Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Sun Still Shines

Nine days ago. Worst phone call ever. The "sudden unexpected death in the family" phone call. The phone call that stops everything in an instant, steals your ability to think, overwhelms you with feelings, renders you temporarily wordless. You feel disbelief, confusion, grief, despair, hopelessness, pity, guilt, rage. You're only able to name them later.

My brother and his wife, preparing and anticipating for months, expecting the arrival of their first child, already named Carter, any day now, suddenly reeling from tragedy instead. Complications during labor. Emergency C-section. Baby didn't make it.

What??? No. What? How? Why?? No!!!

This can't be. This doesn't happen anymore. Babies are just born, they don't die during birth. Oh my God! They've been so patient, they've tried for so long, they deserve a happy healthy baby, they don't deserve to deal with this! Why do I feel guilty that I have kids? F you, universe. I hate you for stealing my brother and sister's happiness!

In the days since, words have slowly returned.

I keep hearing snippets from the song "Without You" echo in my head:

The stars gleam
The poets dream
The eagles fly ... without you

The earth turns
The sun burns
But I die ... without you
The mind churns
The heart yearns
The tears dry ... without you

Life goes on
But I'm gone
'Cause I die without you

A little piece of each of us died this month. But the remaining pieces cry and carry on, sometimes plodding, sometimes starting to hope again.

My brother now says every time the sun shines, I'll think of you, my son. So now, for now, maybe forever, me too. The sun is shining outside my window right now. Little Carter, sending beams of light to help us find our way and keep moving forward.

Today. Funeral service for my little nephew. My brother asked people not to wear black to the service. "Lighter, uplifting colors would be prefered, as we want to celebrate the beautiful child that he was, and not focus on his passing."

We couldn't make it to the service, so we sent sunflowers. And I'm wearing my bright blue shirt today to honor Carter.

Carter's life reminds us: life is not fair, but it goes on. And the sun still shines.