Many of our dear friends and family have inquired about your “official” name. Well sweet Flicker, I can promise with some degree of certainty that you will not meet too many people with your name in Heaven. Of course you are joining a distinguished group of D’Elia boys who have names that tend to give people pause.
Or was that John-Paul?
Is Paul a middle name?
Oh, it’s a hyphenated first name?
Fine, just initials will do.
And how in the heck do you pronounce that last name?
Welcome to the family, love.
We began calling you Flicker when you were just four weeks in to your life, inspired by watching your pin-sized heart flicker on the ultrasound machine. We heard its thump thump thump. We recognized its power in fueling your growth. That it should become your nickname was never up for debate. It just fit.
Did it ever just fit.
Flicker (n) – a short burst. You were here and gone before we got to learn so many things about you. Would you spend your summer hours outside on the basketball court like your father, or on the tennis court like me? Would you be the one to get a whole room laughing, or be more comfortable taking in the conversation of others? Light hair or dark? Green eyes or blue? Your book was closed before we got to these chapters, which your dad and I mourn constantly. Your life here was just a short burst. A flicker.
Flicker (v) – to shine unsteadily, varying in brightness. We had some ups and downs together, didn’t we. Years of frustrating anticipation. Twelve weeks of unencumbered joy. One hour that forever changed us. Fifteen weeks of sadness and worry and anxiety trading moments with gratefulness and awe and hope. In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.” Reconciling the circumstances of your life in real time coursed both joy and pain – light and dark – through my veins simultaneously. My world with you in it flickered.
Flicker (n) – preceding a flame. While your life was but a short burst here, your flame burns everlasting in Heaven. But know, sweet Flicker, that your flame also burns everlasting in us. I cannot think of a single event in my life that has altered the course of my…everything…more than these last collection of months with you. Living in the present. Channeling hope throughout fear. Leaning not on my own understanding. Trusting in difficult decisions. Turning to my faith for the grace to get through the hard days. Relying on your dad for things too numerous to count. Asking for help and letting people in. Understanding a depth of love I never thought possible. I could go on forever, sweet Flicker, listing the ways you have altered the course of my life for the better. And I know I will uncover more ways each day as I navigate through life without you here with me. Your flicker has ignited a flame in me, and for that I am truly grateful.
So Flicker D’Elia, may you shine bright in Heaven, shine brightly within us on this Earth, and be a continued source of light and love for those who have had the honor to know you.