When night came my wife and I would try to get a little rest in a small corner of the CICU room. On a bench barely made for one, we somehow managed to share it and lay our weary heads together hoping to find energy to fight another day. 

This was what I saw each night from my pillow. The florescent lights from outside shone through the glass doors and paper-thin curtains like the punishing noon sun – as if to taunt my fatigue. On top of that, alarms were constantly sounding alerting nurses of the disaster that was unfolding in my son’s body. 

Unable to find rest, I would often sit in a chair beside Mitch and hold his tender hand while he slept. Quietly I wept. As I've noted in earlier posts, his heart was pounding so violently it seemed as though a grown man were in his chest trying to punch his way out. I thought to myself, “How could this be? Here is a little boy who has a mind to hurt no one – but is being mortally wounded by an invisible enemy. How could this be?” There are answers – but often, in our sorrows, they are not as forthcoming. 

It was hard to find rest at the hospital because everything reminded me of the violent battle that was taking place under the surface of my son’s skin. While doctors were doing all they could to keep death at bay just a little longer, everything reminded me Mitch wasn't on borrowed time, but at the end of time. Each night I would sit by my tender son and weep a little more than the night before. Each night I found myself more weary and very much in need of rest.

Finally, after having exhausted every medical avenue we knew at the time, we were home. No longer smothered by the constant reminders my son was dying … no more alarms, no more displays showing his schizophrenic heart rate … we were home and focusing on the other heart, the one that loved. At least at this moment I understood how ignorance could indeed be bliss. We did exactly as the cardiologist suggested as he choked back his own tears, “Take him home and love him with everything you've got.”

While travelling through the wilderness of grief I have discovered sleep a strange bedfellow. On days the gravity of grief is particularly heavy, sleep is a welcomed break from the sorrows of the world. Sometimes night can’t come fast enough – for I know I will find rest. 

Yet there is a place that terrifies me … it is the transition on either side of sleep. Most nights [or mornings] I consider myself lucky if I slip from one state to the other quickly. But if I spend any time at all in that place of transition, somewhere between sleep and consciousness, I experience the horror of losing my son as though it just happened. Those moments are terrifying beyond description. They break my already broken heart, all over again. I wish these moments didn't happen. But they do. And I cry out to my Father, that my weary soul might find rest. I don’t know if those streaks of panic and horror will ever stop. I pray they do.

But if not, I will bear that burden with a glad heart. For I know in my sorrows I am learning; and though my hands tremble and soul shakes, I will take these lessons patiently. 

One day I will see my deepest sorrows transformed into the sweetest glee.