There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. – Washington Irving
Monday morning, we arrived to UCLA at 5:30 AM. Ryan was scheduled to go into a surgical procedure and had to be NPO (nothing by mouth). He was surprisingly happy to be awake, even though it was too early and he was hungry. He was preoccupied with a red wagon that filled the hallway in the preoperative unit. My attention was drawn to a little boy, maybe a year old. He had big, beautiful brown eyes and was also preparing to go into surgery. It was the look on his mama’s face that moved me to tears. The mixture of love and angst as her baby was taken from her arms and rolled down the hallway. Her pain felt so familiar, a reminder of my own. And then it was my turn to let go of Ryan.
A few hours later, Ryan returned drowsy from anesthesia. He moved into his temporary home – room 3525. As I was walking onto the transplant floor, a young teenage girl was being wheeled down the hallway. Her eyes were tired. Her body still weak, but she was heading home. There was a sense of relief and elation within her family as they carried bags of accumulated belongings towards the elevator. Their joy nearly undid me, in the best possible way.
Tuesday evening, Titus and I were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner that was being served to families of kids with cancer or receiving transplants. I walked into a room filled with the aroma of home and thanksgiving. There was turkey, mashed potatoes, and the works. As a young boy placed green beans on my plate, tears filled my eyes once more. My tears were not from a place of `sadness that we will be in the hospital on thanksgiving. Those may come on Thursday. No, these tears were simply a response to the kindness.
I imagine these tears to be prayers for the words I cannot find to describe all that fills my heart. They feel like a kind of offering. I trust they are seen and heard.