One night Tim had a dream that Aiden came home. After his long absence from us, Tim walked with him, hand-in-hand, filling him in on what he had missed. Aiden was especially eager to see his brother Noah.
When Tim told me the dream just upon waking, I cried. It seemed right that our boy would come home, to our hearts and arms, where he belongs.
For all its impossibility, it felt good and proper because I know where he should be right now- the gaping hole in our lives stands as testimony to that- it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think he could return, at least in our dreams. (As King David said in 2 Samuel 12:23 when his infant son died “I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.” So, in our dreams it must be.)
He left an empty space behind because he is real. He filled space and time for over eight years. I carried him inside and birthed him. I nursed him, held him a thousand times, sang him a thousand bedtime songs. His arms were around me, his breath on my cheek, his voice in my ears. His small hand held mine as he chattered away.
And then I saw him leave. In one terrible, holy moment he was gone. Though I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and kissed his face, I knew he wasn’t there. With that last, long, breathy release of air he stepped out of my world. He crossed the river…awoke to glory…passed through the veil.
Just as I am convinced of Aiden’s life on earth with me, I am convinced of his continued life elsewhere. He is just on the other side: the other side of my current reality; on the other side of the invisible veil between this life and the next. I feel him.
I read a blog in which a bereaved mother described her child as running ahead of her, just out of sight. I like that description, though it doesn’t fit my perception of where Aiden is. For me, Aiden is still parallel to me, separated only by the veil. I’m not chasing him, and he isn’t following me. We move together. Together, but apart.
The veil between us is solid and concrete. I can’t pass through it until my time comes, and while I speak to Aiden often, I can only hope he hears. The veil, for all its thinness allowing me to feel Aiden’s continued life, is vast and impenetrable.
Tim and I were very aware of this veil in another recent terrible, holy moment. A year-and-a-half after seeing our son through it, we stood by Tim’s dad Renato as he passed through. All the love and memories of a lifetime filled that room and enveloped my father-in-law and his wife, kids, and grandkids. All that time came down to this moment, and in the midst of many words of love and compassion at Renato’s passing, I heard Tim’s voice call out urgently what was also on my mind and the tip of my tongue: “Dad! Tell Aiden…”