Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep. -Romans 12:15
There is an old saying, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” While I’ll be the first to admit that this feels so incredibly true, because believe me there are days I feel I should be dead, I think it is more truthful to say that the friends who walk with us through the stuff that’s supposed to kill us make us stronger. In my 37 years I have walked through some scary bad valleys. My own life threatening illnesses, deeply painful loss, wartime separation, and now Connor’s illness. It is cliche to say I never walked through any of these alone, but I’m going to say it anyway.
This situation our family is in now has been one of the most isolating times of my life. If you know me, then you know that is torture for me! I am an incredibly social person. To a fault. But all of a sudden we’re dealing with this elephant in the room that even we’re not sure how to talk about so how do we expect to talk about it with others? The first few weeks were hard I longed for someone I could confide in, or at least who would let me drench their shoulder with my uncontrollable sobbing. I would have even been okay with a gentle pat on the back and a “There, there.” Well okay maybe not that last one.
I don’t know when it happened exactly, that our family found itself right smack dab in the middle of this amazing group of dearly cherished friends. But it was pretty much all of a sudden. A card in the mail from a friend in WA just to let us know we were being thought of, low key play dates where Connor felt safe, and loved and got to see his buddies treat him normally. Simple things like books on audio to help calm his anxiety after meals and at bedtime, coffee dates and long walks. Big things like groceries, gas, house payments, and remembering Eilidh in the midst of all that was happening too. It all mattered to us. It all blessed us in a way that I will never be able to express to any of them. Many of these lovely, lovely people weren’t new in our lives, they’d been there through all sorts of ups and downs. What impacted me the most about them in this particular down as it were, was that they knew I needed help I didn’t know I needed or even knew how to ask for. For me it was always enough that I knew they were there.
Then there was what I have come to call oh so affectionately the Breakfast Club. An eclectic gang of Kartini parents who found ourselves every morning at the New Season’s across the street grabbing much needed coffee and a bagel while we waited for the various meetings at Kartini most of which started at 8:30 leaving us a half hour to kill after drop off at 8. Members of this illustrious group have come and gone in the 12 weeks we ourselves have been there, and we are by no means the first of our kind. Yet the bond that has been established is precious. We celebrate each others children as they reach milestone after milestone. We cry with each other after the hard nights. We sit in silence when there is nothing to say. We laugh at stupid things when we don’t feel like talking about the reason we’re all there. We spend hours together as if we’ve been friends for years. We come from everywhere, Corvallis, Idaho, Bend, England, Arizona and our kids range in age from 9-15. As families leave the Breakfast club we all know the odds of seeing each other again are slim. But for a small few of us, who have chosen to stay in touch as we each prepare to go our separate ways.
I have come to realize in just the last few days really, how much of an impact all of these friends have had not just on our situation, but on my life personally. I have been incredibly humbled by the generous spirit of each and every one of them. I find myself in tears because the blessing has touched me so incredibly I lack a better way to express it, knowing I can’t ever thank that person enough. It’s nice though to be crying happy tears for a change.
So this is my shout out to all the beautiful people in our life, making the ugly thing we’re going through so much more doable. You light up our world, and that is the very best gift of all. Thanks for letting us lean on you.