I stumbled into this place heartsick and with a broken spirit. I had never felt more alone than I did in the aftermath of my son’s death. It was the warmth of Glow in the Woods that thawed the ice in my heart and illuminated the many other faces in the dark. This is the last piece I will be making as a contributor to this sacred space. Thank you to everyone for allowing me to walk with you. It is a sad path to travel but I am grateful for the beautiful souls with whom I have found myself walking alongside. I wish you all peace as you journey on.
He’s not here.
He hasn’t been for one thousand six hundred and eighty-seven days.
He’s not here and yet somehow he is everywhere: intertwined in the fabric of life’s tapestry. He’s a changing colored thread weaving itself through the scenery of my past, present, and future. He is completely dynamic despite his condition of being most sincerely and decisively not alive.
His newest sister was born and I saw him in her sleeping face. He was threaded throughout the white fuzz on her head, rose on her fat cheeks, and sea-blue in her eyes. From a distance they looked so much alike. Less so now as over these last weeks she has changed, grown, and become more herself and less a reflection of him.
My oldest asks me why her brother’s heart was broken. Why did he die? How does one explain to a three year old the complexity of life and death and the ambiguity of what comes after? He is the black that fills the void between question and answer.
In his grandparents’ garden –the one they have given his name and cultivated in his memory- the color of his thread turns from gold in the fall to the pale cornflower blue of hydrangeas in the spring. In summer it is the ruby red of tiny wild strawberries stolen from their beds by little fingers.
He is the pearlescence of an obscured and faded scar that yawns its way across my abdomen. The shadows of my face and the outline of subtle longing that lingers around my eyes are threaded with his grey. He colors the tiny flash of pink from my tongue where his name invariably rests, waiting to steal away from parted lips at first chance. George.
And he is the firework of fiery reds angry at the unjustness of his death and muted blues of acceptance and regret. I wait to discover what color he will be when peace and self-forgiveness are found. Green and brown, I hope: the color of the giant ancient trees with deep and stretching roots.
His thread, an ever-evolving color of love, has become that which binds my life together. Nearly five years of his death and he is as vibrant and suffused into my entirety as either of his living sisters. His color has made my tapestry fuller, sadder, more enduring and most undeniably more beautiful.
He’s not here.
Oh, but he is.
Tell me where you see your child(ren). Despite their obvious absence tell me about their presence in your life. How do you keep them present in ways that are meaningful to you?