A few months after Henry died, Brian and I drove to Boston every other week for a grief group. One of the images that stuck with was the layers of the onion. We kept peeling away those layers of grief—all the little letting goes, the fears, the traumas one after another after another, all the hurts that piled up afterward—layer after layer after layer I peeled it away. And like an onion, all those layers all made me cry.
That image came back to me today at church. We were sitting up front for a change and I kept looking at the baptismal font right in front of us. Before Kathleen was born, I would well up just looking at it, remembering that he had been here and now he's not. Today, I remembered Henry's baptism. And Kathleen's. And Elizabeth's. I did not cry. Time healing old wounds? New skin grown over the sensitive spot in my heart? Perhaps. But today, what it felt like was that I have been adding layers to our story instead of just peeling them away, new layers that soften the jagged edges.
His birthday is Wednesday, and I may find that I don't have as many layers as I think I do or that they all fall away too easily. I may find myself crying over my onion again. Or I may grow another layer on my story.