I relish quiet time and silence.
Time when the kids are asleep.
Time when and the TV’s are not blaring.
Precious time to think, process, write and rewrite.
Time to just breathe…
Time when silence is in fact, golden.
Golden, yes, but not when it comes to prayer.
Silence is painful then.
Silence is a reminder of an empty void.
Silence serves as a jarring notice that while we still pray, we also still want and need, wonder and question.
If I had a dime for every time I cried out to God on Cole’s behalf…
Obviously it’s not the money I would like to see.
Not the money at all.
But my prayers for Cole were all of a similar nature.
To be normal.
To be like the other kids.
To be able to run, walk, climb, and jump.
To be without pain.
To speak clearly.
To have a girlfriend.
To have a life.
To really live.
None of those requests are out of the ordinary. In fact most parents—-at least in our American culture–assume their children will live normal productive lives. And more times than not those children will have the opportunity to do so.
But not Cole.
Cole had more physical disabilities than you could imagine. Add in his cognitive challenges and the struggle was immense. But in spite of his difficulties, the intellect for self-perception was always there. He knew he was different and not in a way the world perceived as good.
And as much as we loved him, we could not always protect him from that pain.
But we tried.
Oh God how we tried.
And made deals.
And there was nothing but silence.
Screaming, ear busting, head splitting, banshee loud, deafening silence.
For twenty years.
And then he was gone.
Ripped from life before he ever had the chance to live like other kids.
Gone before… so many things he would never see, do, or experience.
I wish I had a dime for every time I cried out to God.
I wish I could have sucker-punched every well-meaning soul who tried to console with words, images, and thoughts of Cole in a better place.
Intellectually, I understood his pain and struggles were over.
Theologically, I believed he was with God and well.
Spiritually, I was angry and hurt.
Emotionally, I cried for what was lost and what would never be.
I live with a lot of regrets and what ifs.
We lost an awful lot that terrible day.
The empty seats at the table are ever before us.
And if the silence was deafening before…
As clichéd as it might be, time really does help.
On most days, even though I miss him with a deep unfulfilled longing, I can smile, laugh and talk about my son who is in a different place.
But some days the pain is just as raw as it was the day he was taken.
And silence is an all too familiar experience.
On those days I sometimes use this picture to remind me of Cole’s new reality and the truth of answered prayers… even when they are not answered in my arbitrary time frame.
(With thanks to the Huffington Post for an inspiring picture and story)
Even though the silence mostly still remains, I am thankful for so much. I am thankful for the good memories and the precious time we had. Cole made me a better person. I miss him so, but I am glad he is free and unfettered…
To those who hurt with loss, you are not alone…
Blessings to you,