Today I went out shopping with my Mom and Dad. Our intent was to go to the little country store we all love (they have really good cookies, jams and fudge!) but first we took a detour to a nursery to look at poinsettia and find a wreath for my Mom and Dad's front door.
They didn't find a wreath they wanted, but my Mom did find one for Thomas. It had little old fashion sleds and tiny dolls made out of buttons on it. It was the only one there and it was clearly a child's wreath. My Mom called me over and asked if I liked it. When I said yes, she said she was going to buy it for Thomas.
I didn't want to cry - I wanted to lay down and die. It was the oddest sensation. I figured my Mom would buy a lot of things for Thomas this Christmas - well, once upon a time - but a wreath for his grave wasn't one of them.
It was a very surreal moment, standing there in front of that wall of wreaths. We were all so pleasant about it - smiling, oooing and ahhing - when I know we all wanted to stand there and scream and then rip all the wreaths off the wall, topple the Christmas trees and break every single twinkling ornament and smiling Santa Claus in sight.
But of course we didn't. Instead I turned and walked away - back to the ornaments I had been looking at before my Mom called me over. That's where I spotted a rustic looking teddy bear angel blowing a trumpet that I decided it had to go on the wreath too. I showed it to my Mom and she agreed. I'll tie it into the bow so that it hangs down in the centre of the wreath. An angel for my angel.
I held the bear as I wandered through the nursery and out into the green house brimming full of poinsettias. The bear and I went up and down the aisles while I searched for just the right plant - and all the while I felt so utterly alone, lost in a sea of beauty. I always miss my Thomas, but some days it feels like I'm missing an arm or a leg. Or my heart.
If I live to be 100, I know I'll never be able to describe the pain of seeing my Mother - Thomas' Grandmother - hold up the wreath she wanted to buy for his grave. There was her smile, forced and yet still somehow sincere; the tears in her eyes that I tried hard not to see, and the naked desperation in her need to please me; to do something to somehow make it better for her child. It was agony.
This is one of those days that leaves me marveling at the human spirit. How do we keep going on in the face of such immense sorrow? How do we find the strength to get up each morning and live our ordinary lives anyway? How do we find the energy to keep trying to make sense of it all day in and day out?
How do we smile while buying a wreath for a baby's grave?