a lonely moment

“I think if Calvin was normal I wouldn’t worry about not having any bars,” I said to Michael as I glanced down at my cheap-ass 90’s Nokia TracFone. We were sitting atop Morse Mountain’s massive granite shelf looking down through the pines to the salt marsh below. Off in the distance open ocean met with sky in a parity of blues. I could feel gravity sinking me into the hunk of stone that cascaded down beneath my feet into a valley of trees, some felled, brittle and ashen, others like hundreds of outstretched arms.

Being far away from Calvin, not to mention being unreachable, sometimes unnerves me to the point of nearly feeling ill. I kind of get the jitters akin to drinking too much coffee, the caffeine (worry) gushing through my veins with such force I swear I can hear it in my head. And though it had been over seventy days since Calvin’s last obvious seizure (a record for him) the edge is always there, the cloud always casts its long, dark shadow on me, I still look over my shoulder and wait for what I can only believe—after seven years racked with seizures—is the inevitable.

I sat quietly on the bluff with my eyes closed while Michael snapped off several photos. I focused on the meaty click, click, click of his camera’s shutter amidst unbelievable calm. It was beautiful, sunny and as clear as the eye could see. Two hundred feet below us a river snaked through mud and reeds leading to a long, wide beach hugging a grey and white surf. I was with Michael, but I felt lonely. I missed Calvin and, though it’s probably never good to do, I imagined him there with us, scampering around on the dry, rough rock picking up pine cones, chasing chickadees and clowning for his dad’s camera. There was an aching pit in my heart—my gut—yearning for my boy to then come sit in my lap and together spy the osprey floating on thermals. But the scene was starkly incomplete: no pitter-patter or scuff of little sneakers, no sweet voice expressing surprise or glee, no child exploring independently then returning to us like a wave to sand. The moment felt as if someone dear had died, and I held the memory of Calvin close, missing him while at the same time knowing he can never fill that particular and hollow void in my life, even if he was right there beside me.

But luckily for me, Calvin’s pure spirit seeps like juices into many of the empty spaces that having a disabled child who cannot speak, cannot walk by himself, cannot communicate and suffers seizures leaves. His love finds the smallest crevasses filling them with the kind of color and light that no camera can quite capture, and no lonely moment can completely escape.

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