In yesterday’s post, guest blogger Scott Newport described his practice of “scooping up things” during a recent trip to the Everglades. The practice began three years ago as a means of coping with his grief after his son Evan died. Today, Scott completes the story by sharing how the compassion of his living son, Noah, allowed him to scoop up a bit of joy.
Scooping Up Things, Part 2
From the Most Irritating No-See-Um
to the Greatness of the Full Moon
When I got home at about 11:00 that night, Noah was still up. “Hey Dad, did you miss me?”
“Of course son! When I get home from the presentation I have to give tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about my trip.” Saying good night, I gave him a hug and we both went up the stairs to bed. Even though I’m just a carpenter, on occasion I’m also a presenter for state-funded training seminars for parents and caregivers of chronically ill children. Because of Evan, I’m something of an expert there.
Early the next morning, my wife Penni came down the stairs and said, “Noah told me one his teachers from the middle school was going to call.”
Immediately I had a bad feeling. Maybe everything Noah has been through over the last few years—losing Evan—has finally taken its toll. Maybe he got angry at another kid. Maybe he pushed one of his buddies. Whispered fears raced through my head.
Penni continued, “She called yesterday.”
“Well? What did she say?”
“She said that there’s a needy family in the community that’s looking for a child’s bedroom dresser. Noah told her we have one.”
I Can’t Go in There
In less than a second I knew which dresser Noah had in mind. It was the one in the bedroom I hardly have the courage to walk into. I give myself permission to look though the French doors to the intensive care unit where Evan and all his medical equipment lived. I can’t go in there. It is still too overwhelming. Evan’s favorite blanket still lies in his crib—the crib where I found him dead and lifeless. Penni didn’t say it, but her blue eyes spilled out the love she has for both her boys. And as she walked away, I knew she loved me too. I just stood there and held back my tears. I still can’t even talk to my wife about Evan’s death.
Scooping Up Tears
Later, at the end of the all-day seminar, I got up to give my presentation. Wiping tears from my eyes, I told the story about Noah and how he is transitioning through his grief and his life as a young boy of thirteen. The whole room was in tears with me. I scooped up each tear-filled smile sent my way.
You see, the things I scoop up aren’t all minnows and moonbeams—sometimes they are profoundly painful. “I could never have given away Evan’s dresser,” I told the group of people sitting in front of me. “It would have been another loss for me. But because Noah was the one who decided it was okay to give away the dresser, I was okay with it. That sorta surprised me.”
Scooping Up Pride
On my three-hour drive home, I realized how proud I am of Noah. Like a brilliant, full moon, Noah’s spirit shines brightly. I believe I will gaze with wonder and appreciation at his life again and again and again. I’ll probably never give up my scooping up habit—but I bet that, even years from now, Noah’s gift will stand as one of my best finds ever.
Do You Need a Moment?
Do you need a moment to scoop up your own tears? Go ahead. Take your time. When you’re done, leave a comment about your thoughts. Think of them as more things for Scott to scoop up as he deals with the loss of his sweet son Evan and rejoices in life with Noah.