Posted by: riverchilde | July 28, 2015

The Land of What Might Have Been

I try very hard not to live in the land of “What Might Have Been.” Alex’s death ended his life here on earth at age 14, and whatever his eternal life might hold is clouded in mysterious promise. I live in hope of being reunited with him and sharing stories of our time apart on the other side of the river, but try very hard not to dwell on what our lives together here on earth might have been like had he lived past his 15th birthday.

I have to admit that I sometimes search for glimpses of that impossible future–in the faces and bodies of the boys he grew up with at church, in rumbly male voices and baritone singers who bring echoes of his voice to me.

This spring was difficult, as Facebook featured senior pictures and photos of caps and gowns adorning his friends. The proud announcements and baby photos posted by parents of new 18-year-olds were also hard to read. We received a handful of graduation announcements, and were appreciative of them. In some way, they recognized our loss while acknowledging the importance we had played in the lives of those youth we had served at church for so many years. Eric even attended some of the graduation parties and enjoyed them. I could not. But whereas Eric could not bring himself to attend the baccalaureate service at our church, the church where Alex had been baptized, mentored, confirmed, eulogized and buried, I found myself drawn to it.

I tried to hold myself apart from the proceedings at the outdoor service, sitting high on the hill near the parking lot, trying to be observer and not participant. But my loving faith family would have none of it. I was embraced, held in tears, by two Mary Magdalenes during the passing of the peace, and escorted to communion by a knight in shining armor. Best of all, the young graduates did not steer clear of me, but approached en masse, and we talked about my pride in them, their hopes and plans, the beautiful potentials of life that lay before them. They asked for my embrace, and I gave it to them with my blessing on their futures.

I hadn’t intended on blogging this much when I opened this page, but I’m glad now that I have preserved these salty-sweet memories of the love that is built in a faith community and that sustains me each and every day.

My intention was simply to share these: photos of Alex taken while on vacation in California two summers before he died. When I took these photos, I thought “What great senior picture poses!” So while I may not have a high-school yearbook or graduation album, I do have these precious photos that hint at What Might Have Been, and for that I am grateful.

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  1. Lisa, I love your photos and I admire you so much. I can see in his eyes, how much Alex loves his Mama. Dear precious child, I wish that we could have protected you from the things that hurt you. I wish that this world was a better place. God bless you and your whole family.

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