The Red Balloon

In truth, as I tied the balloon to my friend’s purse, for her to release when Gabriel’s name was called at the Walk to Remember, I thought this was a kinder leave-taking of him than the one almost 4 years ago. This time he was carefully handed to a friend. He, or at least his balloon, bobbed in the breeze, surrounded by families as I walked away.

I picked a red balloon because it seemed like what an almost 4 year old would want. I on earth, and he not here; the balloon and I called out for him to join me, just for a little bit. It seems I was a woman calling from the back door of our world into the front garden of heaven, telling my son it was time to come in.

Stay with mummy for a little bit, would you? I know you have places to be, people to play with and things to do. I know you are a busy little boy, but just for a few minutes stay with mummy.

And so he stayed, just for a little bit. Then the music played, I turned and walked away, across the field, pausing to watch: the walkers, the families with children, the balloons, the wishes, messages, hopes and dreams fluttering on cards. An occasion both sombre and joyous. There were so many families, so many missing so many more.

We paused at the edge of that field, he and I, to take our leave of each other. We do this. We occupy separate orbits, I in this world and he in a place far away. We cross each other at moments of need or want. We stay for a while, in each other’s company. Unable to see or touch each other, but real and present none the less.

And then, he goes back to whatever he does (playing, I hope.) I walk back to my car, and to take a bit more time to adjust to the transition, to a Starbucks for a coffee; savouring the sweetness of a latte with pumpkin spice. I am another anonymous woman , standing in line, affixing a plastic lid to a paper cup. I am not the mother of dead children and he was not just here and gone.

I will drive home and load tools in the car. I will go and help install laminate flooring, laughing and joking with friends. Fully present in that moment, as fully present as I was with him.

In those rending, searing moments of heart break, I would not have believed it could be like this.

Mummy and Daddy still miss you. Be safe. Be happy. We love you, even still.

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8 Responses to The Red Balloon

  1. This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing those delicate moments that you get with him.

    I hope my boy and I can connect in moments like these someday too.

  2. a says:

    Picturing your little boy with a red balloon…

  3. Birdie says:

    Beautiful post, Mrs. Spit.

  4. Linds says:

    I’m typing this with tears swimming in my eyes because this was so touching. Thank you for sharing this moment. Thinking of you. Xoxo

  5. Dana says:

    So beautiful, as always. I could just picture the whole scene. I hope I have moments like that with Jacob too.

  6. HereWeGoAJen says:

    Thinking about you and your Gabriel tonight.

  7. Neeroc says:

    So beautiful, so heartbreaking.

  8. Maureen says:

    More than just your mummy and daddy miss you sweet boy.

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