Friday, February 12, 2016

China Farewell

I wrote this post on the eve of my son's departure to China, where he plans to live, with his wife, Jessica, for a very long time.  I hesitated to publish it in my immediate sentimental state because sometimes, when I write out my sadness, it is all sobbing and tears.  

Now, nearly two weeks removed, I feel I have distanced myself enough from the emotions so I can share my initial feelings of desperation without making you all feel nauseous.  

And just like that, they're gone.  I am trying to have an upbeat attitude about the whole thing and not be overly emotional.  But I can’t really talk about it either, because I am pretty fragile and the torrent of feeling may come rushing out at any moment.  So I have been keeping my mouth shut for fear of my heart flowing out and drenching everyone in my sappy mother-thought. 

But, I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to write it all down. That way, you can move out of the deluge if it is too much.  Or you can take it in bite-size pieces if you’d rather not drown in sentimentality. Anyway, I am feeling a loss that I can’t quite express and it reminds me somewhat of dropping my kids off at college, but in a more intense and final way.  I’m trying to pretend that he is still living his charmed life in Iowa City with his sweet bride Jessica, but in reality I know this isn’t true and I know that right now he is on a plane headed to a new land that is completely foreign to me.  I am trying my hardest to be excited about the opportunities that await them there—the adventure and exoticness of their new home—but I find myself thinking of myself and of my world and the changes that are happening and I am wondering if that is okay.  Parenting involves a lot of losing.  I am bad at losing. So here’s my attempt at poetically processing my sadness…

Heart Afloat

No one told me when I had my perfect baby that I would have to give him up

I thought he was mine to keep.

But I was wrong.
This boy I raised is not really mine;
I don’t get to keep him forever.
is only
for Heaven.

Things on this earth are only on loan.

I didn’t know it would be like this;
how my heart would resist releasing my boy;  
how much I would have to trust my Father to do His best
for my
precious one.

I was surprised at my utter helplessness

when I couldn’t stop the clock;
when time would not stand still.
I have never truly had control. 
just thought
I did.

It’s the illusion that creates the heartache,

but memories sustain the soul
that hungers for wholeness.
And hope for a sweet reunion
keeps it
in the storm.

Because surrendering your children so many times

is like taking little pieces of your heart and
setting them
to sail
on the sea.


  1. Oh BOY Tori - you did it again and it's beautiful - I'm keeping this for reference as each of my BOYS [ok MEN] moves farther on in their own world! Let's have lunch or something soon - HUGS:)

  2. Tori - When Ken, Jr moved to Hawaii I was sure we'd see him often - wrong. When he got to Tokyo we thought we had lost him forever (oh how I love Tokyo) but the available low rates ($3/min) made talking to him on the streets a modern lovely then came Hong Kong and finally Singapore! But technology marches on and weekly visits on Facetime solves most emotional voids. Getting a hug costs lots of time and money but Scotty will eventually beam us over and loss will evaporate!