Finding Your Wings

Choosing to go forward in the face of uncertainty is the willful, distinctly human act of optimism we perform each day. We may know too much about the unpredictable ways of the world to expect a happy ending, but we can’t help but hope for one all the same. Dr. Fred Epstein

Everything that came before prepared you for this.
From the smallest task mastered to all the chances taken
to every dream pursued.
Who knew investigating car models, mutual funds or estate attorneys
would inspire the confidence to search for more clinical trials or a better treatment protocol.
Or that cold-calling prospective clients would make you fearless about contacting
pediatric neuro-oncologists from all over the world to ask for help, ideas, advice.

Raised by parents unafraid of asking for second or third opinions,
they remain undeterred, even when the first-consulted, highly regarded surgeon
threatened to refuse to remove your father’s colon cancer if they spoke to anyone else.
Your voice was waiting for you to raise it.

Born optimistic, you believed you could bend the arc towards cure,
even when the odds were stacked against your beautiful boy.
You looked for the fire burning inside the sunrise,
the pearl inside the oyster,
the hidden wings of an angel,
refusing to accept there were no more options left to try.

During the eight years he fought to live,
you took your lead from him,
focused relentlessly on what was left instead of what was lost.
He knew where to find the magic on an ordinary day,
how to see the beauty of the moon’s reflection in the dark blue sea.
Laughter was holy, and the people he loved mattered more than anything.

Even now, on the days when grief at his absence overwhelms,
you would never, ever trade the opportunity to be his mom,
willing to do it all over again, even if you knew the outcome beforehand.
You see his smile, hear his laughter,
feel his weight in your lap or the tight squeeze of his arms around you,
and know he left you with too many blessings to count.

You promised him you’d keep living, long after he slipped away.
Partly because of all that he taught you and
partly because he was robbed of the opportunity to grow old.
You gather strength from him,
feeling his love all around you.
And know as you fly, he can see you still.

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