The poesy he smells is so small we can barely see it in his pudgy fist. (We would have overlooked it — there were so many tiny flowers hidden in the grass that day.) It is a thing of wonder to him. As he is a wonder to us all. His curls and creamy skin, his brown eyes kissed by innocence.
See how he clutches his little dog? What a comfort it is to to him to have it, his reassurance for the times when the world is a scary place to be. (Remember when it was that simple?)
Had you known what the future held, you might have wished to stop time, to freeze that moment forever, because surely there would never be another so perfect. But then you would have missed the astonishing mystery of him as he grew into a man. A child so fierce in his conviction that he damn well KNEW when didn’t want to nap, and if you tried to make him he would scream until you got him up. You would have missed his shyness, his goofiness, his sweet, sweet laughter. His unflinching loyalty to the people he most loved.
Even between the grooves of anxiety and worry that spun the record of your relationship there was still laughter. Moments of silliness and forgetting. And love, always love. A child cries and a parent wants to hold him. That is the way of life. When that’s gone we grieve not only for our immediate loss, but for what might have been. We grieve for the potential that will never be fulfilled.
But there is this to keep: the memory of a sunny day and the single pleasure of watching a child smell a flower just because it’s there. A child who was then as he will forever be.
A beautiful boy.
n.b. For my dear, dear friend Andy whose loss I feel and whose pain I share. And for sweet Dillon. . . . and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.