Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Instincts

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Through the gridded pattern of the gymnasium window I spot him cuddled in a therapist’s arms, far across the room from the other children who chatter, laugh, and climb with maddening ease despite their various disabilities. His little body slumps limply, and he is alarmingly still and doll-like, cheeks flushed and eyelids heavy, threatening to shut out the world entirely. Adrenaline pours into me, and I throw open the heavy door to get to him. Panic fills my chest, and I scoop him up to examine what is there in the lacy, white stars that fill his blue eyes. I see one corner of his mouth pull upward in a tiny gesture of friendly recognition -- one of his famous Harrison Ford-like half-smiles. After this small effort, his face nestles against my neck, and he is still again.

How can a heart possibly break when it is already broken? I feel the weight of that horrible brick in my brain, heavy as ever, unaffected by six months of this. Panic fills my chest like chlorinated pool water, stinging and harsh, and I begin to drown in it. I feel myself afflicted with the familiar, awful, almost unbearable ache I know so well and fight stupid, hot, useless tears in front of these people are under the impression I am strong and brave.

I am absolutely powerless…

to make it right.
to make it fair.
to make it easy.

There is no permanent remedy for this pain. There is no relief in sight.

It is not right.
It is not fair.
It is not easy.

It will never be.

Instinct steers me firmly, and I open my heart to the voice I have learned to hear in the darkness. In a matter of seconds, I am infused with confidence and the knowledge that although I have no answers, I have no doubts. The simple truth is that there is only one path for me to take, and there is no turning back. There is nothing for me to do but love my child fiercely. That is what I am meant to do and what was meant to be. It is the only thing that feels right, fair, or easy anymore. It is what we both need more than anything.

The mystery of my child is simply not for me to understand, at least for now.

I bundle him up and carry him outside into the bitter wind, holding him close.


Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...



7:02 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

My chest tightens just reading this tonight, Nance. I really have no other words... it just all breaks my heart.

Love you, K

7:22 PM  
Blogger Kim, Grandma to Ava,ws said...

Oh, Nancy, I feel your pain. It just doesn't get easier, does it? What is obvious is that Erik loves and trusts you. I know it is a cheesy platitude, but love really does conquer all! Or at least makes life more bearable. Hang in there, girl.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Laying in bed so sick and now crying...not sue why, guess that is why I love you so.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Aspen said...

Now I just can't stop the tears from falling. Your words are so beautiful even describing such a horrible scene. It made me feel like I was the one scooping him up and snuggling him close. So many times I have done that with Daven. I love you Nancy, and you are a strong woman! An example to every mom!

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read "Instincts"....and I just cried like a baby because and can understand you so well, and it's amazing how another person can feel exactly the same sad feeling than daugther is 20 months old ,and we found out about her diagnosis when she was 3 months old...and it's SOO HARD!!!! and I try to be be strong..but so many times I break down.

My email adress is, I'll love to contact you.

Love love and be strong for him


9:34 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

It's not right, fair, easy...what hard words.... you always make me cry...
I look up to you, you are a very strong mom!!!

Love, Kati

3:46 AM  

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