Thursday, April 21, 2011

the story of april 20

once upon a time there was a girl who fell in love.

she married her knight in shining armor, and soon they decided to start a family. when they learned she was pregnant, they were ecstatic. four months later they learned she was carrying twins, and their excitement doubled, if you can imagine that.

it wasn't long until they were told that their identical boy twins needed to be monitored due to a size discrepancy, and within two months they were asked to come in for testing. when the doctor gently placed his hand on her knee, fuzzy images on the ultrasound behind them, she knew that the smaller twin had died.

the young girl's heart broke when this was confirmed, and that heart was hastily pulled together when her surviving son was born, prematurely, two days later, april 20, 1991. tape and bandages and some string wrapped round and round, holding that heart's pieces from falling apart.

it was a gray and rainy day, and the girl spent most of it sleeping and trembling in her dreary hospital room while her new son slept on a warming table in the newborn ICU. it wasn't until the next day that she learned her precious son had suffered a severe cerebral hemorrhage before birth. as he grew it became clear he would never able to completely fulfill the three wishes she had for him: that he would be able to discover the joy of using his intellect, that he would be able to glory in the beautiful world around him, and that he would be able to give and receive love.

he lived a beautiful life anyway.

and in january of 2010, he left the girl and rejoined his twin.

now the girl rides her bike on april 20, she rides her favorite ride, up emigration canyon and down to the reservoir, around the paint-chipped yellow gate, and up toward big mountain as far as she can before the snow stops her progress. at that point she stops, she talks with her son for a few minutes, and she spreads a few of his ashes beside her favorite road.

yesterday she rode in the rain and the sleet, and paused a mile and a third past the gate. she talked to her son, she smiled, she shook the rain from her helmet and she wrapped her arms and tucked her gloved hands into her armpits.

she likes to think her son watches her ride, every time she rides, and she's certain he joins her at times. yesterday he was the tailwind pushing her home, back home into her new life without him, but always with him.

happy birthday jake, happy day, little joe.


Jeanne said...

wow. that moved me. i love "the girl". she's very special.

susan said...

the girl has some pretty incredible friends, too. thanks for being a special one of them.