The Water Is Always Moving

Karlee died on a Thursday. One month ago today.

After I got the news, I just stood in our kitchen and sobbed. Fed my kids lunch. Then got Adelaide ready for therapy. Therapy Thursday.

I teased Adelaide, “You need to be fantastic today. Mommy needs something fantastic.”

Adelaide was practicing her tall-kneeling to standing. And after what seemed like such a long struggle, she got herself up. And then she went back down.

adelaide july 23 therapy 3

I don’t know what I thought would happen. We’ve been working on the same skills week after week. Month after month.

But I always get this feeling on Thursdays that anything can happen. That Adelaide may just take off and walk. Or run. Or jump.

Other Thursdays, I am in a funk. Feeling like I don’t do enough. That Adelaide won’t make any progress, because I haven’t worked enough on the laundry list of skills. That we will be in this trough forever.

adelaide july 23 therapy

That day, when my heart was breaking. I just wanted something to cheer for. I longed for Adelaide to do the impossible.

It wouldn’t bring Karlee back. But maybe it would be a distraction from the pain.

adelaide july 23 therapy 2

Adelaide stood up with lots of prompting and assistance. She stayed up just long enough to grab some Cheerios. Then she lowered herself back down.

Then she stood from a sitting position. Just barely. She wasn’t in the mood to work. I didn’t blame her. I just wanted to be home in my pajamas. But she kept working until she got her little bottom off that bench.

Her therapist and I had cried together over Karlee. Now we were rejoicing together over Addie.

This special needs life is so much like an ocean. People spout aphorisms about how we can’t have the joy of riding waves unless the sea churns in the first place. I don’t think I buy into that. Not on the days when I’m missing a little girl I never held and holding a girl who wants to be up running.

But other days, I can see it. The highs and lows and ebbs and flows. The water always moving. And Adelaide always moving forward, and back, but forward again. And Karlee’s family is doing the same, as they navigate these new oceans without her.

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