Last Monday, I had been so excited to post here and announce my new Jules Project. I had great fundraising goals and a fantastic campaign to boot.
I was excited to start a new chapter in life, use my skills and my love for my city in our downtown core.
However, later that night, James’ father had a massive heart attack.
During the next six hours, he coded a total of five times. Both at 10:30pm and 4:00am, doctors had James and his step-siblings say their final words to their father, as CPR and other means were no longer a long-term effective way to keeping his heart beating. At that point, we were told that he would not last out the hour.
James and I returned home, as he didn’t want to stay to watch his father pass away.
Against the odds, his body began to respond to some medication. During the past week, there have been great moments of sorrow that have broken all our hearts and brought their own kind of trauma to the heart of James and his step-siblings.
Then, there have been baby steps of hope and encouragement, culminating yesterday, when we visited his father and were able to have a conversation with him. His health remains in critical condition. The amazing staff at the Kingston General Hospital have been working around the clock to keep him alive, taking over from the incredible care he received in the Belleville Hospital.
And in it all, we have had to come to terms, James, especially, with the fact that his Dad will most likely not be returning home.
We are hopeful that whatever comes next, God is in charge of both life and death, and has great compassion on all.
As you know, I love my child with every fibre of my being. Right now, I’m not working, so it’s great to have space to walk my son through this. There are so many emotions to navigate in it, and I am struck repeatedly by what an amazing young man my son is.
I have spent 15 years of my life investing in the hearts and lives of so many others as they’ve walked through grief and change and sorrow—what an incredible gift it is that I can have the time, now, to hold my son’s heart in this time, so close and so dearly.
As he said the other morning, it is a devastatingly difficult thing to have to grieve your Dad repeatedly, to be offered hope only to then have it taken away, and then returned. Things like this make holding on to hope seem almost dangerous. But beyond thata, we are so glad, so, so glad, for times like yesterday when hope shone brightly.
And while it’s a new kind of hope, a realistic hope that encompasses a new kind of life—it also is a comforting kind of hope.
This roller coaster is much to ride—even for an adult, let alone a young man. I am so glad to be here with him, and so honoured to be walking this through as part of his extended family. (James is related to some awesome people!)
Many have asked, “what can we do to help?”
And so here I am.
This post is not easy for me to write. I am, and have always been, very good at rolling up my sleeves and diving in when there’s a problem. I’ve often been told that I don’t ask for help when I need it. And that’s true. I prefer to give rather than to receive. I get so happily busy with restorations in others’ lives that I just plain forget that I need things, too.
Currently, I am living with James in his father’s house as we sort through things, pack up other things and try to do our best to move forward. In the next week or so, we will be do much moving and house keeping type things.
So many of our friends have reached out with love and compassion and support.
As you know, I also have my own house to carry, and without being able to step into my new project, my resources have been dwindling down.
Gas, parking, food and just keeping the houses going have become a bit much. Last night, on the way home from the hospital, our van began to conk out. There’s winter coming, and school starts next week, and with it all kinds of other expenses. James is in the athletics program, and will need cleats. Food… hokey smokes can a teenaged man eat!
And we need help. I need help.
If you feel that you’d like to support me in supporting James during the next month or so, could you please click that button up there and donate to that cause? I don’t intend to sit on my butt doing nothing—once we have life settled down a bit, I will be returning to work. I still plan to go forward, once life is settled here and the process of change is complete, with my downtown project.
James will continue to attend high school next week. His athletic options are tremendous and he’s a very committed and gifted student.
Life for all of us will look different.
And for now, my son needs me.
In that, I can’t afford to be proud or to try and figure it out for myself. I can’t afford to let my fear (some people are cruel gossips, even now) or my pride (uggghhh… asking for money sucks!) get in the way of what we need.
During the past week, grief and confusion and change have ravaged him, and yet he has still attended football training camp. He’s gone into games with his teammates, taking the Bulldogs all the way to Toronto for the Ontario finals. I’ve watched him fight through stress and tears, through sorrow and anger and incredible fear and loneliness.
We’ve begun the walk of “Firsts”. First championship game his father wasn’t at. First time he wasn’t able to show his Dad his picture in the paper. Next week it’ll be the first day of school he hasn’t been able to head off to without seeing both parents.
If my kid can face each day with courage and honour, even in the face of such times of change and sorrow, I can get up my guts to ask for help.
We need help. I need help in order to help my son.
Thank you in advance. I won’t be able to pay you back. I won’t maybe even know who donated.
My hope is that paypal offers an anonymous option when donating (I don’t know! it won’t let me test it out!) And I certainly won’t be hurt or judge the quality of our relationship if someone cannot or chooses not to help.
I just know that I need to at least ask.
For the kid. For my Momma’s heart.
Thanks so much.
I also want to thank the coaches of Moira’s football team—Duane Lambert and Dave Corbett. The two of you have carried my son through this past week in ways that I cannot. And James’ friends, those who have texted and tweeted, those who dragged him out to Friday’s party and who sat here at the house with him when nights were long. You are warriors and gentlemen and I am forever in your debt.