Autumn has arrived. While we have enjoyed a surprising number of sunny days for this area at this time of year, northwest Washington has not been remiss in showing its true colors. Even as the leaves have changed into brilliant and fiery hues, there have been many days where the rain pounds relentlessly and the wind blows. The clouds hang dark, low, and heavy.
It is difficult to explain how it is possible to spiral through dealing with this loss in such a way that the passage of time increases the difficulty instead of lending ease to it. Given the intensity of our two weeks in the hospital with Ewan, I wondered if I might initially be experiencing shock -- not able to fully absorb what had transpired and who had left us. I wonder now if the same shock that I imagine protected me at first is now easing -- if now, I'm feeling more of all that happened. More of everything.
The clouds hang dark, low, and heavy. The jewel-toned leaves seem out of place in an otherwise gray world.
Yesterday was the Feast of All Saints. In the Catholic tradition my husband and I follow, this commemorates all those saints who have gone on ahead of us and now enjoy the presence of God. As a baptized person who committed no sin, we believe this is what Ewan enjoys now. And we believe that one day at the resurrection, his body will rise whole and healed. This is a good and joyful thing. These are bright and brilliant points of light in an otherwise dark place.
Even so, the celebration of this Mass was bittersweet for me yesterday. As the litany of saints played, as I choked out the words We come to know our rising from the dead during one of the hymns, my tears flowed freely, dripping off of my face and soaking my shirt.
While I embraced the joy at knowing that my son now enjoys heaven, and hope at the prospect of his soul and healed body being united once again, I hate the reality we must live in now: separation, death -- the reality that is not fair, the very one which causes us to clench our fists and scream in our souls: this is not how it's supposed to be. That has us making choices on his grave marker instead of his Christmas stocking.