Since my youngest daughter has now entered kindergarten, I find myself mostly unemployed (I am aptly including my 11 years as a stay at home parent full time employment) and looking to fill those empty hours not taken by housework and shopping. My choice of fulfillment has been substitute teaching.
I got my license and walked into a classroom completely unprepared, aside from any tools I've tucked into my parental toolbox. I tell you, a teacher's toolbox is HUGE and full of a lot of thingamajigs!
So the other day I was at a tenth grade science class. Subs are often left movies to show the kids and this day the movie was Lorenzo's Oil. I had seen the movie before, but not since losing my children. So, while I knew it was a powerful movie about two parents not accepting the medical community's death sentence for their son (their only child), and their journey into medical research to eventually discover a successful treatment -- I had forgotten about the powerful struggle to keep their son alive. Literally. They were sucking his saliva because he had lost pretty much all human function. The movie gets to a scene where they are in the hospital, the mother is holding Lorenzo in her arms (he is about six years old at this point) and his suffering is almost inhumane, as is hers. He is choking and gasping and appears to be almost seizing and she is holding him across her lap telling him that if it is too difficult he can use his wings to fly to Jesus.
So here I am sitting in front of a good sized group of sophomores, tears welling in my eyes, and my chest starts to heave from the heavy emotions hitting me like a brick wall. All I could think is that I hoped no one noticed the tears streaming down my cheeks and that if they did, that not one of those students ever had to say those words to their children. I have said those words, twice I think, and not to a child so outwardly suffering. In those moments, Lorenzo was my sons, and I was his mother.
This broadsided me so hard, I found myself out of sorts after the movie - a bit snippy, and just shaken to put it bluntly. It stuck with me all day, in the back of my throat, threatening to steal my breath and knock me flat on my back. I lost Wyatt fourteen and a half years ago and that movie brought me directly into my hospital room, my small newborn son in my hands, dying ever so slowly.
Oddly enough, I am reading about anxiety, processing, grief, and a multitude of other self-care items and today's tidbit is to take in the bad and give away the good. To inhale the pain - my own and that of people all over the world who feel the same pain that I do - and embrace it. To live it and exhale the comfortable. It is about embracing the bad and stopping the chase of what we think is good. It is about being uncomfortable. Not unlike yoga, an uncomfortable stretching of our muscles and body to expand what we can do and build strength.
I inhaled a lot of bad that day. It hurt so bad I exhaled and tried to blow it away. Writing this has brought it back and I'm going to go embrace it and see what happens. Wish me luck.