I could hear his scream from the living room.
Sitting and talking with my husband, celebrating another successful day of doing all the things and keeping the kids out of the hospital, scrolling through my newsfeed and glancing now and then at the show on the television, I heard that sobbing scream come from behind his closed bedroom door at the top of the stairs.
I ran up the stairs and walked into his night-dark bedroom to see him sitting up and crying his little eyes out, screaming, “Mama, Mama, Mama,” between hiccupping breaths.
Scooping up his sturdy body and blanket, with him clinging tightly to my neck and burying his wet face in my shoulder, I walked to the rocker that is almost too small to hold the two of us now.
What’s wrong? What happened?
Mama, Mama, Mama.
Alright. Mama’s here.
That’s all I could say. That’s all I could do. Over and over, rocking and rocking, whispering in his ear as he clung to my neck – Mama’s here. Mama’s here. I have you now.
Earlier that day I had talked to a dear friend. She was suffering. The kind of suffering that compresses your lungs and punches your heart so that the emotional pain creates a physical effect. The kind that leaves you wondering what to do next and how to take that next breath.
What can I do? How can I help?
And we sat in silence. An empty phone line between us, her hurting and me hurting for her – there was nothing I could do.
Except, perhaps…Alright. I’m here.
I’m here if you want to talk or if you don’t. I’m here if you want a hug or if you don’t.
And that’s all I’ve got.
Because I can’t reach into my son’s head and take away that nightmare. And I can’t turn back time and stop things from happening. And I can’t make everything ok.
Because it’s not always going to be ok.
The hard, hurtful truth of it is, on this side of heaven, things don’t always turn out ok and so often they just really suck.
And as a mom…as a friend…I can’t fix it.
But I can be here.
I can rock a clinging child in the dark, humming Jesus Loves Me and rubbing a trembling back.
I can hit my knees after a silent phone call and ask for help from the only One that can give it.
I can look up and ask all of the why’s and how come’s, and be comforted by the One that tells me to give it all to Him. I can point to the God of strength and hope and peace that surpasses all understanding. To the burden bearer and the mercy giver. To the one that gives and the one that takes away. To the stronghold and the savior.
And even though I can’t make it ok, even though some things may never really be ok…
I can promise to be here.