Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy birthday Clark

Clark turned three today. I wish Scott were here to celebrate with us. I miss him.

Scott was a wonderful dad, and he and Clark brought each other enormous joy. Scott always had this over-the-top enthusiasm for fathering, an abundance of confidence in Clark's abilities, eternal patience with him somehow without crossing the line into overindulgence.

He loved teaching Clark new things, loved watching him develop new skills. Last fall I pointed to a jet flying overhead and said pointed out the "smoke" to Clark. "No, contrail" Clark corrected me. Scott had taught him the word "contrail" at age two.

Here's the poem Scott read at Clark's welcoming ceremony: "My Son," by Barbara Shooltz Kendzierski
You did not come to me as the moon, reflective
of me, or to orbit my life but as a star, radiant
with light and warmth and path of your own.
I will try always to remember.
I want neither to hold you captive to my dreams
nor to pressure you to color between lines I have drawn.
I hope never to distort your questions
to fit my answers; but sometimes
I will forget.
May the limits I set serve you
like the scaffold serves the skyscraper in its ascent,
then falls away when the time comes to let go.
May my words teach you to listen
and my listening teach you to speak
so in quiet it is your own voice you find.
May I be a mirror so you see yourself clearly
as child of a loving God who delights in your being.
The scaffolding fell away too soon. The mirror is foggy.
I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that Clark will never know the extent of his loss.

Here's the poem that I read at Clark's welcoming, by Rumi.
Look at Love...
how it tangles with the one fallen in love
look at spirit
how it fuses with earth giving it new life
why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend
why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known
why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I celebrated my birthday last month, which prompted me to reflect on the past year-plus. A year and a half ago, as we were just getting introduced to Scott's cancer, I remember someone commenting that one day we'd be able to look back on this "year from hell." At the time, the comment struck me as unfounded. Granted I didn't know what was coming, and I still had a lot of hope that Scott would survive. But even when I considered worst-case scenarios, it didn't seem possible that the entire year would be one from hell. Now, looking back, my 33rd year was by turns tragic and stressful and painful and mentally and emotionally exhausting. But it was not bad. In part, the hard times were balanced by profoundly good times. I am so thankful for our trip to Hawaii; it stands out in my memory as a haven from everything else that was going on. We were so taken by the place - the beaches, jungles, volcanoes, sunsets - that we were able to stay very much in the present moment, enjoying each others' company. And, of course, I am so thankful for the incredible love of our community. I've written about that often, and it cannot be underestimated.But the hard times were also intrinsically valuable.

I was talking to a neighbor a few weeks ago, one I hadn't seen in several months, so I had to tell her about Scott's passing. I hurriedly went on to tell her that we're doing okay, that I have wonderful on-the-ground support from my classmates and administrators, neighbors, friends, family, etc. etc.
"Yeah," she interrupted me, "But it sucks."
"Yeah," I said.

I don't mean to gloss over the hard parts. I'd absolutely revert back to Plan A if I could. But Plan B isn't bad. My 33rd year was by no means my worst year. It was my most important year.

Right now, things are going smoothly. I finally completed one of the classes that I took an incomplete in last year, and I'm almost done with the other one. In the next few months I'll study for and take the Step I Boards. The score plays a large role in making you a competitive residency applicant, so it's something that one can, theoretically, stress about. I'm sure I will, but I'm not yet. I'm enjoying the day-to-day. Today is Saturday, and we're off to the zoo shortly.