We call this a journey, because a journey is always quite an undertaking. And true to the nature of journeys, it never leads to known places already tread, or to casual experiences already had.
At the end of the journey we look back and marvel since had we known at the outset what was in store, surely we would have forsaken the task, with its onslaught of misfortune, the weathering of misery and the triumphs that elate. For some the journey continues and for others the time has come to say, ‘I have traveled as far as my feet can carry me and I will rest here by the side of the road, on this tree stump, while you carry on, with the memory of our travels to sustain you on the cold winter days’.
The precision and muster, the careless disregard for self in caring for a severely disabled child, unremitting, is a rarefied environment where few can tread. And some lead us there with their forbearance and sacrifice, their need to see it through to the end, whenever it may come.
I know such parents, those that I look up to in order to find strength when I have wrenched the last drop from the stone of my own belief. And I see only triumph and not one iota of failure, when, as now, a child who has benefited from the utmost caring, passes through a field of poppies to move on from this life and leave his siblings and parents to stare in awe.
Such a parent is Ann Rochford Schrooten, (here) the mother of John “Jack” Michael Schrooten, who passed away this week, age fifteen, after an intense life of both struggle and reward. With grace and graciousness Ann documented her incredible, unrelenting desire to provide the best for her child, even to the point of realizing that true selflessness encompasses equally the tenacious holding on to life as well as the ephemeral letting go of it.
With peace dwindling in this life, Jack closed one chapter, having written all that he could, so that legends could be made.
Brave, brave little thing,
Across the sky you will sing.
That twinkle in your eye,
That laugh on your wing.
And what of our tears that reach so high
When they meet the song that you will sing.
Dear, dear, dear friend
Will I see the poppy grow?
It's red, red as white as snow.
Little, little little man
All grown up as far as you can.
Brave, brave little thing
Across the heavens you will sing.
יהיה זיכרו ברוך
(blessed be his memory)