Through the fog of life and death
The first trip Barry and I took with our new baby girl Kelly was to Door County, Wis. It took us two days to get there, stopping to feed and diaper this new love in our lives. We also stayed in a hotel half way there. We were such novice parents with poor Kelly. I remember sitting at a fish boil in Door County with her in the high chair and Barry and I staring in awe at her every movement.
We discussed every feeding and diaper change. We somehow survived that first year and so did Kelly. Thankfully we had each other to fumble through this new chapter in our lives, parenthood.
I was back in Door County this week to teach a class and spend some days writing. But just a few hours after arriving, Barry’s care center called to tell me to get back because Barry took a turn for the worse. I decided to spend the night because it was too late to drive back. I packed up at 4 a.m. and drove home in a late autumn fog so thick I could not see the exit signs. I could hardly see the lights of the cars ahead of me. I drove slowly, praying a deer wouldn’t jump out onto the road and thinking about Barry who may be dying right now. Would I get home in time? The fact that was so foggy was the perfect metaphor for our lives. Barry was trying to find his way home and, of course, so was I. Will he find his way today? Tomorrow? Next week?
We found our way as new parents so we had two more children. And we will find our way through this new phase of life and death. Barry will find his way, of that I am certain. I, too, will find my way through this thick fog of grief even though I know there will be times I am so lost that I won’t know which way is up. But sometimes being lost can be a good thing. You may end up somewhere awesome that you least suspected.
The fog finally lifted with just an hour left of my drive. I went right to see Barry who is certainly dying but holding on for now. Together, just like in parenting, we will figure out this dying thing. Although it’s just not as fun as having a new baby.