I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. And I did OK. Well, sort of…but as our son wheeled himself across the stage to accept his graduation certificate, I could feel them fill my eyes. Then when he received the Spirit Award for Courage, the tears started to spill over. Then his Valedictorian speech…well, we were all a wet mess by then!
On Wednesday evening, over 100 young adults received their Dogwood Certificate at the Parkland’s Graduation Ceremony at UVic. The room was filled with parents, siblings, friends and supporters, all working hard to hold back the tears. I was in good company.
Thirteen years ago when our son was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, the thought of him graduating seemed incomprehensible….I simply couldn’t contemplate it. I was awash in grief and fear, wondering what the future held. Then as we saw our son’s abilities diminish year after year, and as we struggled to create yet another ‘new normal’ every year, we faltered in our resolve. Who wouldn’t? But the journey continued, despite our silent protests and prayers.
But Wednesday night, when we watched Tristan cross that stage wearing the widest grin on his face, I said a silent thank you to above, for allowing us to be right there, right then, in that moment. And a sense of peace flowed through me: this is why we’re here, to enjoy the now. It was enough.
Our family has learned that it is a choice of where we put our attention: on future fears, the ‘what if’s, and the ‘why’s. Useless, really. There are no answers. And do we need them anyway? Searching and wondering is wasting precious time. So we learned to accept what is, and to live in the light of the moment. It has been my greatest lesson, and the greatest gift of all. No resistance. Let go. Accept what is…and move on.
None of us knows that the future holds, but a select few of us, our family included, has the inside scoop on things, and we live it every day. We no longer live in fear or grief, because it is simply a waste of time. Time waits for no one. So stop looking for answers. Stop pointing to the negative. Start now, today, and look to the light. Because darkness is not its own entity, it is merely the absence of light. It cannot co-exist when the light is on. So make that choice: turn on your own light in your own lives.
This, and other simple things, is what our son has taught us.
Love Karen, Neil and Tristan