Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Theo's BirthDay Weekend

I wanted to share some photos from the weekend of Theo's memorial and birthday weekend.

His memorial service was just beautiful with wonderful music and readings and so many people there to honor his life. Several people stood to speak and share with us how Theo touched their lives. I am so thankful to everyone who came to honor and celebrate him.

The candle light photo is just after the service before we all sang "Happy Birthday" to him and had birthday cake (with dragonflies on it, of course!).

The following Sunday, on May 28, we had a very small private dinner for our family and for our closest friends--all the people who have been so supportive to us throughout this very difficult year. Just before we had dinner, we shared a surprise with everyone there and................got married! Our wonderful chaplain from Noah's Children, Dawn Colapietro, who has been so helpful to us throughout this difficult time, spoke at Theo's memorial service and performed her very first wedding with us on Sunday evening. Everyone was so surprised. It really was wonderful though, because Theo was a part of the ceremony. It was a perfect way to express how his presence, his life with us, has made such a difference in our lives, in our relationship with each other. Having a wedding, with our closest friends and family on the anniversary weekend of his birth, was just perfect. Our friend Chris, co-owner of my favorite restaurant Bacchus, cooked for us and we had the space to ourselves and it was all just beautiful. It was so nice to celebrate Theo's life, our family and our love and friendship, in that way with all the people we love.

The next week we went to the beach for a few days and that was nice. The weather was beautiful and it was good to be able to spend time together, relaxing. It was a bittersweet honeymoon though. We are very happy about our wedding, but missed Theo so much. It was a very sad week for me. I spent a lot of time just thinking of him, missing him. Taking him to the ocean was one of those "firsts" that I was looking so forward to doing with him. Vacations on the beach, watching him build in the sand, run from waves, laugh and play. We both wanted him to be there with us. There were other children and babies, but a lot of it I think had to do with the way the ocean opens up your heart, brings all the emotions to the surface, stirring up feelings, brings the unconscious floating closer to the surface. Water does that. Also having the time to reflect, to really be with my feelings, not having to (or being able to) go to work, focus on the house, talk on the phone, no computer, no cell phones, no things to do. All of those things together I think made the pain of his absence greater. I spent a lot of time crying, but also feeling good, feeling love. Water does that too. Especially the ocean. When I would cry and feel all the hurt, missing him so much, Jamie would remind me to go into the ocean and it always made me feel better. Playing in the waves, allowing the water to wash away the hurt for a moment, allowing myself to just float, my mind and my heart to just float with the soothing motion of the water. Closing my eyes and totally relaxing, I could just float and let the ocean heal me. I imagined I was floating and swimming in a sea of tears, mine, all the mothers who have lost their children, tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of pain and of healing. I made a sand scultpture of a dragonfly and we decorated it with seashells. We wrote Baby's name in the sand. We walked on the beach and collected lots of seashells. I decided to make seashell chimes as a souvenir for our honeymoon when we returned home and so I was looking for shells with natural holes. At first, I looked for shells with no flaws but the small holes at the top, but I found that as I looked, I preferred the ones with bigger or multiple holes, the ones with ridges and broken places, to the pristine and perfect ones (of which there are very few anyway). The ones I chose instead aren't the perfect, unmarred ones, but they are just as beautiful. Even more so, because their holes and broken places, the strange ridges and crevices making patterns across their surfaces, give hints to all they have been through; tossed in the sea, thrown to the shore and sucked back out, hundreds, maybe millions of times, dropped from the sky by hungry gulls, hosts to parasites eating away at their shiny surfaces; all of these things illustrate the life of the shell, show what each has experienced, all these things leaving marks that change the shell into something new and different--the same shell, but changed, unique. They are just as beautiful, and made more interesting by their trials and tossings.

I found myself thinking many times as I sat and looked out at the horizon about a poem I read a while back about watching a ship sail off into the horizon. I thought of how Theo is the whole ocean now, the air, the sky, the love in my heart and everything good and beautiful. I kept imagining how glorious his existence is now and how none of that makes him being gone from me any easier. But I am comforted by knowing those things. I feel him around me and with me and in me all the time. I know he is with me always.

I think the poem was written by a man named Henry VanDyke, though I have found varying versions of it attributed to other people.
I have changed it a little here for Theo.

I am standing upon the seashore. Before me, a ship spreads white sails to the ocean. An object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch until at length the ship hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: “He is gone!”

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight. That is all.
The diminished size of the ship is only my perception.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says:
“He is gone! He is gone!”
There are other eyes watching the ship come nearer,
Other voices ready to take up the glad shout:

“Here he comes! Here he comes!”


nora Pozzi said...

Thanks Karla for your sharing. You are truly a poet. Poets can express in writing the language of the soul, which is very difficult to understand and communicate. Your sharing is also amazingly honest showing the part of our human experience that lies behind closed doors most of the time for most of us. Your sharing is refreshing, it helps us (me) open our (my) hearts and experience the truth within ourselves (myself), the good, the bad, the positive emotions, the negative ones, without judging, just accepting them as they come, as you do so well. Thank you for bringing a little bit of ocean to this city and congratulations for your wedding. I guess the painful jouney with Theo was in some way the real wedding between Jamie and you, since you opened yourselves to each other in such a profound way, sharing the depths of suffering and joy, of despair and hope. I love you both, thank you for your inspiring presence in my life. nora

Anonymous said...

Karla and Jamie...we love you and little Theo so much. Thank you for allowing us to share in your joy and your pain. We have all grown, all changed, we all have holes..but you and Jamie have showed us how to fill those holes not with anger (always), not with fear (most of the time), but with love. You and Jamie do nothing better than love eachother, love your family and friends, love Theo. Congratulations on getting married. We were all so surprised, but so happy for you both. You are right...it was perfect. Thank you. Amy