Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Candle

Dear Luke,
On Christmas day we lit a candle in your memory. It burned all day. Yesterday I packed up that candle to put it with the other Christmas decorations which were going back in storage for 11 more months. But then I changed my mind and decided to leave it out, in case we want to light it again sometime in your honor. As I lifted the box containing the candle holder out, the lid came off and the candle holder slipped onto the floor and shattered. And I fell apart.

"It's a bad omen" I thought. And then I sat there, baffled by that thought. A bad omen for what? What more can happen to you now? You are already gone. Looks like the bad omen is a few months too late.

I cleaned up the broken glass through teary eyes. How silly it seems that such an insignificant object should bring me to tears. And yet...

I have so few tangible memories of you. Most are from the womb and the rest are the feelings I get from you now. But I have no pictures and only a few mementos of your birth. And so I tend to cling to anything that in some form or another is attached to you and your memory. The receipt from Carl's Jr. where Dad ate lunch on the day you were born. The plant Grandma gave me for your funeral. Even my smashed thumb.

It was a little over a week after you passed away. Dad and I decided to take H & S to the library to get a few books. We did very little over the past few days except sit limply on the couch. We decided we might as well have a few books to read (or at least to pretend to read) while sitting limply on the couch. My head was in a fog those days, causing my already slow reflexes to crawl to a near stop. I had taken H out of her booster seat and set her on the ground, then began to shut the door. It was in mid-swing when I realized H's head was in the way and the door was going to hit her. I reached out my hand to stop it, but not in enough time. The edge of the door hit her in the head and then shut on my thumb. We both screamed out in pain. Luckily H's injury was minor. I, however, was convinced my thumb was broken. It swelled to twice its size and throbbed for several days. It took nearly two months for the damage to really show, though. As my fingernail grew, it showed sign of where it had been smashed under the skin. As it emerged from the skin, it was bruised and dented. It has now grown a third of the way out and in another month or so it will be completely grown out. Strangely enough that makes me sad. That smashed thumb signifies all the emotional pain I was feeling at the time (and still feel today). No one could see my broken heart and therefore no one knew how much pain I was in. But they could see my thumb, twice it's size and terribly bruised. It looked sore, the pain was obvious. It looked like how I perceived my broken heart to look - battered and bruised. It was nice to have something to show for all my pain. And soon it will be gone. The bruised thumb, that is. Not the pain.

And so it is with the candle holder. It was one of my reminders of you. One of the few tangible things I have to hold on to that had a memory attached to it. It was your candle - lit in your honor. It was our way of having you here with us for Christmas. And now it is shattered in little tiny pieces. Just like my heart has been since that horrible morning over three months ago.
Man, I miss you. Perhaps more every day if that's even possible. I wouldn't miss you so much if not for the fact that I love you so deeply. And that is something that cannot break or be grown out. So I suppose it doesn't matter that the candle holder is gone. It cannot take away our feelings for you. You are loved more than you can possibly imagine!
With love,

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