On a beautiful night in Perth, Australia, a fellow bereaved mom and artist wrote “Zachary” in the sand and captured this moment for me. I received this piece of artwork today and I had to share my thoughts.
Grief is a long, dark, and hard personal journey. My heart has been aching lately with the thought of this eternal pain and grief. It has been drowning me again as it did in the early days. The loss. The pain. The never ending journey to more time since I had him in my arms. It’s inundating to think about forever without him. No more good night kisses, belly laughs, hugs or time.
Since the New Year, I have been searching for a light in this darkness. I have been delving into reading and listening to grief books about what to try to gain some tools in this journey. In this journey, Reading and writing have given me space to breath for a moment. It has allowed a little pressure to release. Lately, It wasn’t enough. I needed something that I couldn’t speak.
When I saw this artwork, I found it. The pressure released just a little. The weight of this backpack of heavy loss was lifted, if even for a moment. That’s the thing I have learned. Grief is not fixed, it is carried. Every waking moment it will be yours. Looking for moments where the weight is lifted gives you respite to continue to journey.
This piece says to me. He is light. He is peace and beauty like the twilight on a beach. He name is impermanent written in sand but his soul is the colors of the sky and the steadfast star. Beauty and permanence of his spirit.
This is for me. A gift to myself in grief. The weight remains daily but it is in moments like this that I can see lightness return. I can almost see my blue eyed boy and all the beauty his spirit brings to this world even if the physical body was impermanent.
I love you Zachary and miss you more than words.
Christmas 2017 is in the books. Great time with family and friends being joyous and thankful. Christmas joy is mirrored by ache in my heart. Seeing Grace excited about Santa and all our little traditions: the advent calendar, calling the North Pole, decorating the tree and Josie, hanging stocking, the Elf on the shelf, and opening each gift with care and anticipation. It is joy at its purest. Through all this joy, all I can think is what would he be like this year? Would he believe in Santa? Would he want to be a part of our “secret Santa” for her? What gifts would he give and what would he want? What would it be like? Those are questions that make my heart ache because there is no answer.
Our last Christmas together was 2013-2014. Zachary was in kindergarten and had picked out special gifts for his parents that he got at the boys and girls club. When I picked him up, he had a handful of gifts. He wanted to get something for everyone but he settled for me, John, Grace and Kevin (his dad). His gifts for me were wrapped with care and included a cd, a candle and a picture of him with Santa. For john, his gift was so heavy. I couldn’t believe he had lifted it. He told me it was because he really needed this gift. When we opened it, we found it was a car jack. He said it was in case of an emergency for john to get home. John was working in Seattle at the time and always driving. For Kevin, he picked out oven mitts with an Italian chef picture on them. When I asked what he got for Kevin’s wife he looked worried and then said “I know” as he pulled the two mitt apart. “This way they each have one”. My Zachary was always thinking of others and making sure everyone was given a thoughtful gift.
So I think the answers to my questions are as follows:
Zachary would be 10. He wouldn’t believe in Santa anymore but would believe in the magic of Christmas. He would love playing Santa and helping us with all our little traditions of elf on the shelf and the North Pole calls. He would give the gift of love as he always did.
Merry Christmas Zachary! I love you and miss you. Love mom