Monday, October 31, 2011

A different sort of anniversary

It's been a week since we laid baby Jonah to rest. It seems like death is marked by all kinds of anniversaries. I'm not sure why, but I find them comforting. It is nice to put order into our lives for one thing. For another, it is a nice way to keep the memories alive, by finding a specific place for them.

I have not gone to visit the gravesite, but I want to. I guess I just need to plan it, so it will happen. Dawn says the flowers from the top of the casket still look lovely.

My friend Pam called tonight, just to talk about Jonah and what his life - and death - had meant to me and to all of us. It was comforting to go over his life - and death - with her. Every time I speak with someone about Jonah, I feel a little more "settled," if that is the right word.

Thanks to all who still want to listen.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Some thoughts

Dawn commented after dinner tonight that today marked the point where Jonah has been gone as long as he was here! Some days it seems like yesterday - other days it seems long ago.

Life goes on - the kids are excited about Halloween. Marjorie fixed a feast today - since she's leaving on Tuesday. Harry will be honored as Officer of the Year at a dinner on Thursday night. Eve has a competition on Saturday morning at Citrus College.

But we remember. Harry made a lovely slide show, accompanied by the Dixie Chicks singing Lullaby. Dawn and Harry will go select a marker for Jonah's grave. It will be nice to go and visit - it's a lovely spot.

Many of the lovely floral arrangements have withered. There are some lovely plants though, that we continue to enjoy.

Always there will be spot in my heart that only Jonah can fill. I will have to be content with the memories. And the anticipation for the reunion we will one day enjoy.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Throughout the days of little Jonah's life, there were many expressions of love and remembrance. Flowers, cards, calls, food, treats. Leslie sent this lovely bouquet - all the bright blues brought smiles to us all.

The group at SMCNS brought over a lovely bush that when it blooms attracts Monarch butterflies!! What a lovely thought - bright orange Monarchs reminding us about the brief life of this sweet boy.

The snow white doves at the gravesite were a nice touch - and the children especially loved them.

The "Clifton family" planted a tree in Jonah's honor through The Tree People, a group Dawn was very familiar with, so she was especially pleased.

I have learned from this experience that every expression of love and condolence is appreciated and treasured. I have often sent cards and flowers and food. Now I think I may do it a little more deliberately - knowing that it truly matters to so many.

I seem to see many things differently these days. That may be a good thing too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moms and other great women I know!

There has been a lot of focus these past weeks on Harry and Dawn and their excellent, loving care of Baby Jonah. Others have referred to their wonderful family in general, and that is all true. But this one photo made me think of what a great Mom Dawn is. She is truly devoted and dedicated to her children. She tries to anticipate their needs and meet them. She is meticulous about their physical care and grooming. She sits down and plays with them, thus teaching them how to entertain themselves - which they all do really well.

For the last two weeks she was focused pretty much on Jonah's care - as well she should have been. But she was always aware of each of her children and their particular needs. She was quick to help the rest of us know what we could do for them. And she was quick to reassure them and answer all of their questions. The way they are processing everything is reassuring to the rest of us. She and Harry both prepared them well for this experience in their lives.

I know lots of great moms, and I could make a list that would require a new website, but right now I want to let Dawn know that we are so grateful that she is part of our family. The best thing Harry ever did was find Dawn!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

White Doves and Darling Children

At the funeral service today for Jonah, Harry and Dawn had arranged for white doves to be released. The children each had a turn to let one go, and then the others - about 20 of them - were released. They flew off, circled back, and then headed home.

I know the guy makes money doing this. And maybe it seems contrived or commercial to some. But frankly, it was touching to see these lovely pure white birds fly off. When the first one flew off, I thought of Jonah's spirit, flying off to heaven. I know he is already there, residing once again with our Father in Heaven, but it was comforting to think about what all that means.

And I love this photo of these sweet children, who have been through so much, finding a moment of pleasure and fun in the midst of a somewhat solemn occasion.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saying Good-bye to Baby Jonah

The last two weeks have been a roller-coaster of emotions and feelings. When baby Jonah's birth was imminent, we were afraid that we might not get to hold him or bless him if he did not live long enough. The anxiety as we waited in the waiting room was gut-wrenching.

But as we walked quickly down the hall to the delivery room, we heard the blessed cries of a newborn - and our elation seemed to know no bounds.

The hours and days following were filled with unanswered - and answered questions. Yes, you can take him home. Yes, you will have Hospice there to assist. Yes, Phoebe, Eliza, and Hannah will be able to come and hold him and kiss him.

But how long will this go on? How many times can he stop breathing before he can't go on? How long will his strong heart keep beating?

The questions are moot at this point. But the wonderful memories - even the sad memories - will always be with us - teaching us, reminding us, encouraging us.

As a parent, it was most difficult for me to see our son and his sweet wife suffer as they lovingly devoted every waking hour - giving up many sleeping hours to do so - to their small son. It was a testimony to the depth of love and devotion that we are able to summon up when called upon to do so.

Little Jonah acquitted himself admirably. He came to earth to achieve a body. He persevered. He endured. And then his mission was completed.

He returned and reported - and went on to his next assignment. His strong, sweet spirit still lingers here though - and we are assured that he knows of that love we could only shower on him for a brief time.

And we will share that love with others as a symbol of our remembering.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A little taste of autumn today -

It's a well-known fact that we don't really have seasons here - at least not seasons the way the rest of the world knows them. But we do have changes in weather - changes that excite us because we can wear a sweater or some other "toasty" item that doesn't see much usage!

Today was such a day. It rained most of the day. Not hard or torrential, but gentle, steady, and refreshing. Just what we needed.

And I wore a wool skirt and a sweater!! (Shall I tell you that I wore sandals too? And my feet weren't cold either!!)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Another "good read" you might want to add to your list!

My book group is reading this story for October. A friend recommended it - said, "I got it at the grocery store!"

It's the story of a young midwife who wants to become a surgeon - and no medical school will admit her - because she is woman. So she goes to Washington, D.C. and begins nursing in the hospitals that have been set up there at the beginning of the Civil War. The story mainly focuses on the capital city - and I had not realized how involved D.C. and Northern Virginia were in the initial stages of the war.

The plot has some weak elements, and some of the characterizations are inadequately sketched, but overall it's a good read - let me know what you think!