When healing takes time

There is a paper chain that hangs in Ryan’s room which is growing by one link everyday. As of today, it has been 50 days since Ryan entered the hospital doors on an early Monday morning. The sun had yet to rise when we arrived in Westwood with our little boy, and the words resonating within my soul were these: let the healing begin.

It has been 40 paper chain links since Sharon donated her bone marrow and Ryan received his transplant. Thirty links since the hard letters of VOD appeared, followed by the equally hard letters of ICU. Twenty eight chains ago, when almost everything felt dark and uncertain,  I wrote these words: Don’t get ahead of God. Stay present. While most links only have a day number penned on them, there are a few pieces of paper that represent my prayers from days where I had very few words to speak. Phrases like these appear:  Please don’t let him bleed. Let his kidneys work again. Small steps forward.

Colored pieces of construction paper represent days of deep darkness but also moments filled with utter delight. Fifty links marked by mourning and dancing with no end date yet in sight. And another brother still to follow…

Fifty days in, I am incredibly grateful for another day of life, another day to wait and pray. I am in awe of  the joy and since of wonder that seems to be growing within Ryan. His words are still few, but he keeps saying: “wow.” I want more wonder overflowing from me. While on many levels I am tired from the journey, I don’t want to miss the healing we have waited for.


For now, let us say
I had to come by
a different star
than the one
I first followed,
had to navigate by
another dream
than the one
I loved the most.

But I tell you
that even here,
the hope

that each star belongs
to a light
more ancient still,

and each dream
part of the way
that lies beneath
this way,

and each day
drawing us closer
to the day
when every path
will converge

and we will see the map
our dreaming made,
luminous in every line
that finally led us

—Jan Richardson

2 thoughts on “When healing takes time

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