Moments of Grace

The way we’ve discovered to live in wellness along with loss is first to feel all that sadness and second to look into the new situation deeply enough to begin to see what is hidden.

Last night I woke up to laughter. It was Andy laughing in his sleep and I pushed myself into consciousness to truly hear him.

Parkinson’s has taken his voice and that includes his laugh. It’s been eight and a half years since I’ve heard him laugh. That’s a long time, especially when laughter is part of our expressed love. Andy DOES laugh- but he laughs silently. He is almost always silent.

Sleep is a balm for Parkinson’s symptoms. The patients stop tremors during sleep and last night Andy was able to laugh. After his laughter subsided he spoke some unintelligible sentences as his dream flowed. It sent a surge of happiness through me and my heart felt full after hearing his voice.

I think it’s impossible for anyone to fully comprehend the sharp pain of not having Andy’s voice, laughter, thoughts and ideas in my everyday life with him. There is no use in complaining and there is no bringing it back.

Our situation has very clear loss that we live with. The sadness is real.

The way we’ve discovered to live in wellness along with loss is first to feel all that sadness and second to look into the new situation deeply enough to begin to see what is hidden.

There are treasures in silence, in slower movement, in more sleep, in learning to manage difficulty in swallowing and with communication and in all the symptoms that disrupt our lives. Those treasures become impossible to find when suffering and pain cause a person to close off and shut down.

Suffering is hard and shutting down in the midst of that happens, but the miracles come when a person doesn’t shut down and stays.

I accidently crashed our weed whacker and lawn mower into two small trees we’d planted, and they started to die. We hired a tree expert to come up and he told us there was nothing to do because they were on their way out. It appeared I has caused mortal wounds. We kept those trees and watched in awe as they suffered for a few seasons and ultimately stayed.

That was five years ago.

The miracles we discovered include those two living trees that provide us with beauty, shade and presence in our garden. I have grown into a more aware and sensitive person, especially when I see their healed scars.

Of course, trees are not people and not all people (or all trees) recover from their suffering or mortal wounds. Death is only the adversary until it happens. When it does, trees show us how to silently fall and make room for new life.

Still, simply choosing to stay- to feel the pain and sadness and then go deeper into it, this is where I find grace.

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2 thoughts on “Moments of Grace

  1. Love this, Michelle. Something about the laughter, and the silence, and the photograph of Andy. Really lovely, simple, and bittersweet. The trees were a creative example of not giving up, cuz I’ve seen those trees make it, too. Hallelujah!

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