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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Accepting the helping hand



There was not a trace of snow to be found, as I scanned the courtyard.  No matter, I thought to myself, as we watched a sleigh with two reindeer attached pull up in front of us. Eagerly, my two younger sons Josiah and Cody waited at my sides in their wheelchairs. Amazingly running along the sides of the sleds runners, were wheels.  I smiled as I explained to Josiah, that this was exactly how Santa's sleigh was made, so that he could visit warmer climates, that did not get snow.   Excited we approached the sled that harnessed Donner and Blitzen.  Cheerfully we were informed that the reindeer were a bit anxious themselves and on a ride earlier, had attempted to speed up there pace.  Warning us we could feel a bit of a jerk, should they decide to gain speed again.  However the men that guided the  reindeer would do their best to keep the sled grounded and not let us take off in flight.  Josiah's beautiful brown eyes widened as he smiled-  the mere thought of this undoubtedly sounded utterly fascinating. Naturally flying through the air would be in the reindeers blood-we joked together. 

I sized the sleigh up along with my brother in-law Bill,  who had  graciously agreed to accompany us today, along with his wife, my sister Marie. We are so blessed, with both of them always lovingly and eager to assist us, whenever possible. Lifting my sons high enough to place them inside the sleigh was one posing problem, but also with the lack of head support and seat belts or a harness I was faced with keeping Josiah’s neck supported during the ride.   As if on que, and not letting us fret for a moment, two men approached us offering to help load both of my sons.  Within seconds it seemed we were all comfortably seated covered with a blanket, my arm safely supporting Josiah’s neck and we were off on our journey.

Our ride through the court yard was wonderful, and it was the first time my sons had ever been in a real open winter sleigh. Having reindeer pull us made our experience even more festive, with the Holiday spirit seeming to be all around us.  It did not matter to us nor did it seem to the reindeer that there was no snow to be found anywhere. Holding Josiah in my arms during the ride I had decided it was a most pleasant joyous way to share with my sons the beginning of the 25 days of Christmas.

Christmas along with most Holidays as well as Birthdays often leaves me filled with mix emotions.  I have learnt to accept that Chronic Sorrow will always be part of my world.  As I rejoice for the present love and joy that surrounds us during these special times I am also privately consumed with the Sorrow that accompanies watching my two younger sons slowly lose in their battle with Duchenne Muscualr Dystrophy.
 
However it is in this magical season, where joyous events can occur and often brings out the warmest welcomes, filling us with the wonder and awe of the season.  At the end of the ride as I lifted my Josiah in my arms-(while still in the  open sleigh)- to lower  him into the waiting arms of a  kind stranger, I was filled  instantly  with the magic of the season.  As I stood holding Josiah, like Mary may have held Jesus on that first night, and welcomed strangers that came to adore her infant son,  I could not help but feel joy, that this was all made special for my sons.  This stranger carefully listened to my instructions, and with waiting arms embraced my youngest.  I watched as he carefully placed Josiah back in his waiting wheelchair.  Then swiftly, he turned around to offer me his hand to help assist me in getting down.

It is not always easy for me to ask for help on this arduous journey with my sons.  However, I try to not let my pride prevent me from accepting a helping hand when ever offered.  For I know, often I am giving back by allowing others to experience the joy in helping and giving of themselves.  In this Christmas season as I reflect on the good Blessings we have received by the generosity of so many, I give thanks to our Lord for allowing me to see and feel Joy even in Sorrow.


In my quest to give my sons the most of this world, my new acceptance of Duchenne and my courage to feel past my  Chronic Sorrow   has helped many new doors open for us.  We are so blessed and I am thankful to so many wonderful people and organizations that have played a significant role in helping me to achieve my goal of creating a world beyond the barriers for my sons.  

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