Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We were right.

Dear Noah David,

There are days now, as I look back, when I feel bad that I pushed you so hard to do things after you graduated from high school. I wasn't as supportive and encouraging as I should have been.  As your big sister, I just knew there was SO much inside of you that the world needed to see. My intentions were good, I just wasn't the best at how I carried them out.  I'm sorry.  The more I learn about you now, the more I know I was right about what I saw in you. I'm glad I had the chance to tell you how proud I was of you when you were home after your school before you left for Ohio. I hope you really heard me when I said it, and I hope you know how very much I loved you then and love you still. I got to be your big sister while you were here. What a gift.
I love you, and I miss you.

I miss my dreams for you and all the things that might have been.



We were right, you know

to see a hidden spark

we were right, you know

when we saw the greatness

still waiting

we were right, you know

when we were certain

you had big things

to offer the world

we were right, you know

to dream

of the good

you would bring

we didn’t know

that your spark would light

and your light would burn

for such a brief time here

we missed it

we just get the afterglow

it’s good to see

but leaves us


to know more

we didn’t know

that we would never see

the depth of the greatness

the fullness of the man you became

we missed it

we just get glimpses

they are good to see

but leave us


for what will never be

we didn’t know

that the things you had to offer

were even bigger

and given in such different ways

than what we had dreamt

your life laid down

the good you would have brought

we missed it

we hold on to broken dreams

remold them and pray


Lord, let us see

your purpose

your mighty hand

your good

in even this.”

Even though we didn't know

We were right, you know

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Glimmer of Healing

It’s surprisingly not cold outside
when the car pulls up
in front of my house at 3:30am
Mumsie and Popster greet me
and we head out to the airport
to catch our 6am flights
that will return us to the place you became a man
It feels different this time
I can breathe easier
the pit in my stomach is smaller
I feel hopeful anticipation
where once I felt dread
We are returning to honor you, Noah
to see your name memorialized on a gate
A huge honor
I think you would be proud and happy
to know that you mattered
You made a difference
in big and small ways
to so many

I board my plane in the dark
seated by a window
as we fly up above the clouds
I see the sun rise
A new experience for me
watching the sunrise from the sky
Clouds look like land forms
A fiery ball of bright red and orange bursts
painting the sky with patterns and colors
that lighten and fade
to bright yellow then white
I am struck by the awareness
that this sunrise is like my grief
Fire that will in time change to light
I am filled with gratitude
that in this moment
I can see that God is working
I can feel that He is healing

I am grateful for that reminder
because I need it
as I sit by the window in the airport terminal
and watch the planes land and pull into gates
My body reacts with anxiety
and into my mind flash images and sounds
I want to remember but forget at the same time
The plane pulling into the gate
as we waited with dread
The open door
The sight of the flag draped over your coffin
as it slid past us in the door of the plane
and then down the belt
The cries of breaking hearts
facing our nightmare
Young men in uniform
silently stepping
honoring you and carrying you home
Your brave brother in arms
along with airport police and personnel
faces of strangers pressed against glass windows watching
Our dreams shatter

Ghosts of memories
taunt and torment at the most unexpected times
but sunglasses hide my tears
and I am grateful
I can breathe this time
as I sit with my memories
and feel a piece of the pain again
that once we barely survived

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our first "First" - Sibling Christmas

Dear Noah,
Yesterday we had our first Sibling Christmas without you.  It was hard, but we did it.
You are loved and missed, little brother of mine.
~ Ab

I felt the hole
you left when you were taken

The plate with your name
came out of the box
accompanied with a simple question
“Ab, what should we do with this?”

A plate made with your name
a place holder
for a place you will never again fill
a reminder that this year
and all the years to come
will never be the same

Your face
your voice
your hugs
your nose stuck in a book
your laughter
your teasing
your acting
your singing
your nieces and nephews clamoring for you to play
your amazing gag gifts
your trail of candy wrappers
your presence
all the things that made you you
all the things that drove us crazy
all the things that made us love you

They aren’t here
and we aren’t complete
we will never be the same again

There’s a hole now where you used to stand
in groups and hugs and games
we’re shorter
our singing doesn’t sound the same
our laughter is missing notes
we sing and laugh and play again
because we must go on
but it’s not the same

Happy, funny moments
laughter followed by tears
talents, skits and memories acted out
I laughed
but ached with the knowledge
if you were here
you would have been in your element
this part of our evening
was when you shone
we aren’t as good without you

I felt the hole
deep, lonely
aching, unbalanced
pain-filled, sorrowful
and somehow
filled with love
filled with hope
filled with gratitude

Because you are a part of us
we will never be the same

I feel the hole
you left when you were taken.