Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Carry On

"Carry On"

One morning I woke up and I knew

You were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes
To see the dawn.
Go your way, I'll go mine and
Carry on
-Stephen Stills

I like the psychologist. She is professional, thorough, and most importantly, kind.

We were sent to her three years ago so Jeremiah could be evaluated for fire starting tendancies. Was he a threat to others? What is his IQ? What psychological scars does he carry from his early years in Haiti?

While we were at it, we had Isaac evaluated.

We learned the scope of their handicaps. A lot of it was bad news.

But there was some good news as well. We were told that both boys were performing far above what is expected of people with their handicaps. That they had developed coping skills, and used their fullest potential to do more than is seen in almost any other person with similar levels of intelligence. She was surprised how much we were able to coax the best from them.

She gave us suggestions on how to help them further. I listened to her suggestions, found the spiritual basis for them, and combined her suggestions with ways that a father is supposed to guide his children according to scripture.

I was supposed to gently prod Jeremiah, understand his thoughts, determine what he might be fixating on, redirect him to healthy thoughts. I prayed with him every night. I asked him about his fears, what he was thinking about, and I prayed a blessing over him each night.

I was supposed to coax Isaac out of his shyness, get him to open up, talk more. So I prayed with him each night also. I required he have one question for me each night. Anything at all. And I prayed with and for him. And in those prayers I let him know my own concerns for him, prayed for blessings that would help him make friends, talk with others. So... I told him about stars, and Jesus, and sex, and why the sky is blue. I told him he was loved and he has a big heart, and I am proud of him.

Now the three years have passed, and we hope to plot a path for Jeremiah to be able to move into and through the world with outside help (I won't always be here for him and he should always have an advocate), we went back.

She spent an hour and a half going over with us the test results of the boys. They have changed a great deal in the three years.

Jeremiah has lost the dark thoughts. His interactions with others are reasonable and above normal for someone with his IQ, which, by the way, rose 18 points. He is doing much better with what he has. She was more than surprised. She was astonished at the healthy changes she sees in Jeremiah.

Isaac has also improved incredibly. So much so he will not be eligible for benefits. His IQ went from 74 to 83. Though he still has problems, such as not realizing his limitations, and not interacting socially as well as we would like, he is much more capable in many ways (and he knows why the sky is blue).

Again, she was astonished. It is rare that IQ points change this much. Normally such changes only happen when someone is removed from an insitution where they do not have to think for themselves, and placed in an environment that enriches their mind, responsibilities.

In the light of their future we told the psychologist of our impending divorce.

She said what we have done for these boys is amazing. She said we have helped them become so much more than they could have been without us.

She cited all the work Brenda did in helping them with their schooling, with their development. She said she was amazed at how much effort and energy we put into them.

She said that we should be very pleased at the job we have done, and that it is obviously one of the main stressors that has cost us our marriage.

She implied the other factors, the death of Willy, the affairs, the financial struggles.

As she spoke I could feel the weight of those years. I looked at Brenda, and I could see the weight of those years in her eyes.

I could also feel the love we still have for each other. And that it isn't enough.

She reached for my hand, squeezed it. The counselor smiled sadly.

We wrapped things up, finalizing details of the reports which should be changed to make them more presentable to agencies which might be of help to Jeremiah and setting school goals for Isaac.

I got up, thanked her. Held the door open for Brenda. She preceded me down the stairs, opened the door into the waiting room for me. I went ahead and opened the outer door for her.

We walked across the parking lot together. The clarity of the future of these boys, the responsibilities I am taking on, the assistance she can offer from time to time, echoing in our minds from the conversations on the way there, and through the discussion in that office.

I moved quickly to the van, unlocked the door for her, held it open as she slid in.

I moved around to the driver's side, got behind the wheel, inserted the key in the ignition.

I looked at her. She at me.

And all the tension of the past year, all the hurts and joys and triumphs and failures of the last 28 years swept over me and I bent my head to the wheel... Tears flowed down my cheeks silently. My shoulders shook.

On the way home we talked about the details of the divorce. How we can make things easier for each other. How we can be fair to each other. How in many ways this is very unfair to me, but that I am ready to accept the job of caring for these boys for the next few years, get them out on their own.

Brenda feels a lot of guilt and shame. I let her accept the responsibilities for her misdeeds, and I acknowledge my own.

I am a little overwhelmed with what I know lies ahead of me. Caring for these boys. Work, house work, budgeting, shopping, laundry, guiding their spiritual growth, setting up programs and systems that will keep them going, keep them safe, even without me, though it may take a few years for that to happen.

And I am sad. I hurt to know that I was mistaken about my wife, about the future I thought would be.

I see how this ache I am feeling is similar in many ways to what I felt when Willy died.

Which, oddly enough, is comforting.

Willy's death is a deep wound in my heart, and I put perhaps more blame on myself for it than is logical. But... I can live with the loss of that boy.

I accept my share of the failure of our marriage, and it is a fresh wound on my heart that will probably last a long time, perhaps all my life... and I will probably take more blame for it than I should. But... I will be able to handle the loss of my marriage as well.

