Sonnet 29

My favorite Shakespeare sonnet begins, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes/I all alone beweep my outcaste state/And trouble deaf Heaven with my bootless cries/And look upon myself, and curse my fate.”

I started having one of those afternoons, after the caffeine wore off and the work day wore on.  I got home, took out the trash, and checked Alex’s notebook for homework assignments and saw a note from his teacher saying Willie (in another class) had passed away over the weekend.  I know a Willie in another class; his mother Debbie babysat Alex for almost 2 years, and Willie’s brother Charlie was good friends with Ryan until the boys went to different middle schools.  I still think of them often.  I went to get Alex from school a month or so ago, and I ran into Willie and one of his teacher’s in the hallway.  I couldn’t believe how much he’d grown since the last time I saw him.  (I wish there was a rule that boys aren’t allowed to grow mustaches until they move out of their parents’ houses, so that until then, their mothers don’t have to accept that their baby isn’t a baby anymore.) 

The Willie I knew was born with severe cerebral palsy and while everyone knew he’d never have the same quality of life as a “normal” child, his parents did the best they could to ensure that he was happy, safe, and as healthy as possible.  He required 24/7 care but as the saying goes, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.  My mom once told me she was proud of me for getting through all Ryan’s medical issues when he was younger, to which I replied, “I didn’t know there was an option.”  It’s just what you do for your child.  God put this baby in your hands and said, “Here.  Take good care of him and love him with all you’ve got,” and no matter what situation the baby is in, you do everything you can.  At least, the people with half a brain do that.  There are others that I shudder to think about.

I emailed Alex’s teacher and yes, the Willie that passed away is the Willie we knew.  It was sudden and unexpected, and I’m heartbroken for his family.  Practically speaking, I’d like to believe that this makes things easier for them; no more constant care, no more rearranging their lives for Willie’s sake.  He’s in a good place now; he’s safe and he’s happy and he’s fully abled in a way he wasn’t when he was here on earth with us.  I bet wherever he is, he’s smiling, missing his parents like crazy, wishing for a hug from his mom or a laugh from his dad or a kind word from his little brother.

I can’t fathom what his mom and dad and brother Charlie are going through right now.  I don’t even want to try to imagine myself in their shoes.  I only pray that they’ll find peace again, soon, and they know that the love they shared with Willie over his few years has gone on with him, and he’s on the other side now, shining through it. 

God bless you, Willie.  I’m so happy you were here.  We’ll miss you.

Quotable Quotes

I don’t usually have coffee first thing in the morning, but we were out of instant (John has instant at home in the mornings, I have green tea) so John, being the sweetheart that he is, made a pot of real coffee.  I don’t know how I ever got through Mondays before I discovered coffee.  (Mind you, my coffee is jacked up; I pour the cup, then add GFIC mocha flavoring, which is meant to be enjoyed as coffee on its own; fill a cup with hot water, add mocha, stir and enjoy.  I’m stirring coffee mix into actual, full-caf coffee.  Yes, I was bouncing off the walls this morning, why do you ask?)

Anyway, I think between the coffee, the coming new moon, and redisccovering some great music on iTunes, I must’ve been a little hyper-emotional this morning.  Seinfeld last week replayed the episode with Elaine’s father, the one where George can’t get “Master of the House” from Les Miserables out of his head.  This inspired me to pull out the soundtrack.  The real version of “Master of the House” didn’t quite hit John the same way it hit George, but in looking over the songs, I remembered how intense the finale was, so I downloaded it to my iPod to listen to it again.  And then I forgot about it. 

This morning, fully dosed up on high-test caffeine, I put the iPod on in the car and the Les Mis finale came on.  The crescendo usually gives me chills anyway, but before that, when Jean ValJean is dying and he sings, “Does Cozette forbid me now to die?  I’ll obey; I will try”, it tapped on a nerve because once I’m finished reading through “Release Point” one last time, I’m moving on to complete “Worlds Apart”.  (My Book in a Week project; 55K words are down already but it needs to be fleshed out more.)  Luke is dead when the story begins, but at the end, he has to let Kate go on to live her life. 

That line from Les Mis that I mentioned above wasn’t what hit me, though.  I was driving in to work with tears streaming down my face when I heard this:

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” 

Maybe it loses its impact without the harmony or the angelic voices singing as Jean ValJean fades into the afterlife, but lines like that are why I will keep writing as long as I possibly can.

Or until the Golden Heart calls on Wednesday, when as Brooks & Dunn sang, “My phone ain’t ringing; is it you ain’t calling?”  But if (WHEN!) Robin and Laura get a call, I’ll be happier for them than I might’ve been for me.  Promise!