Too many people miss the silver living because they’re expecting gold. -Maurice Setter
When I got married, my husband and I had it all planned out – we would have careers, at least three kids, and we would be the best parents we could be (supportive, encouraging, and active in our children’s lives). The career part worked out eventually. We were young, moved a lot, and anyone who has been in the military knows how difficult it can be to adjust to civilian life. We had two sons and always did everything we could to keep the boys active, healthy and happy.
When the boys were diagnosed in 2001 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, our dreams started to shatter. Our boys never learned to ride a bicycle with two wheels, they were never able to learn how to drive, or able to participate in team sports. I worked at a title company for a few years before I had to leave to care for the boys due to the progression of their disease. I watched them lose the ability to walk, stand, raise their arms above their heads and I had to feed my oldest son during the last two years of his life. We had to constantly adjust to our new “normal” as the boys needed more and more help with the things most of us take for granted.
Towards the end of Christian’s life, I had more and more difficulty finding the silver lining. It was easier when the boys were younger – so easy to say it would never happen to us. “A cure will arrive in time.” “The disease will stop.” “If I take the best care of the boys that I can, even at the cost of my own health, I can make this monster go away.”
I became miserable because I was focused on the gold that we never found. I can look back now and see that Christian looked for that silver lining up until the last night of his life. He asked me that night if we could take a day trip to Lewistown. He still had hope.
After losing Christian and continuing to watch Andrew deal with some of the same issues and complications Christian dealt with, you would think that the silver lining would be gone for good. How can I see anything good come out of losing my son? What kind of person would that make me? There isn’t a single cell in my body that could possibly be glad my son passed away.
As hard as it is for me to admit, there is still a silver lining. There will never be gold, but I’m okay with that. What is the silver lining? It is contained in the little things – the things that Christian taught me to appreciate. Things like music, a bird on the feeder, sunshine on my face, a chance to make someone smile or laugh, the quiet moments during the day, a cup of hot coffee, being able to spend time with an old friend, or watching a good movie with my family. I can be thankful that Christian is no longer suffering and that he didn’t have to pass away at the hospital, that he will never have to worry about another doctor appointment again, or see fear in my face as I watched him fade, that he is with the Lord, that he is at peace, and that he will only know love.
It is far too easy to focus on what we don’t have instead of what is under our very noses. The all or nothing approach to life only leads to disappointment. What if we were to do our very best with what we have? Why not focus on what a person did right today instead of on what they did wrong last week? If we expect our lives to be perfect, we will miss the miracles – the miracles that surround us each and every day.