My youngest child, two year old G was born only three weeks after my oldest, my 18 year old son Henry died. As I’ve said before, they just missed each other here in this time zone, and among all the other kinds of grief our family has experienced and will experience due to Henry’s death, I suspect that G will one day lament the fact that, unlike her other siblings and cousins, she never had the chance to know her biggest brother, or even meet him. I will encourage all the other kids to help her know who Henry was, and what he was like, but that won’t really change the facts of the timing for G and Henry, and for their respective life transitions here on earth.
When Henry was away in treatment not long before he died, the two of us had an agreement that each night we would look at the moon at the same time, and think of each other. Not surprisingly, even now, when I look up at the moon at night – expecially on nights when it’s extra bright or glowy, I think of my boy.
The other night, G was up for hours with a nasty, croupy cough. I’d been rocking her, slathering her in Vick’s, giving her a steamy shower, and she just kept coughing miserably. Finally, I decided to do the thing my pediatrician has taught me over the years is a nearly foolproof way of stopping a nighttime cough in the winter. So I wrapped both G and me in a quilt, and I took her out on our back porch to inhale some of the very crisp, very cold wintertime air.
As we stood out on the porch, we both found ourselves looking skyward. The stars and moon were very bright that night. Suddenly G pointed up and said very matter-of-factly, “That’s where Henry lives. He lives in the moon.”
I asked her what she meant, and she repeated it again, pointing into inky space, “See, Henry’s in the moon. I see him there.”