Sunday, February 1, 2009

Two little brothers

The bic lighter swooshes, and he speaks.
We love you, Charlotte.
Her face illuminates, the candlelight glowing and reflecting in her eyes, which are blue pools.
We wish you could come back, Sar-yitte.
A collective silence, a quiet sigh. The blessing, we call it. The words around the lit candle that stands for her, the same ones repeated every night. One, the truth, one a wish that will never be.

A few nights ago we were joined at the table by little Holdyn, whom some of you know. He had been difficult to settle only moments earlier, his sweet, devoted Mama had spent many long minutes changing and rocking and feeding him to bring him to where he sat now, on her lap, his own blue eyes reflecting the candlelight that lay before him. He seemed mesmerised by the light, or perhaps by the sea of faces that quietly surrounded him. He is so little, only 17 weeks old, yet in that context he had this mature look to his face, which has lost its new-born look almost entirely.

At this meal I added to the blessing, tonight there is somebody else who is missing from this table, Liam, could you say a blessing for her, too?
He was shy, because Erin is a kind, loving, pretty woman (and he therefore has a slight crush on her) so I said the words for him,
We love you, Birdie.
And I looked at Holdyn, and I said to Liam, in only a few years maybe Holdyn will have the job of saying the blessing at his own dinner table, for his big sister who is missing. And I was so glad, then, in that moment, to have Erin and her family, to have Holdyn who is the same as my son, who can learn from him and normalize his life for him. I was glad for Holdyn and I was glad for Liam that they can know each other as the little brother of a sister who is gone. They can know each other as two little boys who are the oldest but not the first.

Misery loves company, this is one way to think of it. But I'd rather think of us as a different version of a family, of a family who just has this missing sister as part of their history, who will not let her go, but who lights the candle and marches on.

Time is so, so gentle to the healing soul.

But the wound never does completely heal.

5 comments:

ezra'smommy said...

Thank you Carol, for this post. You light a path to what I hope is our family's future too.

Hope's Mama said...

Thinking of Charlotte and Birdie. Two special little girls with very special Mummies.

mommymichael said...

this is such a beautiful post.

Even I can see, from my great distance in both motherhood and space, what a blessing you are to mothers of sleeping babies.

mama said...

Oh Carol,

This is so so lovely, the tears are rolling down my face...

Thank you for writing so beautifully about Charlotte, Liam, Aiofe, Birdie and Holdyn.

We are so blessed to have you in our lives!

Amy said...

I was there at your blessing through your words. I felt the glow of the candle. What a sweet tradition.

Yes, reading your son's name touches me in a special way.... Liam is a wonderful name.