Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Signs and Symbols

Under the Tree—March, part II
I have two main symbols for Henry: hearts and cardinals. I chose a heart, not only because of the obvious love connection, but because he had a congenital heart defect. Henry has always been my heart boy. While Henry was in the hospital, my aunt sent in a red stuffed cardinal that made cardinal sounds if you squeezed it. Between the sound and the bright red, Henry was fascinated by the bird. After he died, I found the sudden flash of red in an otherwise bleak landscape reminded me of Henry's smile, which could come out of no where and brighten my darkest mood.

These symbols have come up again and again, and I see them often as signs from Henry. We have collected heart stones, one from the beach when my family was together last summer, one uncovered when we were digging a hole to plant Henry's tree on his birthday, one found on our vacation last summer when I pregnant with Kathleen. I've seen hearts in the shapes of clouds, patches of snow, and leaves as I'm thinking of Henry or when I'm particularly sad. I smile and say to myself, "Henry."

Cardinals too seem a sign from Henry. I've seen one flash across the window as I was falling deeper into despair. A cardinal sat outside my grandmother's window while she ate her lunch on Henry's anniversary. My babylost mama friend Linda reports the cardinals she sees outside her house that make her think of my Henry. I don't necessarily feel Henry's presence with these signs, but they lift me up. They feel like a gift from him, often when I need it most.

The time I most felt Henry's presence was probably over a year ago now. It was late at night and I missed him desperately. I clutched his yellow blanket and I started to sing out loud to him. I sang his special song, the one that names him and all the people who love him. I felt him settle on my chest, snuggling there, as he had in the early months of his life. I finished the song and felt so much more peaceful. He stayed with me while I fell asleep; when I awoke he was gone. I've never felt him with me like that again.


  1. This is beautiful Sara. The more time marches on, the further away Ezra feels...thanks for reminding me to look out for my own signs and signals. xoxo

  2. Beautiful! I love to see cardinals with their vibrant red and distinct call. We have many around our house and now I can think of your Henry when I see them. Each morning a cardinal begins to call around 6am, natures alarm clock! Young cardinals really bring a smile to my face - they are so clumsy and silly! You know they are babies because of their black beak. I watched one last year try to drink water from a small pond. I wrote about it my nature journal and smiled the entire time!

  3. How special that you felt Henry on your chest! And I love your little signs!