The sun was intense as I dropped by to say hello to Rory at his grave in Drogheda last week. I was visiting Ireland and our house is beside the cemetery where we laid him to rest. I thought a quick drop-by would be nice on my way to town. Always on my mind, always in my heart, visiting Rory is part of my routine when I am in Ireland.
I always talk out loud to him, “Hey Rory-how are you doing…everything is good…we miss you…let me see how your flowers are doing, do they need water?” This is often how our conversation goes. For me Rory is in my heart, and his grave is a memorial to him. Most times I can drop in and out of the cemetery and my lips don’t tremble, tears don’t fall because he is not there, I tell myself, it is a memorial.
Last week his eyes caught mine. His soft face on his headstone smiled and I caught his earnest look and his beautiful deep eyes met mine. It was one of those moments when time stood still and all I wanted to do was sit and look at him and love him alive, all over again, and again.
I talked to my little boy about how he wanted to be a pilot, I talked to my little boy about how he loved visiting Ireland and how he loved to ride his bike and be with his sister and cousins. I talked to him about American politics and laughed with those eyes about how many debates we would be having, as there was so much strangeness in the world. I talked to my little boy about his Irish cousins, those he never met but would have loved, and those he knew and loved, and I remembered with my little boy how he used to speak with an little Irish accent when he came here to visit. I talked and I talked to the beautiful deep eyes on his headstone. I could have stayed all day.
The little boy with the beautiful deep eyes did not talk back.
After a long time I left the cemetery and continued to town; my day had changed. My thoughts had shifted. My pilot, my little boy, was dead. I cannot hear his responses, I can pretend I know what he thinks but he cannot tell me.
Damn you sepsis. I have met so many sepsis moms and dads who have conversations with their children in cemeteries. Cemeteries are sometimes places of comfort but are often places of anger and despair. Our children should be fulfilling their dreams, they should be alive and they should be with us because sepsis is preventable, treatable and curable. We have been cheated.
I told this to my little boy with the beautiful deep eyes, I told him I felt cheated.