Once again I was inspired by my friend to share a snippet of my life. This time the subject was grief.
My first real sting of grief happened just as I was celebrating a new life. It's ironic how our worlds can collide, how one day you can be filled with such joy that you feel that your skin will burst, then the next you can be brought to your knees with devastation.
It was November 9th, 1998... my very first day home alone with my newborn son. I was nonchalantly rearranging the closet while the baby lay nearby on my bed when I heard someone open the front door. My first thought when I saw my husband was "How sweet! He's come home to have lunch with us." But when he took my shoulders to turn me toward him, I saw something other than joy on his face. Finally, after a stale silence, he said my nephew was gone. "Gone? Where?" I asked. "Lisa, he's dead..."
All I remember is having my knees buckle and screaming in shock. He was only 21.
Realizing that the baby was just a few feet from me, I ran down the hall, as though to hide my pain from him. Once my husband reached me, we melted together in grief, all the while me mumbling "no, no, no, no!"
To this day I will never forget the feel of Michael's hand on my leg the last time we were together. I was in labor, and he had come to the hospital to be with me. Just before midnight he left my beside, promising me he'd be back in the morning to see me & the baby. He whispered his love to me as he softly caressed my leg. He smiled, winked and left my room.
I never saw him again. Yet, ironically, every time I look into my son's eyes, I see Michael. It's crazy how alike they are... they are both dirty blond & blue-eyed with similar body types, personalities and intellects. But the most stunning similarity has to be their eyes, though... the most exquisite, unique mix of ocean blue & green. In fact, I remember what my friend Sue said to me when she heard the news of Michael's death: He had the most beautiful eyes, and you never wanted him to look away once you caught his gaze. Coincidently when most people look into my son's eyes, they've felt that same magical pull.
I never understood the magnificent power of love until I held my son in my arms for the very first time. And I never truly felt grief until I experienced it with my sister. I will forever wonder why the circle of life in 1998 had to include our two sons. Still, every year, on the day before my son's birthday, I sit alone in the dark and rub my leg. Then I wink as I blow a kiss to my son's guardian angel.