Good-Bye Purple Tree
Today marked Liam’s final day at Purple Tree Child Care. I remember vividly the first day he attended the pre-school; how little he was and how vulnerable we both felt. I still feel the ghostly remnants of the tears, the apprehension, the worry, and the loneliness of that day. It was a difficult and emotional moment of letting go for both myself and my little son. But, I knew it was important that he have new experiences without me. I knew he needed me to let go, even if just a little. And in the course of his pre-school year he truly blossomed. He thrived. He learned. He made friends and little kinships. He laughed. He explored. He flourished. My heart burst with pride with each new skill/story/song learned from school that he excitedly and sometimes bashfully shared with me; and it was heartwarming to know that he was experiencing these new things in a safe, nurturing environment that allowed him to sparkle and shine or to be quiet and shy. There were no passing judgements made – just continuous encouragement, praise, and guidance.
I am sad to know his year at Purple Tree has drawn to a close. This step – this leap of faith – was hard for me to make. I clung to my son as my support-line throughout my cancer journey. I kept him close. I was reluctant to be away from him for too long. I was scared to let go because of the vulnerability I felt. I needed him as my distraction from the disease; and I was terrified to miss a single moment with him because I had tasted my own mortality. I needed him so that I could feel a sense of happiness. I needed him so that I could feel safe. And that was not fair to him. I had to let go. And though it was difficult for me, his teachers Alesha and Alisha demonstrated a steadfast dedication to my son, and by doing so not only nurtured Liam but also me. Their commitment, thoughtfulness, guidance, and patience allowed me to trust in letting go. It allowed me to feel okay about leaving my son in their care and tend to my own fragile needs. I took the time given to me to rest, to cleanse, to blog, to read, to walk, to journal, to think … whatever it was I needed to do to help myself along on this cancer journey and traverse my own path of healing, reconciliation, and acceptance, Alesha and Alisha unknowingly helped me through. Their tender hearts blanketed my son and myself. I am so grateful to them. I am grateful they were Liam’s first teachers and that it was they who were present during a vulnerable time in our lives. Their compassion and empathy was steadfast and pure. It was always felt amongst us. They will always be missed.
Letting go and saying good-bye never gets easier. In fact I believe it becomes more difficult as you age. You realize at a deeper level of consciousness how fleeting time is and how permanent some good-byes can be. You acutely grasp how these moments in time can never be recaptured but for only in our hearts and in our memories. You are cognizant of the fact that a little piece of your soul is now removed, and in its place is something new. A new feeling. A new mindfulness. A new reflection. The vacancy you feel from the good-bye is physically felt yet emotionally nurtured through remembrance. I will smile remembering Liam’s face when I would pick him up from pre-school – the glow in his cheeks, the sparkle in his eyes, the excitement rippling through his little body, his cry of “Mommy!”, and the enveloping embrace we would share. I will remember his enthusiasm in the Christmas concert and how eager he was to perform. I will remember his tears at drop-off in the early months, and then his confidence [in the latter] as he would take my hand and walk with me to the top of the classroom stairs, hug me quickly, and say “Go Mommy. Go. Wait in the car.” I will remember Alesha’s laughter, her bright smiles, and her enveloping warmth; and I will remember Alisha’s gentle, cheerful ways. I have so many beautiful moments, feelings, recollections, and flashbacks racing through my mind and they are rampant and they are bittersweet. Purple Tree was a special moment in time, and I have to wonder what Liam will remember of his days there.
Today, like every other, as we drove away from the school we shouted out, but for this one last time, “Good-bye Purple Tree!”. Yes. Good-bye Purple Tree, and thank you.
Good-Bye Purple Tree. Published By: Crystal Joy Hall