I planted a small garden in the corner of my backyard. It’s rather tiny really. Set in the back against the fence which appears to be rotting away. Time and weather has long since damaged the wood, I fear a strong wind will surely bring it down. But a garden it shall be. Flowers sprouting pink petals in soil that I was certain could grow nothing other than weeds. Weeds with angry sharp edges, a defense perhaps against being ripped from its home in the earth. Drops of my blood stained crimson against the green leaves, evidence of our struggle.
I placed an angel there. An angel chosen just for him and I proudly claimed it to be “Konnor’s Garden.” By the grace of God the flowers are growing. Blooming and thriving in dirt only weeds could live in.
I had created yet another memorial to my grandson. First I would create a scrapbook filled with as many pictures that I could find of his short life. I had made dozens of trips to Hobby Lobby and Michael’s Craft Store to look for scrapbook stickers and embellishments to place on the pages to make it his. Spider-man stickers, family stickers, birthday stickers, anything that related to the picture I had so carefully placed inside this book. In my heart I was content with the finished product, the story of his life through the eyes of his proud grandmother. Yet, when I closed the scrapbook that held his life from beginning to end I suddenly felt heartbroken all over again. Scraps of paper and stickers. This could not be all I have left to memorialize Konnor. It just isn’t enough. How could this complete him?
How could I make him infinite?
When I was finally able, I started this blog. Yet it took eight full months after he passed for me to be able to write. Eight full months for me to stop crying long enough to document my grief journey. These words will be here long after I am gone. Because the very thought of his existence not being known, that nothing remains of him is tragic to me. I keep myself immersed in creating things in his honor, in his name, to keep him here. Even if it is just keeping his name alive. I need to feel his presence, to know he is still with us. Doing these things helps me to feel that he is here.
I fear that if I stop eventually all traces of him that remain will dissolve into nothingness and he will be forgotten.
A marble headstone has not been placed in a cemetery to mark his final resting place, he rests in an Urn in his mother’s home where she feels closest to him. No park bench has been engraved and placed in his honor noting how special he was. There is nothing to honor Konnor’s life. We have to leave something for him.
How do I reach a point where I can feel satisfied with what I have left behind in his memory? When can I ceremoniously wipe my hands clean, dry my eyes and whisper to the Heavens “My work is done Konnor.”
I have this fear time will erase segments of my memory bit by bit and wash away pieces of him. Time is a thief, soon it will begin to steal memories from me. I find myself searching for moments of time, glimpses really, in precious video clips of him. I need to hear his voice, see his face, watch him…
Yes, time is a thief. We reminisce believing our minds will never falter, that love will carry us through. We believe we can remember everything because we want to, we have to, we long to. Somewhere along the way we lose not just pieces of ourselves but pieces of them as well. It seems the harder we try to hold on to these pieces of them, they eventually slip from our minds. Suddenly we can’t remember the way they used to talk, what they liked to eat, the sound of that laugh.
For these reasons I create a scrapbook, I plant a garden, I type on a keyboard so I can tell the story of an eight year old boy who from the moment he was born stole my heart and how his death changed my life forever.
I don’t expect to see a rainbow or the Heavens part once my task is complete. I do hope I will feel that moment of peace I have been longing for, yet knowing he is gone forever I will always be searching for signs of him in any form I can get, even the ones I create.