The Magnolia tree given to us by friends from old Yahoo groups has flowered. One of the branches reaches out into the garden. If I still believed in signs and omens, one branch, with four open flowers, a flower that nearly opened and a bud might seem like a promise. Or it might seem like a reminder of what I should have taken more care of. Glass half full, glass half empty. Or just a glass.
In the nights either side of the 13th, I dreamt of Freddie, or rather I dreamt of him in our life, but I knew he was dead. In one dream, he was recently dead and I was hurting, in another, he was gone and the space had healed over. It wasn’t a leave taking, I’m still waiting for him to say goodbye to me, but I did know. Somewhere inside of me now, I know. On the two nights after that, I dreamt of another little boy we know, one we all love dearly. Both times I was taking care of him and happy to be with him. Both times I knew he wasn’t Freddie. It wasn’t a future child of mine either. Just another little boy, one who I think will always be there.
On the night of Freddie’s birthday, we lit candles around the garden, seven of them and we put three across the front of our path. On that night, they burned all evening, guttering only as midnight approached. On the night of the 13th, I lit the ones across the path again. When I looked out a few minutes later, two had blown out, so I relit them, blowing a little life back into them. Then they all blew out. If that wasn’t an sign for a little life which had, one year before, been rescued for just a few hours and then faded away, I don’t know what is. I didn’t relight them. It felt like he told me not to.
But I don’t believe in signs and omens.
After a fractious day today, we sat down to watch “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. I used to love reading it, but I’ve forgotten the twists of the plot and couldn’t remember what came from the book and what didn’t. The girls, avid listeners to the story, remarked at various times on changes but we could hardly fail to be moved by the ending. Choosing death, choosing to turn from death, choosing life.
There is no choosing though, if it is you who have to die. It was us that had to do the choosing. We are the people still choosing, choosing to live after choosing death.
I can’t remember if Caspian says this in the book, but in the film he says words to the effect of “I spent too much time trying to get back what was taken from me and not enough time being grateful for what I have.”
It is a tall order applying that to your children, when you can never hold or kiss one of them ever again, or hear their voice or watch them grow.
I’m not sure I’m up to it. And forever is a long time to have to manage.