Thursday, October 4, 2018

Turning Eleven in Heaven

I stare at my boys.  Usually when they are sleeping, or if I can get a longer glimpse of them during a quiet moment in my head, and I think about what kind of lives they will have. 

I want them to be kids as long as possible.  To have fun and ask to “play” with their friends.  I was eleven years old when I looked twice at my dolls and questioned if I was too old to play with them anymore.  I remember crying over the idea that maybe I was.  I wonder if Ty would already be asking to "hang out" with his friends, instead of "play."

I want to protect them from the insecurities of high school.  I want them to stand up to the bullies, and they sure as hell better not bully others.  I loved high school and I loved my friends.  I was always happy.  With all I read today about depression and anxiety, it’s sad to think that all I want for them is to get through it unscathed and ready for the next phase in life. 

I want to stop them from acting with reckless abandon in college (or at least, help them to find the right balance between experience and learning).  And I hope they don’t drink the punch with grain alcohol.  They WILL be embarrassed the next day.  I hope they find their love for music and see as many concerts as they can, while they can.  From bands in the bar to sold out stadiums - and I hope they find their way to the front row.  I hope they respect women, and know to NEVER make inappropriate advances.  There is no excuse for that what-so-ever and I have zero tolerance. 

I want all the right career choices to fall into place in their twenties so they can live on their own in the big city and I want them to travel while they are young and free. 

I want to watch them fall in love, marry the sweetest girls, and kick off their thirties with a cute little house filled with love and laughter.  The thirties will bring marriage and fighting, complete chaos when babies are born, and they will start to see all of those “You’ll see” moments that everyone warned them about.  I hope they can take it all in stride and remember to focus on the tremendous love, because this will be the first decade in their lives where they are no longer putting themselves first.  I hope they know how wonderful and fulfilling and beautiful that is, despite the hardships that go along with loving others so deeply.    

For Lou and I, life got particularly hard in our thirties and forties, and I wish I could protect them from the really sad things that start happening mid-life.  People we love most have died, loving relationships have dissolved, addiction and cancer have consumed far too many friends and family, and financial hardships have been debilitating.  Life gets real right about now, and I worry for them.  

Despite the rough patches, life is great.  The world is beautiful.  Love is all around us.  And, I can't wait to watch my boys grow up.  I wish beyond wishing that I could have that opportunity with Ty.  I'm up early today, and as I walked down the hall I thought about how I could be sneaking around decorating with balloons for when he wakes up.  I imagine he would roll his eyes because... eleven... but deep down he would really love that.  I would start cooking the bacon and getting the waffles on for his special bday breakfast before he went off to middle school (!), served with a blue lollipop on the side.  I'd give him extra lunch money and a treat for desert.  Everyone would come over later for cake and a song.

But he is forever five years old.  If you asked me what I would want for any of my sons in their first five years of life, I would say laughter and pure joy in that most innocent time.  But he suffered, and that was so unfair, so I hope with all hope that there is a heaven and he is celebrating a terrific birthday “up there” whatever that looks like:
  • I hope he feels safe.  The idea that I wasn’t able to hold his hand and be with him will haunt me forever.  I worry that he felt scared and alone, and I hope that’s not true.
  • I hope he never feels sadness, even when he knows we are feeling sad because of losing him.
  • I hope he could hear what we said to him over and over again as he left this world, and that he carries those words with him… I love you, I love you, I love you… because love is everything.
  • I hope heaven is spectacular.
  • I hope he continues to keep Nadine strong, and gets to play with her dogs like they are his own because he never had a pet.
  • I hope he really is watching down on his brothers, and that he can guide them through their own ups and downs in life.
  • I hope nature is his playground.  That he is painting the sky, and guiding the ladybugs to visit me, and jumping in muddy puddles every chance he gets.
  • I hope when I feel a special breeze, it is his embrace.
  • I hope the inaudible whispers in my ears are really his.
  • I hope he has so many little friends.  I hope he found Sally and made her feel safe, just as I hope McKenna found him and made him feel safe.
  • I hope he isn’t lonely, even though I feel a pang of jealousy for any spirit that gets to be close to him other than me – as if I’m losing ground.  So silly, I know.
  • I hope he has Granny there with him, to hold his face and give him super long soft kisses on his cheeks. 
  • I hope he has access to an endless sea of blue lollipops and gumdrop trees.
  • I hope he spends all day laughing – like every day is his birthday.
  • I hope the air up there is filled with music and smells like butterscotch.
  • I hope he feels me when I’m thinking of him. 
  • I hope heaven is that beautiful abyss where the sky meets the ocean, where just looking out at sea brings a feeling of serenity.
  • I hope he can’t remember the pain.
  • I hope there are balloons in heaven.  And toys…. Lots and lots of toys.  And whoopie cushions.
  • I hope time is irrelevant, and all these years on earth without him will feel like no time passed at all when we meet again.

