It's amazing how even after fourteen years, strange things happen, reminding me that my boy who died is still out there, watching.
I got remarried. January of last year, we bought a house in Idaho (of all places), and our family seemed hopeful as we brought load after load into the house. But after all of the kids had gone to sleep, my husband and I stood on the deck alone. "What's wrong?" he asked, standing behind me, then holding me in his strong arms. I leaned closer to him--he felt so warm in contrast to the wind.
"We've gone through so many changes in a short amount of time. And I was just thinking about the day Zeke died--it's coming soon, but his grave is so far away. I always visit his grave on January 30th, but I don't think I'll get to this year."
Mike stroked my hair. "We'll figure something out. Okay, sweetheart?"
I looked up at him and nodded.
The next day I opened the book I wrote about Zeke, and read a few chapters of the journal. I remembered the whole damn thing: his little hand holding mine, the way my world collapsed the day he died, and all of the strange miracles that followed--including how a dear friend gave me a statue, having no idea that it looked just like Zeke.
That statue is shown on the book (below).
I packed the book away, and called all of my children upstairs. "Mike will be home in a while. Do you guys want to go for a walk? Then we can come back and make dinner?"
They immediately grabbed their coats, and we trekked to a nearby, snowy place where the deer like to go. My two littlest kids explored and played. Walking around the perimeter of the area, The Scribe and The Hippie talked about their new schools and friends. And I, well, I sat on a rock and listened.
Sometimes, there can be this deep ache in my heart. Like when all of the kids are in the car, and I turn around because it feels like someone is missing.... And someone is. And, he always will be.
It's like going sky diving. When you fall from that plane, there's nothing to support you--like tripping down an endless stairway, down, down.... All that you really have is your faith in God--and that's how it was when Zeke died.
"God, I'm nervous that we moved to another state. And I feel bad that I won't get to visit Zeke's grave on the day he died. I sure wish you could give me a sign that everything will be okay."
The kids were ready to go, so I called them over and said we should head back.
The Hippie came over first. "Mama, what are you thinking about?"
"How crazy life is," I said.
"You're thinking about Zeke!" she said. "I saw you reading the book. Mama, whatever happened to that statue on the cover?"
"It broke a few years ago. I was so sad. I'd never seen a statue like it--and probably never will again. That statue was one of the miracles that happened after he died."
The rest of the kids came back and we started walking home.
"What do you mean?" she asked. "How was the statue a miracle?"
"Well, it looked so much like Zeke. But that wasn't the real miracle." I smiled at my kids, then continued. "My neighbor gave the statue to me...said she had this crazy feeling that she had to. I was so sad back then, but her kindness was a life-saver for me." I took a deep breath. "No matter how hard life can be, there are miracles of kindness all around, if we're willing to see them. And those miracles can help us get through."
We trudged up the long hill leading to our house, and just when we were about to take a turn around the bend, The Hippie put her hands to her face. "Oh my gosh, Mama. Look!" She pointed to a yard just to the side of us.
"It's Zeke's statue!" The Scribe said, stunned. "We were just talking about that."
And all of the kids crowded around a tiny statue, identical to the statue that had meant so much to me years before. It rested at the edge of a snowy yard, facing the mountains, and looking quite magestic.
For some reason tears came to my eyes. This was my sign. We'd be just fine in Idaho; I didn't know exactly how, but we would be.
Our love will tie us. I'll never lose you. I'll never lose you....