Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness--A Gift in a Graveyard

We decided to visit Zeke's grave on Memorial Day. Cade had a talk with the Zombie Elf about the flag and freedom.  It was beautiful, really.
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Just before we left to drive the hour it takes to see Zeke's grave, the Zombie Elf insisted, "I need my dream catcher!"
    "Why?" I asked.  "We need to leave."  He couldn't possibly be scared in the day too, could he? 
    The Zombie Elf started having nightmares earlier this year.  Maybe it was my fault.  He'd asked what happened to Zeke.  And not knowing what to say, I'd answered, "He went to sleep and never woke up."
    After that bedtime became terrible.  "I don't wanna go to sleep!  I might NEVER wake up!" he'd say.  So the Zombie Elf's grandma wisely sent him a dream catcher in the mail.  The nightmares slowly stopped, all because of his dream catcher which he often held tightly in his arms while he slept.  
    "Can I bring it?" he pleaded, bringing me back to the moment.  "Tomorrow's my birthday.  Please let me. Please."  
    He'd used the birthday excuse!  I glanced at the dilapidated dream catcher.  It had lost all of its feathers and beauty from long nights of being snuggled in the Zombie's arms.  "Fine."  I couldn't help smiling.
    So we drove and drove, until finally turning into the graveyard.  I played my violin and the notes drifted into the wind, just like Zeke's ashes had so many years ago.  
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    The amazing woman, whose sister is buried next to Zeke, had left beautiful flowers on both Zeke's grave and her sister's too.  (You can read about her here: An Angel at My Son's Grave.)  Some toys we'd left for Zeke--way back in November--were still on his grave as well.  That was strange since they're normally removed after a few weeks.  I brushed the thought away though and, after playing, I sat on Zeke's grave and thought about life.  I know only some of Zeke's ashes are at his grave, and he's been gone for nearly a decade, but visiting his grave still helps me feel close to him.  This year I thought of my blessing.  Yes, Zeke died, but I have four healthy kids.  A boy even born on Cade's birthday--which sometimes falls ironically on Memorial Day--and one of our girls who was born 30 minutes before my birthday.
    The Zombie Elf, sensing my seriousness, came up and put his little four-year-old hand on my shoulder.  "That was nice of Zeke."  He bent down and picked up the toys we'd left months before.
    I shook my head.  "What was nice, honey?"
    "That he bought me some presents!  Remember, Mom, my birthday is tomorrow.  Looks like at least Zeke remembered."
    I nearly snorted.  It was so cute he'd forgotten that we'd left those toys.  We smiled at each other, and then the Zombie did something I never expected.  He pulled an object from behind his back, hugged it, then gingerly propped his precious dream catcher on Zeke's grave.  I stared at the treasured belonging. As the light illuminated the sinewy edging and the unraveling leather circle, it didn't seem quite as used and old as it had before.  The details gleamed beautifully unique, just the way they were meant to be.
    "But you love that," I said.
    "I'll be big tomorrow, Mama," the Zombie said, holding up all five of the fingers on his left hand.  "Now I need to be tough 'cause Zeke's the one who never woke up.  He needs it more than I do."
    And my brave little boy, strutted into a dandelion field near the graves.
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    He played with his three sisters, all of them giggling and smiling.  The whole time I kept staring at the dream catcher my son had so selflessly given to honor Zeke, the brother he's always dreamed of.

    I posted this story today because you'll never believe what the Zombie just got in the mail from Fran (visit her blog HERE)!  
Addressed to the Zombie himself was a package...
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...with a dream catcher inside!  I'd told Fran about the Zombie's selfless act and she did something amazing for my little boy. He's absolutely thrilled by this random act of kindness!  
    "This one is staying on my wall," he said.  "I'll keep it to remind me of how great I am because I gave one of these to Zeke! That was super nice."
    "You are nice!" I said.
    "You wanna know something else about me?" he asked and I nodded.  "I love my dream catcher. And people who give dream catchers are sooooo great too!"
Other posts about kindness: