Sometimes, I imagine who you would be if you were still here, if you hadn’t died when you were two, if you’d been with us these past 12 years. You’d be here to blow out your 14 birthday candles and open presents. You were number three of five, with two siblings on each side. Would you get lost in the middle somehow because you’re so sweet, quiet, and contemplative?
You would paint beside Jackson and build villages of Minecraft with him . You’d fight with Mary and dance with her and love her and paint her nails and do her hair, and let her do yours. You’d get mad at her because she’s so messy and I imagine you’d be neat. You’d roll your eyes at Caleb because he does silly things, but you’d do silly things beside him. Caleb’s friends would think you’re pretty, but Caleb would chase them away and say to each one, “Dude, that’s my sister. Stay away from her.” You would sip coffee with Alex and contemplate the world’s problems and talk politics and history.
Sometimes I remember the day of the accident. It’s rare that I do, and the dark images invade my thoughts when my head is on my pillow and I’m nearly asleep.
the sound of a small thud
a life-stealing noise
your blood flowed unhindered
your heart slowed until it could push no more
i was there when you met Jesus
when your breaths no longer came
you were dead with us
you became alive elsewhere
I bought purple tulips for your birthday. When I put them in the vase, they stood straight and stiff; it was hard to arrange them, but today they droop gracefully.
In daylight, occasionally I imagine you’re still here, that we never had to bury you and walk away, that there isn’t a grave bearing your name. If you were here, your hair would be the color of the sun and glow beneath the moonlight. You’d love Jesus.
but you’re not here
so i take a deep breath and go forward
and do the stuff i need to do.
and somewhere across the veil
that separates heaven and earth,
you move and breathe and live
and love and sing and dance and worship.
the wind carries your hair far away.
i feel the whisper of a touch on my cheek
and i smile,
knowing you’re living elsewhere