Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ifs, Thens and a Stick

We recently went on a last-minute-mini-vacation before getting back to real life. We are both teachers and have been getting ready for a new school year. We packed up our children and headed North to Lake Michigan to try to hold onto summer~ escape one last time before September is upon us.
Just writing that reminds me of those days (that followed that September). Days I'd want to 'get away from it all' or 'leave it all behind' but somehow that which I wanted to get away from always found me~ much like they found me on this vacation. Of course I think of them every day but those moments when I really sit down and wonder and wish are not as frequent as they once were...

I don't often mention my living children here (the last thing I ever wanted to hear about in those early years was something about living children), but they are an important part of a moment I had- a 'pause' moment as I call them...

It was nearing the end of the day and the sun was about to set. I took my three three oldest children down to the beach and left my husband back with our baby. I sat on a towel, while I watched a beautiful sunset. There was a storm across Lake Michigan but it was no where near us. I could see it in the distance. The colors were amazing and I got to thinking that sometimes in the midst of these horrible storms, something beautiful could come.

I was listening to the rhythm of the waves, the laughter of my children and I almost saw him. Imagined that we were all down at the beach. Six of us. My husband, Andrew, Jonasen, Ali Jane and Zach. They would all be old enough so that Jeff and I could just watch them. I wondered what the dynamic would have been like. Having the Boys~ would they have been tight with Ali Jane too. Would there be some "twin" thing, or would it be like this~ all of them. Working together on a sandcastle, laughing.

I so wanted to see that picture. Zoom in. What would his face look like now? Next month he would have been 8 already.

And then I went back to that place of protection. My way of trying to somehow make sense of this horrific tragedy. The tragedy of losing my son. IF he were here THEN Sean (our baby) would not and I could hardly imagine my life without him and am thankful that I am not God and do not control such things. For now, as hard as it is for me to imagine my life with Andrew in it (though I try to focus that fuzzy picture), it is equally hard for me to imagine my life without Sean in it... How did I get here? Was it time?

I played a lot of that IF/ THEN game... because in our 'perfect' world we always wanted 'four kids'. We actually got six, with four 'at home'. I knew that we would stop at four so if Andrew had been here, or E had been here, who wouldn't?

I sat there thinking and wondering.
Thinking and wondering.

I stood and walked to the the water, feeling the sand beneath my feet feeling... melancholy~ so full~ and yet so broken all at once.

The view was amazing~ the colors in the sky, the clearness of the water. Nothing but sand and rocks and then I saw one lone stick. It was as if it was waiting for me.

I picked it up and wrote their names- a sad attempt of making them there. On our vacation. But as soon as I wrote their names, it seemed the lake came up and washed them away and just like that they were gone. No one would see their names, but they were there.

I thought of my husband and baby, and the three beautiful children in front of me. I thought of the storm and how beautiful it was~ since I was further away from it~ and I smiled.

No one sees them. But they're there.