It’s been awhile…
Two days after Terri’s anniversary, I had to say good bye yet again… This time to my beloved brother-in-law, Michael Verronneau. He and Terri had a special connection. For one, they were both members of that unlucky, “incurable disease club”. But they shared something much more important. An incredibly inspiring and tenacious will to live. Fully. Compassionately. Selflessly. As warriors. Mike was lucky enough to live for 30 years after initial diagnosis compared to Terri’s 3, but the reality is, they were both taken way too soon.
So I found myself once again falling into the deep, dark depths of grief. Unable to climb up and out. To tap into that place of light. Of hope. Of openness to “their” presence. To those serendipitous moments when I actually “felt” Terri’s love. Or “heard” her voice whispering in my ear. Or believed in her ability to transcend time and space.
And then today happened…
I was jonesing for a Miss M fix, having gone more than 5 days without laying eyes on her. Our bi-weekly visit was 2 days overdue albeit for very good reason- Aunty Cole is due to arrive Monday!!!- but my perpetual blues needed a major boost, so I hit the Skype button. Heron answered within 2 rings. We kvetched for a few minutes about the pending N’oreaster, then I asked how my girl was.
“Good. She liked gymnastics.”
“I know! Great pictures on Facebook.”
“That night when we got home she told me something. You know how she gets sometimes? How she holds things in? But you can tell something is bothering her?”
“Well she told me, my friends told me Mamãe is dead so her soul really isn’t alive and she can’t really watch over me.”
My heart splintered into a thousand pieces… Tears spilled down my cheeks.
“Oh my God…”
“I told her you can’t believe everything your friends tell you. You have to listen to Papi and Aunty Laurie. Of course Mamãe is watching over you. She will always be with you.
She seemed to listen and then she asked me to read to her from the book Grandpa sent last summer, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory . She hasn’t asked for that in a long time. So I read her a chapter. When I finished she said, but I don’t have a bookmark to use. So I told her we could just use a picture or something.
Then this morning in the mail there was a letter for Terri. We opened it and inside were two bookmarks. They had rainbows and nature pictures on them and they both had Terri’s name on the bottom…
I told her, See??? You asked for a bookmark last night and Mamãe heard you. And it has rainbows on it. Mamãe knows you love rainbows. She is telling you she is watching over you and is always with you.”
At this point I am full out crying and my husband is staring at me from across the room, tears in his eyes as well.
Heron then took the computer downstairs to where Miss M was and she proceeded to tell me the story herself. She held both book marks close up so I could see Terri da Silva in bold print on the bottom.
“Oh my goodness, Marisa!!! That is so from Mamãe!!!! Isn’t she amazing?? See how much she loves you? And it has rainbows just like you love, and nature like you and Mamãe loved to see!”
Then she had me read one of the sayings on the bookmark out loud,
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”
“That is so true, Marisa. That’s like we were talking about two weeks ago when we went to the Children’s Museum. Remember you told me that too much electronics made your brain mush? And I said it didn’t really make it mush for real, but it wasn’t good for it. But what was good for it, and for your heart, was doing things like going to museums and taking nature walks with the people you love. And you said, and like school!”
Then I asked her how she felt when her friend said that to her.
“I would have felt sad too. And a little mad. That wasn’t a very kind thing to say. I’m so glad you told Papi about it. Your friend was wrong Marisa.”
“I don’t listen to everything she says,” she defended.
“I know. But look how your Mamãe made sure you knew that it wasn’t true. Not one but TWO bookmarks! With her name even!! She will always watch over and love you. You should bring them to your next Cove meeting. Your friends there will understand.”
And with that, she moved on to bigger and better things- a game of memory with Aunty Laurie via Skype…
As we figured out how to digitally play a game of memory, I was reminded just how cruel children can sometimes be. I was taken back to my 8 yr. old self, after my father’s sudden death. I was whisked away to relatives for two weeks, never allowed to attend his services, shooshed whenever I tried to ask questions. I remember feeling like I had the plague when I returned to school, most kids avoiding me at all costs…
I swear the seeds of my career as a social worker were planted right there and then. And I know it is why I was drawn to programs like The Good Grief Program which The Cove Center for Grieving Children is modeled after.
And so, just like that, my faith in the spirit world was restored.
I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do believe…
Love, Aunty Laurie