The fourth of July. I had big plans for you.
But like everything, life laughed. It had other plans for sure, ones that included a health pandemic.
But this day was important.
Last fourth of July, we were given the gift of Jacob being out of the hospital (it was fleeting only 2 days) and were able to see the fireworks as a family. I can still feel the BOOMS as we sat only 100 feet away from the Macy’s 4th of July firework barge in Brooklyn Heights. I remember the sky thundering. It sounded like the end of the world. BOOM. BOOM. I remember Benno recoiling from the sound, but myself leaning deeper into it. Relishing it.
I finally had found a sound that matched the beating of my heart. BOOM BOOM BOOM. And I held Jacob who had just finished his first round of induction chemo in my arms as the world sounded like it was on the brink of the end. It was oddly comforting having the world match my inner workings. BOOM BOOM. Yes. The world is ending. I hear ya.
And then the sky lit up in purple. I’m sure it was a case of perception bias, but at the time I swore that every other firework was purple, not red, not white, not blue, but purple.
A sea of purple.
Jacob’s favorite color.
And I had hope.
I’ve oddly carried that day with me. I have written about it on occasions. Not wanting to sound crazy I don’t tell exactly what that night meant, but it was this one night that allowed me to make it through the countless other dark, soundless nights (with the exception of the clock). I would picture the 4th of July sky, all lit up in purple. The sign for the universe that Jacob was going to be okay. I kept reading about “love and light.” Maybe this is what that means? God literally sent purple light to tell me something. Telling me that love will win.
And I clung to that for a year. That. I even kept collecting purple things. A purple marker, went with me everywhere. Needing to see that color to remember. The universe spoke. It will all be okay.
So here it was, the big day. I had plans (of course) to thank the universe. To pay it forward. It was going to be a fundraiser. We were going to light up the sky in purple. We were going to cure Neuroblastoma so no other family would go through this pain. We were going to even plant a flag. A flag declaring the date of a cure. We were going to set a goal. We were declaring victory before we had it. Setting intentions.
Instead, however, in this COVID world, we spent the 4th of July with the closest of friends and a few late-night sparklers. It was quiet. There were no large booms. There was no explosion of purple, trust me I was looking for it.
But I’m trying not to find meaning or maybe it is just another kind.
It was a different sign. A quieter one. One that begs to SLOW down rather than SPEED forward. One that says be kinder to myself. One that will attempt to accept this PTSD thing rather than continuing to fight it.
And I am going to SLOW down. I am going to stop trying to solve for a bit. Maybe be a bit more selfish. Maybe be a bit less about solving the world’s problems. Seems like an odd sign to get from the universe, but maybe the sign is to focus on my kids and husband and self for a bit.
So thank you Nantucket. We will be back.