Monday, February 24, 2014

Can we be free?

He never talked. He never was free of us, his family, and he was never free to explore the world around him. He didn't gain that exhilaration of the soaring spirit. He was trapped in a body that had forgotten to open the front door for speech, and no matter how hard he tried, he never could escape his confinement.

He did learn to walk, and when he did he walked around the dining table and he laughed, and he laughed, and he laughed. So he had that experience that took him from a crawling creature on four legs to a boy on two and elevated him to the height of just under five feet. But he never went beyond that. He never dressed himself. He never was able to say what foods he liked. He couldn't choose his favorite colors. Alright, we know all that, and we lived watching the sadness in his eyes and the longing for more. He has lived that life. He is done with that, and he achieved as much as he could.

Mind you he watched our children's soccer games from the sidelines. He did not run into the field and disrupt the games. We carried on although one of the team's parents once said to me: "We could be friends if you didn't have that child." 

Now to us, us people who are left behind, and so many years later what is it with us? We his parent and the surrounding family are we free from this life that included for 40 years the constant thought and worry and fear of the unknown and at the same time the hope of redemption some day? Can we truly say we are now free from the patterns that shaped our lives until now? Erik didn't even live with us for the greater part of the 40 years. So we should have had solace in the fact that there was governmental assistance. That was indeed a savior to our sanity. But it didn't free us. We are still, right now, trapped in the patterns that we adopted 43 years ago. We still think: What if. We still mull over the omissions and choices that would have improved that life.

Now we should be free. But now we are older and weaker and less resolved. The freedom for us to soar is no longer part of our aspirations. We are now just sitting there on weekends and watch English Premier League soccer games.