If you have just joined us, you may want to first read OUR STORY, then posts #1-15…
Monday January 20, 2014 – I have been busy, stalled, and unsure again how to continue writing for the past 17 days…knowing the next post should be the one to detail the most difficult moments…moments I’m not sure I can bear to re-live, as I know will happen when beginning to write of that day…
It’s strange how it seems like that was such a different chapter of life, so distant, so surreal, like it wasn’t my life at all. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same, time has gone ahead so quickly and somehow time has stood still. It’s like a bad dream, unsure at times if it really even happened or if I can still pinch myself and wake up. That reminds me of some things that happened recently…here’s the most recent two pages of my journal…I’ll save the tough stuff for another day:
Wed Nov 20/13 – We were in the dining room of our Claytonbrook house. The three kids and I were sitting at the table, a table we had when we got married, up until about 2006 – shoulda been my first clue. The kids were about 8, 10 and 11 – next clue. It was a happy moment, all three kids and I grinning around the table…the boys were on my left by the window, their little sister on my right. We were all so glad Brandon was here with us. I got up and leaned over to hug him…Brandon was a beaming and handsome 10-year-old. I was saying something about being “so grateful you’re here with us” and that “we almost lost you”. We all smiled – you see, all of us were so excited to have him around, as we knew he had been close to death, or beyond it, but had miraculously come back to us. I was beyond elated, so grateful, so filled with joy at this wonderful gift. We didn’t take each other for granted and his big brother and little sister had the biggest happy grins to have him home.
I thought and felt it was real…then I woke up…still sure this was true…smiling, so relieved that everything had worked out, that all had been undone. Do you know those few fleeting seconds between sleep and wakefulness? Moments when anything is possible and logical. In that moment my mind was so convinced and ecstatic that the sad event had been undone – a couple of years after the fact he had come alive again, and all was back to normal, better in fact because we fully appreciated each other. My mind had not yet comprehended the pieces that didn’t make sense…. like that we moved out of that house 4 months ago, we got rid of that table years ago and the kids are now 7 years older than in my dream. Saddest of all, Brandon in fact had not come back to us…my mind had played a hopeful but cruel trick…maybe wishful thinking turned into a dream. I racked my brain to figure out…where am I, and what day is it? It was the 20th…of November…2013…exactly 2 years and 2 months after his passing…yet there was still so much hope in me that this dream could be true, it took a while to fully wake from it.
Sat Dec 14/13 – Today was Saturday, the day of Sophie Haines’ funeral. She was a 5-year-old girl from our city of Surrey who passed away from a form of meningitis/pneumonia I was told. It was non-contagious, so she had been kept on life support and her organs were able to be donated – wow, what a beautiful legacy and what loving generosity shown by her family in their darkest hour.
Just 4 days earlier, a Tuesday evening, I was driving home from work listening to traffic radio when I heard the 10 second report of a little girl’s passing. My heart broke for the family and I cried bitterly as I drove…wishing somehow I could help, or know their names, or reach them and be sure they were going to be okay. Late that night as I dropped into bed I noticed a message from my friend, dated Sunday, 2 days earlier. She told briefly of the sad situation, that the girl was on life support at the time, and that my friend’s mom and the girl’s grandma were neighbors. My friend asked if she could give my contact info to this family – it was like an answer to a prayer I hadn’t even breathed out loud, just a thought and a wish that passed through my mind – and the answer was already there…sitting waiting for 2 days for me to see it.
On the following Friday night, 3 days later, again miraculously I feel, this situation came back into my mind, and I wondered if there would be a public funeral. I googled her name now that I knew it, and quickly found the details of the service, to be held only about 14 hours in the future. When I mentioned it to my husband, he said he had a meeting but he’d leave in time to meet me there – we were both drawn to show support and be able to know who this little girl was. It was to take place at the all-too-familiar funeral home we had dealt with after our son’s death. Though I had a dread about that place, it just felt “meant to be” to go there.
But now as it was Saturday and I was preparing to go to the funeral, 1000 things and emotions were swirling through my mind. In the shower I wondered if it would come up in conversation with a stranger today, that we had also lost a child, and if they asked how long ago it was – what would I tell them? I calculated how long it had been since we lost Brandon. It feels too long ago to say it has been over 2 years, but can’t say it’s been 27 months, that’s like those annoying toddler ages. Who says 27 months anyways? Only new parents talking to other new parents…no one else cares to hear the details. Just round it to half-years once they hit 2 right? Except when you are the one with the precious babe – then every day, week, and month counts and must be mentioned. This is how I felt this morning, I had to count the months. Over 2 years sounded too far away – it didn’t properly express the freshness of the loss in my heart – so I counted up the 27 months, but that seemed like a long time ago too. Next I got really nerdy and started calculating in my head how many weeks it had been…119 Saturdays much like this one had come and gone since I had seen his sweet face. Since 119 weeks sounded even worse I decided on 27 months after all. When something’s so precious you just feel you wanna be specific.
The funeral home was packed that day with families with small children, many of which were her kindergarten classmates, and neighborhood friends. Many tributes and poems were read, one 5 year old girl even spoke at the podium, and many tears flowed. It was a heart wrenching and inspirational day as we learned of this vibrant, strong-willed girl, full of vinegar and spirit. I felt so blessed to be introduced to the parents afterward, be able to give a hug to the mother, shake the hand of the father, and express my heartbreak for them, though I was a total stranger. Amazingly they remembered reading an email just the night before offering my contact information, so recognized my name. I don’t know when or if we will get in contact – but even if that quick connection was all it was about, it felt like a divine appointment to me.
If you listened closely that day there was a beautiful thread woven through all that was said, through every smile with a tear at the mention of Sophie’s vitality, through the sound of many children in the room, and it was a lovely sound. I recognized it for sure…and that sound reassured me that this family, mom, dad and brother, would be ok in time…it was unmistakable, undeniable…it was that little glimmer of a wonderful thing I know to be…endless HOPE…