Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So close, and yet so far away...

At Mass last week, I was sitting with Joshua in the chapel which doubles as a cry room.  He had a low fever and was teething.  It had been a long night.  As usual, he nursed to sleep and then turned his sleeping face upward. 

My goodness, he was stunning.  Low grade fevers give little children a soft rosiness to their cheeks.  His lips were rosy as well.  His blonde wispy bangs were feathered across his forehead.  He was a near perfect image of his big brother, Gabriel. 

Gabriel sleeping
I just gazed upon him, drinking in his precious face and remembering holding a similar face so close six years ago.  It took my breath away.   The last time I held Gabriel he was lifeless and pale.  This boy in my arms was warm and full of life.

I wasn't alone in my observation.  A friend and fellow parishioner who has known us long enough to know Gabriel saw me carry Joshua up to receive the Eucharist.  The look on her face as she gestured toward Joshua told me she noticed the resemblance.  That someone else noticed warmed my heart.

Joshua in May
Long after you lose a child and the painful sting of the trauma has subsided, the scarred hole in your life remains.  Worried that they will upset you, family and friends avoid mention of your child. 

Though they mean well, this avoidance only causes further sadness. 

It is a rare and joyful treasure to speak of the child that died or to see that he is remembered.

 We sometimes forget that only the body dies.  The soul lives on.  Gabriel's body died that day.  His soul did not die.  Gabriel lives. 

That Joshua is so like him is, at times, bittersweet, but what a gift.  He is up to all of Gabriel's old tricks like banging away on the computer keyboard, getting into cabinets, and pulling tapes off the shelf.  He even talks like Gabriel.  He is his brother's brother. 

It'll be Gabriel's birthday next week.  He would be a big beautiful blonde nine year old boy. 

Instead, he is a saint.  I am honored to be his mommy.