We lost my cousin Johnny in December, and my Aunt asked me, “Isn’t it weird to believe in heaven?  For example, what happens when a spouse dies, a person gets remarried, and then they are all awkwardly reunited in heaven?”  I laughed.  I said to her, "You are visualizing heaven in the context of being human.  We can’t understand beyond what we know life to be… but I like to think that heaven is pure love and something like a sixth sense that we can’t possibly understand until we experience it. Humans are way too simple-minded to have any idea what heaven really means.”  I like that concept, but what do I know.  I am very much looking forward to that day of enlightenment for me, but until then I hope I can live out this life with love as my guide. 

I miss you Ty.  My eleven year old boy!  You would be so tall!  I wonder what your smile would look like.  I never did get to see your big boy teeth come in.  That boggles my mind all the time – that I don’t know what your smile would look like.  I can otherwise imagine what you would look like at eleven from head to toe, but I get completely stumped at your smile.  I hope some-day you’ll visit me in my dreams and give me a big, eleven-year old smile so I can carry that with me.  I am the luckiest person in the world because you were mine.  XOXOXOXOXOX infinity J


  1. I would like to think Ty would be like my Alex. . . Alex will be 11 on 11/2, and although he is almost as tall as me, there is still a piece of him who is still such a little boy. He at times still sleeps in my bed, still believes in Santa and although he tries to be a big boy most of the time, he still "plays" with his friends. . . He still has his innocence, I still see it in his eyes, and it is so prevalent in his laugh. The little boy who loved Max and Ruby, still will lay on the couch with me and watch Cars if it is on TV.

    I am crying this morning and am angry for you, how I have my little boy with me, and you do not. I will never forget finding this blog many years ago, and the feeling I would get in the pit of my stomach, every time you posted a new entry. Or the nervousness I would feel when you didn't post for a few days. I never knew it was possible to fall in love with a family you never met, but I did. . .

    I battle with my belief of heaven, especially after my father died. But I truly believe there is a heaven. When you post pictures of lady bugs in the dead of winter, when the ground is covered in snow, I 100% believe it is Ty. When Ty's tricycle feel in the garage, I 100% believe it was Ty. I do believe Ty is with his friends and he is playing every chance he can get.

    I'm so sorry he is not here with you and Lou. I am so sorry he cannot physically be a big brother to Gavin and Bodhi. . . He would have been such an incredible big brother.

    Happy Birthday in Heaven sweet Ty.

  2. Cindy your writing is so poignant and laser sharp
    Hope all your birthday wishes for you and Ty come true.

  3. Happy Birthday sweet Ty. I always think of you guys cause all of our birthdays are close together (mine Sept 29th, Haidens Oct 8th).. Haiden is one year younger than Ty. He hears everything you say the second you say it if not think it. Love all of you xo Rita

  4. I am so in awe of you! The fact that you have not lost all faith in humanity is a testament to your strength of character. I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Happy Birthday Ty!! ��

  5. Cindy, I have missed your posts. I especially think of Ty in these Fall months and can't believe he would be 11 years old today! Love transcends all space and time...I firmly believe that. God bless your growing boys!

  6. Happy Birthday to Ty. I've always related to your posts -- my oldest son is 12 so he was always just ahead of Ty in age. Your post is such a gift of made me cry...cry because I know how difficult it all is...and cry because I forever want to hold my boys tight. Oddly enough just the other night I was thinking of how it's nice my son still likes us most of the time...because I can slowly feel it slipping away. We want them to be free and independent but oh so's hard in the easy scenarios...your hard is sooo hard. I do hope that there is a big answer when this all said and done because there just has to be some point and some meaning. Hugs to you.

  7. This passage is beautiful. You are an infinitely great mom.