Dear Harvey,

Sometimes I ask parents how old their kids are (because I have come that far in my grief journey) and sometimes they say “he is four”. Inevitably, I stop myself from saying, “My son is four, too!” because, of course, I must quickly follow that with “but he died” and people aren’t used to that. So I say “How nice.” or “What a fun age!” and we smile or chuckle together. Sometimes, I entertain the possibility of talking about you like you are alive. Pretending you didn’t die. How amazing for you to be alive like that, in someone’s mind.

Sometimes I am talking about something your sister is able or allowed to do and I stop myself from saying “But if it was Harvey, that would be a different story.” This impulse feels stranger to me than the first though it occurs to me in exactly the same fashion, easy and natural, unconscious almost. Like somehow I “know” you would be rambunctious or unable to be left alone to entertain yourself or not be as confident in your body as she is. Do I know something about you innately? Those cells of your floating, as they are, in my brain, whispering your secrets to my semi-consciousness. Maybe it is a mother’s wisdom? That inner, intuitive and mysterious connection we have with our children, knowing on some level what they need as individuals, what will work and not for them, how to best tend to them, maybe even the dead ones? Maybe I just imagine you’d be a rascal, energetic, mischevious because that’s how I think of little boys? Maybe it’s just purely nurture: what I have learned, a trick of the mind rather than a gift from it’s deepest recesses.

I don’t know. But I think of you and I imagine you and maybe you are here somewhere, more than just in my mind and heart and brain, more than just the tin of ashes on my closet shelf, what is left of your cells, save the corneas, heart valves and those you left inside me. Maybe you are somewhere. Maybe, as we talked about with the chaplain as we prepared for your funeral, energy just changes shape and you are showing up here in ways we don’t recognize. Or do, but just barely.

I love you, son. I am always here if you ever want to come back.



1 thought on “Somewhere.

  1. It is so odd how we carry the presence of those we love with us, but when the absence is due to death rather than distance, it makes those around us uncomfortable at best and usually frightened – judging us as mentally unbalanced. It is acceptable to ask for prayers and remembrances on anniversaries of birth and death, but not in between. We have Halloween where many believe that contact between the living and dead is (more) possible.

    But not on that that random day, when you walk past the children’s clothing rack and think – “Oh, that would perfect for Harvey … now… if he were alive…” or the billboard of the baby you have passed 50 times before, suddenly taking you back to the hollowness of loss or passing the children’s playground & making a mental note to remember it the next time Harvey …”isn’t there”. Such thoughts are regarded as unhealthy and disturbing. Funny – I find them rather comforting. I even smile and let the love out (or in?).

    But if I say and do all of these things for Vesta (or any other living loved one) almost 3,000 miles away and it is perfectly normal.

    If we were more open to these feeling and experiences, perhaps we could be in the company of those we miss much more often.

    Missing you all!

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