Today Jason and I drove past the cemetery. (I have been anxiously awaiting decorating for Valentine's Day for Gavin. We have a mailbox that we leave Valentines in for him. However, the weather has not been cooperative as of late.) As we drove past I saw the dreaded blue tent. The one that signifies a painful day for a mother and father and other family members. Every time I see that blue tent set up in the children's section I can't help but think about how this will be one of the worst days of their lives with pain filled days to follow. I pray that those families may be blessed with comfort and peace during those trying times.
As I watched the family standing in the pouring rain over a small two foot grave I felt zapped back in time. I remember that day like it was yesterday and at the same I time I feel like it was a different lifetime. Jason compares it to his mission in Argentina. He says, "You know it happened. It changed your life. But now life is nothing like THAT life and you are forever a changed person."
I remember choosing the spot where Gavin would be laid to rest. I don't know why we picked the spot we did that October morning. I just remember wanting to choose it and leave. I remember the funeral assistant staking the ground like it was a piece of property with a small white flag. Why did I have to choose a place for my son's body? I wished he could be home with me. At that time I was so exhausted and over ridden with grief - I don't remember much but it isn't quite something I can forget either. You just don't forget those feelings. Perhaps the motions of that day. But never the feeling of that day.
The other night, one of my best friends was at my house looking at Gavin's book. She looked up at me and said, "This just isn't something you ever get over." How true. And it felt so good to have someone recognize that this pain lasts forever. The memories of picking out a burial plot may blur in my mind - perhaps that is a method of self preservation - but the ache still lingers. Because it is real.
The pain is real because Gavin was real. He was not a figment of my imagination. I held him. I bathed him. I sang to him and rocked him. I changed his diaper, trach and g-tube. We made decisions to fight for him. We made decisions to let him go. Most of all we loved him. He may have only been here on the earth for three short months, but he was real. Just as real as any other child. And even though he is gone. I still know he is real. He is a beautiful boy with the spirit of a giant. His presence testifies to me that life exists beyond this earth. I know that we will be together again. And that day will be great. It will be real.