Dearest Rachel –
It seems that, between various responsibilities, whether the camp or church or the dog, I’ve forgotten that I’m not the only one suffering your loss. Daniel has been dealing with it in his own way, but I’ve neglected to take into account his need for comfort and reassurance throughout these past couple of weeks.
Last night, it would seem that the dam finally broke. We were watching one of the old meme review channels the three of us did together not so long ago, and there was one of those ‘woe-is-me-im-never-gonna-find-a-girlfriend’ types that read something like this:
- Parents: We want grandchildren.
- Me, knowing that my family line dies with me: [cue, I don’t know, I think it was a sad fat porcupine image macro or some such.]
I really don’t recall what the image was. It probably wasn’t that important. What mattered was that, well… the realization hit him – hard – that you would never see his kids, should he ever marry and have any. And he was just sobbing about it, until I had to stop the video and turn it off.
I confess, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Are we ever going to be able to enjoy anything ever again?” Literally everything we do suffers from ‘oh, we used to do this together with Mom’ or ‘oh, Mom would have loved this, we never got to do this with her,’ and either one sucks all the joy out of whatever it is.
And I realize this makes me sound so insufferable and insensitive. The thing is, yes, there are things that just randomly set us off into a reverie of reminiscence, and we never know what’s going to set one or the other of us off into an absolute cloudburst of tears. I confess I wasn’t feeling it like he was, and I really couldn’t find anything to do for or say to him to make the hurt go away.
The crazy thing is, I don’t think either of us was (is) terribly concerned about grandchildren. We’ve just been enjoying the fact that he’s with us. Sure, at his age he probably ought to have moved out and – maybe, if he truly found someone – gotten married, set up his own household, but we were in no hurry. And considering that your parents thought that, because he’d been diagnosed with spectrum disorder when he was little, he’d be in an institution for the rest of his days, I’d say he’s turned out great. Thank heavens for your parents and their low expectations for us; we always managed to do better than they thought we were capable of.
But this got to him, this time, and he all but cried himself to an early sleep.
This morning, after taking care of the dog’s morning needs, I settled him down by the couch on which Daniel sleeps (Chompers tolerates the bedroom, once he’s suitably fed, pottied and medicated for the night, but he’s made it quite plain that he prefers the family room) and went back to the bedroom for my morning reading. Once I returned, Daniel had woken up. He wasn’t exactly better, mind you, but things were a little different.
You had come to him in his dream, saying that you couldn’t stay with him all that long, but long enough to give him a hug and say goodbye. As he told me this, and that he all but tackled you to hold on to you, I began to cry as well.
I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen you in my dreams, honey.
I may say I’ll see you when I sign off on these letters, but I don’t think it’s ever truly happened. And if it does, by the time I wake, I’ve all but forgotten, so it probably doesn’t matter if you had.
So of course, you came to the one of us who would recognize and remember you when you did. And, really, to the one who truly needed you the most at this time. I do hope it’s enough to give him a little more closure.
Since you left, honey, Daniel has developed a drive to make sure everyone he knows comes to Jesus, so that they can be with you and Him forever when the time comes. I have absolutely no problem with this; it is the Great Commission, after all. The thing that gets to me is that he sees this as his Purpose, the thing he has to accomplish before he can himself clock out and go Home. Yes, ‘Home’ with a capital ‘H,’ as in Heaven. Where you are.
I won’t say it scares me, but it worries me. And I don’t know how to explain it.
The thing is, you and I have damaged friendships in our past by pushing too hard on this subject – and learned to back-pedal when necessary. There is a time to step on the throttle, and there is a time to pull back should you encounter resistance. I worry that if Daniel insists on going full speed ahead, like an evangelical Leeroy Jenkins, it might do more harm than good, and damage the very cause he has at this point dedicated himself to.
Please understand I am in no way objecting to his fervor, only his method. Sometimes, tactics are called for rather than all-out attack.
And then, there is also the fact that any army (and let’s face it, the comparison of the Christian life and that of the earthly soldier goes back all the way to at least St. Paul himself) runs on logistics. We are not all serving on the front line or in the trenches as such. Indeed, you yourself received praise (here on earth, and I expect, by our Great General when you stood before Him) for your quiet service in the rear echelon.
Personally, I think he could use a (to extend the metaphor a little bit) platoon leader to drill him into where on the battle lines he would be best suited. Pastor Joel has spoken to him a few times since the accident; maybe I ought to encourage them to discuss this further.
I do confess, I feel quite inadequate to this task, and wish that you were still here to guide him. He often speaks of receiving his mind from me, but his heart from you, and he tends to listen to his heart.
Maybe you could just… check on him in his dreams a bit more?
But if not, thank you for being there for him last night.
I love you, darling.