Saturday, February 7, 2009

He's Five

"I don't remember if I saw him."

We were driving to school and my daughter was singing when he just said it. It came out of nowhere. It was a simple statement, but in an instant I knew what he was talking about. Somehow I didn't need to ask who 'him' was, but I did anyway. For in that moment, hidden behind my daughter's voice, my thoughts were with him too.



I remember early on not knowing what to do. I had so many questions. My grief was tangled. It was an enormous web and as much as I would try to struggle to free myself from it, I found myself more and more entwined. My grief was for me- having carried them for so long and dreaming about who they were, it was for my husband who would have loved to have had two boys. And it was for him- how special to have a brother. I often wondered how it would be to live, knowing someone whom you shared so much with did not.

And so came my questions... How do I do this? What do I say? What do we do?

I remember seeking the advice of a woman who had lost a twin. Her story paralleled mine in so many ways. Her survivor was nearing the end of his teens. What did she do?

"Don't put your angel on a pedestal."

And though it seems odd, I knew exactly what she was talking about. That is where he was. He was the topic of my conversations, my meaning, my purpose and somewhere in there I was beginning to lose sight of what really mattered. Our life- not his death. Her words could not have come at a better time. I needed them. It changed my course, it made me a better mom to both my angels, living and dead.

I remember thinking about how fragile that balance was. I did not want Andrew's existence to be the center of who we were, and yet I did not want him to be absent from us either. He is part of us, part of our story but he is not all we are.

Look at his birth certificate.

His twin was something I couldn't hide from him, not that I would ever try.

And so it began. Very early. Before he could talk. I spoke his name. When we would pray and ask God to watch over the mouse in Goodnight Moon, we would always end, "and God bless my brother Andrew in heaven". It was part of the routine. His name was spoken but it was not our center.

I wondered when he would talk about him- or when he would ask.

And so the years have passed and he has asked questions. He's shared his thoughts. And still at times I find myself at a loss for words. The moment I learned they were two boys I had them on the ball fields together, double dating at prom, standing side by side- best men at each others' weddings. And again in that moment I was lost. Lost for words.

Those dreams died. As soon as they entered my head they were gone. Like him. Gone.

And so I have cried. Not just for us. I cried for my son and the loss of his brother. My mind sometimes goes to what could have been. I will never know what we are missing but I do know what we've gained. Over the years I have been able to imagine with open eyes what Andrew would look like, now five, what he would be doing. I only wish I could see his eyes, hear his laughter next to his brothers' and sister's.

But one day I will- when we're all home. But until that day, the questions will come, the wonderings will flow and I have the amazing opportunity to listen and to share what my heart tells me. I have the opportunity to listen. I have the amazing opportunity to travel this journey with him and to share it with you. I am the one who has gained. God is good.

1 comment:

  1. okay laura, so i just read the whole pause blog from beginning to are truly amazing! you are a true writer and i can't even imagine how much of a comfort it is for the rest of that 'secret society' to read your words. you need to publish, my friend! thank you for the privilege of sharing your thoughts. love you!


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