I have done a lot of thinking, reading, and praying lately. Much of what I have read in these past few months has had to do with God, healing, loss, and grief. Today, I finished the book, To Heaven and Back, by Dr. Mary Neal. Earlier this month, my mother-in-law handed me a Guidepost magazine with the story of her near death experience in it. Of course, after just losing my father, I found her story fascinating, hopeful, and wonderful. This week, I happened upon a post on Facebook mentioning her. She appeared on an episode of Katie, which I happened to catch at "just the right time".
Today, I finished Dr. Neal's book and no sooner had I put down my book, I read a blog by my sweet friend, Kathleen Quinn. And, today, another piece of my puzzle seemed to fit together.
This past week for me has been one of deep depression, sadness, and despair. I have missed my father terribly, struggled with the fact that I am so far away from home, and tried to bandage up the wound that fragile X has left on my heart...just when I thought I had come to terms with living with everything. Silly me.
Today, everything came together for me. That being said, tomorrow is another day, but today, for the first time in a week, I have felt a little sense of peace.
Many times, even before my profound losses, I have contemplated the circumstances that have led me to where I am today. I believe that God always knew my path in life. He sculpted me and weaved me together with love, just as he does with all of his children. Before I was even born, He placed a gene within me that is invisible to the naked eye, but would profoundly change my life, or perhaps, help me better live my life.
Years ago, before knowing of my future, God pressed upon my heart the path of becoming a teacher. He put into place every moment that led me on this journey. That journey led me away from home and back and away and back once again. And when I returned home the second time, I was content, happy, and at peace, but little did I know what I was missing. Then, one summer night, Doug literally bumped back into me.
The night Doug and I were "reintroduced" was nothing short of a God-Wink. In a few short months' time, we fell in love, and I made the decision to move to Phoenix. I had no second guesses, no regrets; as much as I knew I would miss my home, I couldn't move soon enough.
Fast forward eight years, the birth of two beautiful children, and the diagnosis of fragile X. Through the pain of that news, I was able to understand the remarkable and unmistakable handiwork of God's plan. Doug had moved to Phoenix years before running into me. When we met, he told me he'd move anywhere to be with me, but something (God) was pushing me to come here. After Trek's diagnosis, so many things were clear to me. We were in Phoenix for a reason. We have an amazing pediatrician, who is not only a doctor to my boys, but a friend to both of us. She listened and loved us every step of our way. She was the second person I called after knowing, "the truth". We have a community of fragile X families, right at our fingertips, who are there for us when we don't know where to turn. We live in a school district which is amazing and I am a teacher in a school with some of the best in the business (how I got the job is another God-Wink). And, twenty minutes away is a newly formed fragile X clinic that is in its infancy, which we are lucky enough to be a part of! We have therapists who are like family to us, and neighbors I could not imagine being without. Not to mention family and friends we have here, in Iowa, and all over the United States.
And then, the unthinkable happened. Another loss. Another forever hurt. I know that I could not survive without ALL of the wonderful people in my life. My loves there, my loves here, and my loves in heaven.
When I think about losing my dad, I also think about how fortunate I am to have had the parents I do. They cared for me and guided me. They let me fail and learn the lessons I needed to. The loved me enough to let me go, knowing that I would always return home again.
After the emotional turmoil of this week and the little ounce of healing this afternoon, I sat outside and watched the sun setting and told my dad how much I missed him. At that moment, I felt him press upon my heart and speak to me in words that have no language, "I am here. I am always here." And, I didn't feel so alone. Maybe, given enough time, I will be able to look back on this chapter and understand how beautifully and wonderfully written it is, just for me. And, for that glimmer of understanding, however fleeting it may be, I am thankful.