Two weeks ago I began a journey of remember how important it is to appreciate those I love. 20 children were taken from their families in Newtown, Connecticut. Stealing the shared memories and love from the families and friends. I found myself knowing how necessary it is to love and appreciating my kids. To tell them and show them as often as possible.
Sunday, I was pulled soundly to the front and center of the road when a blow fell far closer to home. One of the metaphors for a loved one is to compare them to a bright shining light. When we lose a family member or friend we talk of the light flickering out or ceasing to shine. A very dark veil descended over my family last night when we received frantic, tragic phone calls inciting hurried trips to the hospital where our beautiful boy, my seven month old great-nephew tragically died.
My big family has stayed, for the most part, right here in the same town and we are neither small nor quiet. A mass of people who belong to me and my siblings, our in-laws and their families converged in the hospital chapel to support and love my niece, her dear husband, and my sister and brother-in-law, grandparents to this beautiful boy, who left us far too soon. Our hearts and souls know he is in the loving embrace of Our God but our hearts and minds are broken with grief. Truly, an innocent, he had to fly instantly into the arms of the One who loves us most.
We have lost so much and the pain is deep, and enduring. Marcus was a first for so many of us. My parents first great-grandson, my sister and brother-in-law’s first grandson, my nieces and nephews first nephew, me and my siblings first great-nephew, my great-niece’s first sibling and brother, most importantly, my niece and her husbands first son. This first has been taken, and no one will fill the Marcus space. This special boy who was our first.
Other lights continue to shine and shower us with blessings and we must not neglect them, the seven little girls, less than five years old, who looked forward to Santa and had no idea what happened. It was our duty to step outside of our profound grief to make a wonderful, joyous Christmas for these girls who are still beacons in the darkness of our grief. We had to spin the dial and refocus so we could see the sunrise beyond the sunset.
As the days pass I realize Marcus’ light hasn’t burned out. Rather it has simply changed location. His light is shining from above. As I prayed, wept and begged God for comfort I found comfort in a vision of our loved ones who have passed. They were waiting for Marcus and the greeting was grand and joy filled. They were all giddy with anticipation as he came to them and they rejoiced with love and laughter as they received our special boy.
Christmas Day brought more sad news from my oldest son. His dog Smallz, who had been with him through hardship and happiness died. Another blow. Painful to lose a beloved pet, but my vision carried on with Smallz in all her diva glory running into Marcus’ baby arms and giving him a face full of puppy kisses.
This big, crazy, loud wonderful family is coping and recovering in ones.
one breath at a time.
Taking memories one at a time hold them for a moment in our hearts, memorizing an exact heartbeat, a certain expression and cherishing it’s familiarity.
We are encircling each other in loving embraces,
laughing through tears,
and crying through the pain.
It’s all moving us in the right direction where we will heal, but will never forget because there’s a mark tattooed on our hearts.
The mundane and boring are so appealing right now. I want something simple to brighten things. And truly? The simple is a blessing. I need to grab on and savor every boring moment. Hug my loved ones. Tell them I love them. I don’t want to spend a minute regretting what I could have done in any moment because every moment is a gift.
On a day when music was necessary to think beyond the grief, I put my iPod on Genius, chose a category and hit play. The first song that came on was Hear You Me (May Angels Lead You In) by Jimmy Eat World. Truly, it was a God moment and it has become my song for Marcus. Hit play a couple of times and let these lyrics and music sooth your soul. They have done so for me and the family since I shared it on my Facebook wall.
Marcus’ visitation is on Sunday December 30, 2012 from 5-7 p.m. with a vigil and rosary to follow. Funeral Mass will be on Monday Dec. 31, 2012 at 2:00 pm at St. Matthews Catholic Church.