"She is learning." That's what "elituq" means in the language of our Native Athabascan community, the most prolific group of Alaska's southcentral region.
It is almost beyond my comprehension that this blog has been a three year work in progress to share lives and emotions of one family trying to make sense of something that seems, on so many days, nonsensical. But as the Athabascans believed, life is indeed a journey designed to reflect learning, from the moment we are born until the moment our souls make the companionable walk in rejoin with the Great Spirit. Natives do not waste words; the very fact that "elituq" is in their vocabulary at all speaks volumes to its significance to a culture that holds spoken words as treasures, meant to be expressed only when absolutely necessary. Actions, in this case, do speak louder than words.
So, as 2010 sinks into an icy horizon and 2011 appears as a glimmer over the eastern mountains, I thought it appropriate to share my moments of "elituq". I believe, I truly do, that my story is for everyone who has ever stared through darkness so deep it hurts to look and yet managed to walk with confidence out the other side.
I learned the Wolf Den is not always a lonely place; in fact, its refuge can and does offer insights and opportunities far beyond its initial intent. Case in point? During our last family therapy session before the holiday break Therapist B was teasing Wolf about coming to CHYC and eating all the food prepared by the new (and fabulous) Chef. Wolf, without missing a beat, teased back "Oh no. You spend Christmas with your family, and I'll spend it with mine." That my son feels comfortable enough in his Den to express a feeling of family without his physical family present moved Yukon and I deeply. It felt good.
I discovered I cannot control Wolf's desires. Nor should I. The day Wolf was placed in a box of diagnoses and prognoses, I allowed myself to seal it as tight as possible, thus preventing his greatest wants from escaping. But he is he, and I am me. My desires are not his, and wrapping Wolf in duct tape will indeed protect his body, but not his spirit.
I learned to be shut up. To listen, acknowledge, and then release daily frustrations, challenges, and roadblocks that were, are, and will continue to be present as long as Wolf and I inhabit this same earth together. My kindergarten teacher taught me "Stop, Look, and Listen." A very wise and most trusted mentor taught me to "Be Still." 35 years span the two, but both are more relevant today than ever before.
I discovered I am not alone. Ever. If I wrote down every name of every person who has walked a single step of this journey with us, whether through reading this blog, listening to me prattle on via the radio waves, caring for our children, lighting a candle, saying a prayer, or laughing through tears; they would wrap our family in an endless tapestry of incredible, bright, and comforting compassion.
Thank you for urging me on as we enter this next phase of Wolf's life. Our lives. It matters.