Grief is a strange and amazing teacher. The last two years have been filled with lessons that I never imagined were necessary to experience or learn yet one has followed another. It has been, at times, so difficult that I thought I would break. Grief is also strange because it is an intensely personal, yet public emotion. Others try to understand and support, but really no one can wrap the feelings up other than yourself. It is a journey that must be walked alone. One of the loneliest journeys I have experienced, a time when even those who care deeply have been kept away.

The Five Stages of Grief are real and tangible. I think about two years ago in the months following Javad's seizure, I was stunned and in survival mode. I was going through the motions, in denial that the outcome could be anything other that compete and full recovery. Six months in a medical coma began to shift my feelings. I would talk to a God that I wasn't sure I believed in, asking for healing of my sweet boy.  I would talk to my Grampa, hoping that he could work a deal with the Big Guy since I was pretty sure that they were having daily chats. Javad was my Grampa's "Big Boy." He always watched out for Javad, making sure that he had whatever he needed.

In time, fear began to come into my mind and things in my life began to fracture. I was spiraling into a deep depression. I was struggling to breathe, every single day. Months passed and I felt like I was drowning, each day feeling compressed. The daily goal was to make it to the end of each day without crying, keep my composure with my students, and focus on Javad and his healing. Small steps, and celebrations over what would seem to be incredibly minor events. I remember when he shook his head "no" for the first time. I was thrilled. The seizure had taken away nearly everything, including his life. He couldn't move and, in many way, had reverted back physically to when he was a baby. We were essentially starting over.

Now, two years later, things are different. Has Javad miraculously recovered? Well, no. He is making slow and steady movements in the direction of getting stronger. He can move his arms laterally and loves to smile and kiss. He is more bright eyed each day. I am getting stronger each day too. I have begun to put the pieces of my life together and look toward a future that has hope. This is what healing looks like. It is finally finding joy again. Believing in the good, looking toward a future that includes strength and acceptance. It is taking Javad where he is and continuing to move him along the path. For me, it is taking my life back, leaving behind the hurt and sorrow and finding the people and things that encourage me to move in the healing direction. It is about shaking off the sadness of the past, remembering that the journey was never promised to be a smooth one, just one where there would be variety.

I am almost to the place where I amd ready to create my future. Create a place where Javad continues to gain strength. Strength and healing go hand in hand, one leading to the other. Now that I am able to look back, I am grateful for so many things. I am grateful that Javad survived, I am grateful for my friends and family that stood by, I am grateful for the lessons learned.

It is like walking the Labyrinth. You take one step at a time along a narrow path where there are turns and twists that  sometime seem confusing, Looking ahead you can't always see the path, but faith and believing keeps you on the road. Over time, following the path, you begin to see the pattern of the curves and places where, at times, you are walking side by side with another. The times where you are alone don't seems so lonely when you see others nearby walking their own journey. At the end, there is a clearing, a place of clarity and peace.

I am still on the path. I believe that I will find the place of clarity and peace. I believe that it will happen. I am in the midst of the journey and instead of feeling afraid, I feel strong...I think this is what healing looks like!


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