“Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”
On the first Father’s Day after three of my children had died, I sat down to write out my husband’s Father’s Day card. My son, Julian, signed the card first, and then I added the names of our lost loved ones: “Love, Gabriel, Boo and Peanut.” But, just as my hand was about to add my own name after theirs, I paused…no…not this year…and sealed the card inside the envelope before I could change my mind.
My name didn’t belong on that particular card. Other cards, perhaps, but not that one. Without my name, the card was “perfect.” I had made it perfect, fixing it to match who we’d become. Blank on the inside, it was the picture on the outside of the card that had drawn me in, that had touched my heart…a pure and simple black and white photograph of a father and son walking uphill on a single dirt path amidst tall grasses and wildflowers in the countryside. The father and son, their backs to the photographer–and so similar in appearance to my husband and son’s–were both dressed in jeans and white t-shirts, and they were holding hands as they walked away. It was a beautiful representation of the simple love that can exist between a father and son, yet it somehow screamed of loneliness and pain at the same time. So…I fixed it. I changed the photograph so that the father and son were no longer alone.
“What are those things?” Julian had asked after signing his name, pointing at the objects I had placed in the sky, one large and two small, over the heads of the two people in the photograph.
“Those are stickers,” I replied.
“Stickers of what?” Julian asked. “Sparkling clouds?”
I had smiled, because although the stickers were supposed to be gold and silver Fourth of July sparkler stickers, they did, indeed, look more like delicate sparkling clouds. The large “cloud” I had placed in the sky to symbolize our first loss, Gabriel, and the two smaller ones to symbolize Boo and Peanut, as they were so much younger than Gabriel when they died.
“They do look like clouds,” I said to Julian, holding him close. “But I prefer to think of them as three brilliant stars hovering above the heads of the two people walking on the ground.”
Silently, Julian had fingered the stickers, his hand slowly trailing down to the father and son in the photograph, where it had paused…and then stopped.
“It’s perfect, Mama,” he’d said, smiling up at me. “Daddy’s going to like it a lot.”
♥…On Father’s Day, in either your grief or your joy…LOVE and BLESSINGS…♥
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