This week is twisty. At any moment, there seems to be another soul-sucking revelation. First, it was Presley, my 15-year old Basset who we are keeping comfortable as she approaches her final days. And while we contend with that, our vet is now testing our other Basset, Daisy for cancer. And if that weren’t enough to absorb, my spouse’s uncle, passed away. He was the patriarch for the family. A larger than life entity that made such an imprint on everyone he encountered, that the loss is deep for us and the community.
With all the heaviness that our family is experiencing, I am desperately searching for some lightness. Something good. Bailey stayed after work yesterday to help the culinary club feed the football team. Around 5 p.m., my phone rang and my caller ID revealed it was him. When he calls, I do get a bit alarmed, since he normally will text me. Because he knows me so well, when I answered, the first thing he says is, “Hi, Mom. Everything is fine.” With a sigh of relief, I inquire about the reason for his call since it is right before the players are to show up to eat their dinner.
Bailey: “Mom, I have great news. I am going to be a judge for a burger cook-off.”
Mom: “Wow! That’s exciting. I’m so proud of you.”
Bailey: “Thanks. It is next week. I will find out the day.” He was literally radiating joy through the phone. It was palpable and eased my hurting heart.
Next week is Pride Week at the school that he works for, and they do lots of special activities to get the student body excited for their game against a rival football team. I love that they include him. I adore that he has a community of people who claim him as one their own. I can easily dwell in all of the sadness that this week has brought, but as I have said a lot in the last few days, there are pockets. Pockets of happiness. Pockets of blessings. Like an oxygen mask, I hold them close. Breathe them in as they fortify me. It is a reminder that while grief is my companion, there is always room for happiness and gratitude. Bailey serves as my compass.