Today is the day. The anniversary of Riley’s bleed.
Twenty-one years ago today (in about an hour from now, as I write this) Riley’slife was forever changed. Mine was, too.
On that day, my perfect baby boy suffered massive brain damage, which forever changed his life, along with that of our entire family. On that day, my two precious little girls couldn’t possibly understand what lay in store for Riley – or them. Our youngest, who was a couple of years away from conception, would only learn many years later that what happened today would affect his life, too.
Riley has struggled with absolutely everything that has come his way. Well, everything but love. The list of things that he cannot do gets longer every day. But the love that he shows me and his family never wanes. In fact, it grows stronger every day.
My other children are amazing young people. They are talented in so many ways. They have racked up many, many honors and awards. They continue to reach for the stars.
All while Riley is absolutely earth-bound. But yet, he soars above them in his own way. He doesn’t know physics or chemistry or biology or psychology or choral music or cyber-security or all those things his siblings are involved in.
But Riley excels above all of us in unconditional love. He loves exuberantly every day. He laughs – and loves. He plays UNO with whoever will play with him – and he loves. He plays with his 10,000 Slinkys – and he loves. He tells silly jokes – and loves.
John Lennon may have penned the words “All you need is love”, but Riley lives them out everyday. If I was more like Riley, I’d be a better person in every way.
The Bible tells us that we were made in God’s image. And then we messed it up.
But Riley never messed it up. When I look at him, I see total innocence, complete trust and unconditional love. Just like God intended for all of us to be.
So, in spite of the difficulty, in spite of the pain, in spite of the missed milestones, in spite of the lost dreams, I’m thankful. Today may be a sad day, but it’s the anniversary of the day that God touched our family for the better.
That may not make earthly sense, but then none of us were made for this earth. There’s a better world ahead. It may all make sense there, but then again, it probably will pale in comparison with the Glory of my Lord.
Thank you, God, for Riley and all the ways that You have used him to bless me and my family. Help us all to keep trusting You with every step.