailing the tent pegs in one by one – worry, fear, suspicion, and overwhelming sadness. And there the tent stood ~ whipped around by the winds of despair, hopelessness, and loneliness.
For a few minutes, I felt more alone than I have in a long time. I realized that when push comes to shove, my family is “set apart” in many ways. And although most of those ways can be positive, tonight the negative aspects of being different than the “typical” really hit me full force. I let the questions, the doubts, the fears, wash over me and engulf me.
Although I love my life very deeply, and can legitimately say that I would not wish it to be different, tonight I was overtaken with grief. I went into Jake’s room, picked him up from a dead sleep, and sat rocking him, weeping as tears streamed down my face. My heart, my literal physical heart, was actually aching for him.
I know that Jake is loved. Deeply loved. More loved than many people. I also believe that he has a fantastic community of people surrounding him who will support and encourage him, who will be there for him, and who will love him because they know what an amazing person he is. But tonight, I let my fears get the best of me. My fears that he will not be able to make friends easily (which seems ludicrous, since he is such a social little guy). My fears that people will not want their children to be friends with him. My fears that he will not be treated as an equal, because he has Down syndrome.
And with those fears, came the tears. The chronic grief that is such a real part of our experience, reared its ugly head once again. Sigh…