Deep breath, sweet Flicker. This week was a chaotic one, our small home filled to the brim with family and flowers and friends and visitors and food and… love. So much love. The atmosphere was in stark contrast to our first days home after meeting you; those surreal, upside-down days where all I could hear was the silence of your absence. I will admit that at times last week I craved a bit of that silence, escaping to quiet corners to reconnect with the familiar. It is so very strange how quickly the new becomes the routine, even when the new is something so unwanted.
Driving this flurry of activity was love for you, sweet Flicker. The community who would have helped raise you – your Yia Yia, Nana Bon, Papa, aunties, uncles, honorary family and playmates – came together to celebrate your short but massive life. It was a beautiful day, sweet Flicker, both inside and out as we spoke of your life and the passion you lit in us. Your dad even got the chance to challenge you to a game of horse, to be settled of course when we are all reunited in Heaven. Don’t let him win, sweet Flicker. His 3-point jumper is pretty legendary.
You had some “friends” there too: your little sheep lovie, hand-knit blanket, and stuffed bear who I know would have had a name. No doubt he would have been your companion, dragged all around the house by one leg or arm, the crisp white quickly dirtied. I don’t know why I am telling you this because I know in my soul that you were there with us, smiling alongside as our tears fell.
When you were safely within me, you heartbeat still thumping, I would spend hours putting myself in various hypothetical situations surrounding your birth and passing – what it might feel like, what I wanted to say to you, how we would tell people – and on and on. But I could never bring myself to visualize your memorial service. It was too painful, too unnatural. After all, parents are not supposed to say goodbye to their kids like this. It is supposed to be the other way around, after long, fruitful lives spent together. What does it look like, feel like, sound like, when memorializing a person who we hardly got to meet, yet we know and love so intimately? Walking into the church on Saturday with no expectations or earthly knowledge of how I was going to make it through, I left several hours later arms locked with your father overflowing with joy. Of course it was joy experienced alongside grief and longing and pain, but joy nonetheless. My deepest wish is that you felt the joy, too.
This beautiful New England summer has been such a blessing during these hard days. Missing you while also missing the sun and warmth and sounds dampened by sub-zero temperatures and blustery snow would likely add another layer to my grief. Your dad and I needed some silence after your celebration on Saturday, so while your grandparents retreated to our home to prepare a D’Elia family pasta feast, your dad and I sought out a place of quiet reflection to soak in the sun and warmth, calming our anxious bones. Our original destination, Walden Pond, which felt the burden of our steps in April as we circled its shoreline processing your unconfirmed diagnosis, was closed without explanation. So we consulted our map and headed to an unexplored nearby green space, which led us to the Great Meadows Nature Conservatory, and this:
I smile when I think of you leading us here, to such an amazing oasis, to take in so much of God’s created beauty while thanking Him for your sweet little big life.