Terry was on the road this week for the first time in–well–a very long time. For some reason, when he travels, things never seem to go according to plan. Something always crops up around home. We had this nice, buttoned up plan for the week, complete with visitors and the help of my nanny. Our nanny became ill over the weekend and so we were forced back into our “old” routine whether we wanted to be or not. Looking back, this seems to have been a good thing in disguise, as it allowed me to test the waters on how things will go when I no longer have the additional help around the house. It isn’t so much that I can’t handle having two kids on my own. It is more often than not a need to have assistance from an energy perspective and to not be alone with my thoughts all the time. Much of the time I am “with it”, but there are some times where I have been lost in my thoughts or have been exhausted, seemingly out of the blue, so her help is invaluable to us. Also, for most of the year, we have had one on one kid management. Going back to managing two kids, full-time, is a bit of a transition.
Reece was such a help to me when Terry was on the road. He was quite the little reporter when it came to Britta, so I always had a handle on the pulse of the house with him here. He is a talkative kid, too, so I had him here to keep me company. And, my favorite part of Terry traveling, was that Reece would sleep in bed with me. He is such a snugglebug. In fact, even when Terry was home, there were many nights where he was booted out of the bed because Reece would wander into our room and want to sleep with us. It was a bit of a squeeze for three. We didn’t allow this when he was a very young child, but as he got older, we let him do this more (thunderstorms, bad dreams, or just because).
Going into this week, I thought for certain that Reece being gone would seem even more painful than normal. I’m not going to lie–I miss him like crazy whether Terry is traveling or not. But I thought it would be even more so this week. I am finding, however, that due to the circumstances surrounding Reece’s passing, it becomes such a far-fetched daydream for it to even make sense to have him here. I have spent months sleeping in the house by myself, so it no longer feels odd being the only adult in the house. Sleeping with Reece in our bed hasn’t been the norm in a long time. And then to imagine him being here, with Terry on the road, requires Reece to be a healthy child. Terry didn’t travel while Reece was critically ill. So now I have to go so far back in my memory–a year or so–to get to where that even would make sense. Had Reece survived the PICU part of this last hospital stay, he would still be in the hospital recovering…for a long time. And so, it becomes a trap of sorts to envision what would be perceived as a “normal” routine for five-year-old Reece to be here. It was never meant to be that way. If we had lost him to some sudden circumstance, that might be a different story. But for us–wow–what a path we were forced to take to get here. Even when I see parents and kids in Target buying school supplies, it is emotionally confusing. If Reece was a healthy child we would be doing that, so I feel twinges of sadness. But Reece had a terminal illness, so right there, “If Reece was a healthy child,” becomes unimaginable. We knew months ago that he would not be going to Kindergarten this year, regardless of his recovery status. I have been grieving that for months–the loss of the expectation that he would begin school. We’ve been grieving the loss of the plan we had envisioned for him for quite some time. If Reece never had a diagnosis of MDS we would be getting him ready for school. I get that far mentally and then I’m abruptly stopped in my tracks, because it no longer makes sense to keep going down that path. I can’t lop off the MDS part of him. The last time I saw him operating as a healthy child was nearly a year ago. I don’t know Reece as a healthy five-year-old. Therefore, I can not picture him getting ready for Kindergarten. It wasn’t meant to happen. Then my sadness becomes truncated in the reassurance of a better plan for Reece–one that involves his perfect health and full knowledge. I know for certain is that he’s not wasting time being sad about not attending Kindergarten this fall.
So that brings me to something else I did for the first time in a really long time. I sat down in my usual spot in the house and prayed. It isn’t that I haven’t prayed for months, but sitting in my regular spot to do so hasn’t happened in a long while. It felt good, though. I usually sit on our couch next to our bedroom. I used to do so right after Reece went down for a nap and he usually napped in our bedroom. So, Reece and I were often only separated by a wall while I would do my Bible study and prayer time. As Reece grew older and was able to get out of bed on his own, it often took several tries to get him to rest during nap time. I would get him to lie down and then a few minutes later I would see his shadow by the door, or hear him sucking his thumb, or see him peering through the crack in the door. I would chase him back into bed until he either nodded off or we decided he could watch a show quietly. On Monday, as I closed my eyes to pray, I realized how odd it was to not have Reece in the next room. I considered as I was talking to God that he could look across the fields of Heaven and actually see Reece. At least in my limited human imagination that is how I envision it. Regardless of how it looks, Reece is physically with God. So spending time with God in prayer is strangely comforting in that way. It is almost as if Reece was handed off to God and now during my prayer time, instead of me chasing him back into bed, God gets to chase him around Heaven. I love that.