As a father to a disabled son, I am still learning to navigate the unpredictable emotions of grief and guilt that accompany this journey. Yesterday, we were at Disney World, a place of magic and wonder, where Harrison’s disability did not weigh on me. Perhaps it was the diverse families around us, or maybe it was simply because, at the age of two, he was engrossed in the joy of Bluey.
However, today at the beach, the emotions hit me like an anvil, overwhelming my heart. Watching him unable to run and play in the sand and water like other kids filled me with a deep longing for him to experience the simple joys of childhood.
As I observe other fathers and sons playing catch on the beach, I am reminded of the universal moments I wish to have with Harrison, even though I know our journey will be unique and special in its own way.
The weight of grief sometimes steals the joy from everyday moments, followed by a wave of guilt for feeling this way. It seems like an unending pattern, leaving me to question whether I could have prepared for these emotions.
My situation is further complicated by the fact that I had two children before marrying my wife and having Harrison. For her, he is the only child, and I carry the weight of guilt for not providing her with all the traditional mother-son moments and milestones. Instead, our lives revolve around therapies, worries, and uncertainties, creating our own path.
Guilt and grief do not follow a predictable schedule; they strike when least expected, hitting me hard when they do.
While memories remain untarnished, there are moments that come with an asterisk, where joy and sorrow intertwine inextricably.
Though challenging, I continue to embrace this emotional journey, cherishing every precious moment with Harrison, knowing that each day brings its own unique magic and love.