Taller than I

I took my niece to the 100th anniversary of universal suffrage at the Alberta legislature, and as I stood behind her, with my hands on her shoulders, I joked that I needed to weigh her down. By this time next year she will be taller than me.

She asked if that was ok, if I really did want to keep her short. As with all of my nieces and nephews, I am crazy in love with her. No, I want her to grow up, grow wiser, find her voice. I want her to be an adult, to leave home, to find her way in the world and have magnificent adventures. She had to be taller than me to do this.

His tree is taller than I am.

I don’t remember when that happened.

Was it so last year? Did it sneak up on me? It’s just the passing of time. Water and sunshine ever did create growth.

He is tiny: in the urn that holds his ashes, in the handful of people who remember that once I was a mother. For a short period of time, his heart lay under mine and I tried to shelter him as best I could. He is tiny.

He is not tiny in the way I love him. He does not occupy  a tiny part of my heart. With me like the breath in my lungs, his memory and my love remain as boundless as the air I have breathed in and out of my body since the day he left me.

Gabriel’s tree is tall and strong, the branches full and the leaves whispering in the breeze.

Taller than I.

As it should be.

This entry was posted in Gabriel, Gardening, The language of families, the nieces and nephews, Tiny Points of Light. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Taller than I

  1. loribeth says:

    I’m in tears reading this. We had to leave “Katie’s tree” behind us when we sold our house. 🙁 We took photos of each other beside it on moving day. It is huge now. And she would be graduating from high school next month. Thinking of you & my other loss mom friends today (Mother’s Day). <3

  2. Naomi says:

    Beautiful writing as always. Thinking of you and your precious Gabriel.

  3. Jane says:


    We will all continue to remember.

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