The comforting part is the beyond. Willy's death happened almost 16 years ago. And I am OK. I love God. I see beauty. I love others.

These past few days I have been waking up knowing that this time it is for real. There isn't any turning back now. Oh, I could probably talk Brenda into giving it another try, but, I don't want to. I am ready to move on. I don't hear a whisper telling me to hold her up, to hurt myself or the children in more of the roller coaster ride we have been on for the last year.

I have woken the last few mornings knowing she is really gone.

I have woken the last few mornings knowing that my life will be different, that there is a new day.

And... unbidden, a song from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young comes to mind:

One morning I woke up and I knew
You were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes
To see the dawn.
Go your way, I'll go mine and
Carry on


curious servant said...

Brenda asked me today to pray with her, pray over her.

I took her to the Prayer Room.

I explained my faith to her. I explained my prayers to her. I prayed for her. I anointed her head with oil.

I told her that I hope she heals, that I will continue to pray for her...

...and I want the divorce as quickly as possible.

wilsonian said...

I hope there is room within this grief to stop and appreciate what you've (together) been able to accomplish with your boys. It's something to celebrate, and it would be a shame for all of you not to have the space to celebrate it.

Peace to you...

Bad Alice said...

What amazing parents you have been. How wonderful that God blessed them with you and you with them. There are so many broken things in our lives, and still incredible growth. It's a painful beauty.

Anonymous said...

Whoaaaaaaa Will.....
You're really a giving machine all the way around....
Your gifts will not go unnoticed....I'm overwhelmed with what you are doing amidst your pain.

Yes, have a celebration with your sons.

And I'm thankful for the healthy parts Brenda is giving. I know she really doesn't want to be like this - not in the deep parts of her heart. But....

I agree it's time to move on.

I still have this huge lump in my throat. You are loved and appreciated!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so moved, Will. I see such humility and tenderness within you.
All I can truly say is "You've reached new heights and I am so proud of you".

Amrita said...

Good the hear the boys are doing good.

Can 't undersatand how Brenda feels guilty for her actions and yet not want to changs or make amends.

When i feel guilty about something I want to change , flip over.I feel so uncomfortable.

Oh Will, God is our ever present help.

ukok said...

I am so delighted for you and for Brenda and for your boys, that they have been able to reach a stage in their lives that was not expected of them. Thanks to all the years of love and support and encouragement that your boys have received from you both, you now have two children who are not only achieving more than was expected, but who are probably more communicative, expressive and stable.

Will, you know my relationship problems by now so i know that you will know that i mean it when i say that you should indeed celebrate that you and Brenda have raised your fine young sons.

Sometimes that is all that we can truly say we an celebrate,our children, but I also believe that you can celebrate the many years you invested in and stood by Brenda, and she you, perhaps to a lesser extent...but trying in her own way all the same.

No matter what happens between the two of you henceforth, you have done well by your boys.As well either of you could do.

It's important to remember this, especially so now, when in realising that you can no longer be together, you will 'work together', to the extent that you are both able, for the wellbeing of your children.

Putting them first now, as ever, will help you get through this Will.

We do need more than to be parents, yes that is true, but for now, let parenting be balm to your troubled soul.

It won't take all the pain away, in fact it may at times increase it when you remember how you both have gone through so much with them....but the pain will lessen...and y'know what, you're probably even going to enjoy being the prime carer responsible for the boys, when it means there is less conflict in the home and the children are able to understand that these new arrangements aren't fleeting.

You are in my prayers. All of you are actually. Got to get ready for work today. So better get movin'!

Marvin the Martian said...

I take a much more obnoxious approach to goodbyes. "Buh-bye! Thanks for flying with us!" But either way, letting go is such healing. Congratulations! (Valkyrie congratulates you too - she is sleeping next to the computer, probably because it's warm.)

4evergapeach said...

cs ~ Yes, I am back. For now any way. I have truly missed my blog friends and sites. I haven't had a chance to read up on what's going on, but this told a lot of it. I'm glad the boys are doing well. I'm sorry to hear of the divorce. I can sympathize more than you know. My divorce has been final almost a year now. I never shared what I was going through. I never felt my blog was a place to share that. I'm sure I could have used the support. But all is well with me. I'll post more about it on my site soon. You are still the warm, compassionate, loving man I remember. I will keep you in my prayers and may God bless you each and every day. ~ Peach

Judas Hate said...

Ask the boys to give you a huge hug for me.

I love you my friend.


Becky; said...

the prayers for and over your boys....pray for her still....

Anonymous said...

a flybyhugging friend!!

Lucy Stern said...

Will, I know this is hard but you can get on with your life. You and only you can make a decision to either let this drag you down OR start fresh. The boys need a happy dad and you need a healing heart.

Congradulations on the good report for the boys. It is not easy raising kids, especially children with disabilities. They are the Lords special children and they need your love and support. I have a feeling that the three of you will be just fine....

Stay Strong!