common ground & peter pan

Four years ago today, my aunt lost her son.

It was unexpected.

I flew home immediately. I remember picking out his flowers. I remember placing a Peter Pan book in his casket, his sister falling apart as she walked into the funeral home, and choking through tears reading this poem at his funeral:

Longing For One More Day

“When we lose someone we love it seems that time stands still. What moves through us is a silence… a quiet sadness… A longing for one more day… one more word… one more touch… We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. We will see you again some day, in a heavenly place where there is no parting. A place where there are no words that mean good-bye. ”

The only thing I can do for my aunt is tell her that I remember his beautiful life. I only held my son for minutes. She held him for 26 years. I cannot imagine the amplitude of her pain. She finds grace in dark places that only grief and sadness know.

I hate to share this common ground with her– we’re undeserving. But in her I see that life beyond this grief is different, but possible– and for that I am thankful she is my teacher.

Second star to the right and straight ahead till morning, Johnny. I love you. I miss you. I remember you.

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