The Scribe woke up very early this morning. "Can I tell you a story I made up?" she whispered, snuggling into my bed and pulling the covers tightly around her. Her eyes looked a bit bloodshot as if she'd been making up the story all night long.
"Su-re. I'd love to hear a story."
"Well, once upon a time," she began and I knew it would be epic! "There was a violinist. When she played her violin, people forgot who they were and why they were there. Her music was strong and powerful.
"She had a little girl who she loved more than anything. They would go places where the mother would play and the daughter would listen. But like you said, stories need conflict, and things couldn't be perfect forever."
I nodded, and somehow as I closed my eyes and listened, I felt like I was inside of the story.
"The woman and her daughter both wore togas."
That cracked me up, and I immediately imagined a figurine my mom gave me, it's of an angel wearing a toga and playing a violin. That figurine is VERY special to me, and I loved picturing it as part of the story.
"The mother and daughter had light hair which moved when the mother played her violin. Both of them were beautiful--unique--and although the mother was a violinist and the daughter was just a kid, those two people were warriors inside.
"The violinist smiled and laughed, no one knew things were going wrong inside of her. She was about to have a baby who would die."
At this point, I kept my eyes shut even tighter. I knew the story would be about us; after all I play the violin and the Scribe is my oldest. I guess I just didn't realize she would talk about Zeke too (her brother who was only eleven months younger than her--her brother who died).
"The violinist had a beautiful boy, someone whose short life changed everyone. She played songs over him. She fought more for him than for anyone, battling with the power of her music. But nothing could save him, not even her daughter because she was a child and the nurses wouldn't allow children to go into the NICU.
"The day Zeke died, the mother took her violin and threw it into the headstone at the cemetery. The pieces of wood flew, sinking into the ground. She swore she would never play again. She would never love again.
"Her daughter stood by another grave, just watching the whole thing. She wanted to help, but her heart was on fire too--she'd just lost her only brother.
"It was then that the daughter prayed, 'God please help my mother. Please help me.'
"The ground cracked. A storm blew above and a little boy brought wings from Heaven.
"I knew it was Zeke," the Scribe said in a shaky voice. "He looked so handsome and healthy. He looked a lot like the Zombie Elf. I saw him handing you the wings and I thought I might die too. How could you leave me? Why would you leave me? I couldn't believe you'd even think about it!
"'Only one can go,' Zeke said.
"Mom, you put the wings on your back. I'm sure they felt good because you seemed happy even as my heart beat with pain. I couldn't stand looking. You'd forgotten about me. I didn't open my eyes until you asked, 'But where are your wings, Zeke?' I watched him. He did look like a normal little boy." The Scribe stopped talking for a moment, tears filled her darling eyes and she looked at me, snuggled in my bed.
"'Mother,' Zeke said. 'I know you want to be with me, but it's not your time. 'I know you want to go to Heaven so badly though, so I've given you my chance, my heart . . . my wings.'
"You stopped when you heard that. You knew it was wrong to be there, hoping for something that isn't meant to be. You'd looked for death, when life was all around you.
"'But why mother,' Zeke asked, thinking the same thing I had, 'Why do you seek the living among the dead?'"
My heart tightened as I listened to my own daughter's words. It was a scripture I've heard many times, but it hit me especially hard when she told me this story today.
"You gave the wings back," the Scribe said. "You tore them from your back and handed them to Zeke even though it hurt so badly and you knew it would mean losing him . . . maybe forever."
"He flew away, far from sight, smiling as if he didn't realize how much we miss him.
"I went after that to pick up the broken pieces of your violin. You turned to me and cried, 'Oh, Scribe. I love you so much. We're both alive.'
"We couldn't fix the violin, but it reminded us to always appreciate what we have. And when we put all of the pieces together, they looked like a notepad and a pen--a symbol that you can share this lesson with other people who have lost children. Your gift had changed from one thing to another. Your pain has turned to joy."
I couldn't believe the depth of her story. I cried and cried. It was amazing--beautiful! The whole lesson of the journey, wrapped up into a short story of love and acceptance. No wonder her nickname is "Scribe!"
"Are you happy I'm healthy?" she asked.
"Of course I am," I said wiping my tears and slobbering like an idiot. I hugged her tightly, as if she might sprout wings and fly away too. "I love you so much. I'm sorry if I ever took you for granted--so sorry. I was nineteen when Zeke was born--just over nine years older than you are now--it was a lot to handle."
"Wow, I never thought of it like that." She sat up and a strange look crossed her face. "Now while you're thinking about that, I have something I need to show you." She pulled a figurine from the side of the bed and handed it to me. "I broke the wings off your angel."
And it was true. The angelic violinist, the special one my mom gave me, the Scribe had broken her wings off. "But you like my story, right?" she asked. "I've been making it up all night. I figured if you felt bad for me, and understood why she didn't have wings anymore . . . well, do you feel bad for me or not?"
I'd been crying, but I suddenly burst with laughter. "You mean to tell me, you were just trying to get out of trouble?"
"Yeah, but did it work?"
"I guess it did." I took a deep breath. "Honey, did you really feel abandoned after Zeke died?"
"No," she laughed. "I was one! I just thought that might soften the blow about your angel. So, what's for breakfast?"
I hugged the angel and smiled. It was special to me before, but it has a deeper meaning now.
So, I ask you, how can I get mad at a kid like that? I think somewhere deep down, she did feel abandoned, and I don't blame her. At least she's resolving things with her stories, just like I am.
I'm glad she knows I'm here now, and that I'll always be here watching over her; she's my wingless angel and maybe I'm hers too.
For more information about my book, please click here: "The Golden Sky" (My Journal About Zeke)