Of Birthdays and Balloons

Today is the anniversary of the birth of my first born son. A beautiful, bright eyed boy, the first grandson on my side of the family, born on my father's birthday no less. It was a joyous day celebrated with baby gifts, flowers, and balloons.

Now his birthday is bittersweet. I still give thanks for the miracle of his birth, and the wonderful time we shared together. Thanks for the good and loving son he was. But it is now a day mostly filled with sadness for he is no longer with me in a physical sense.

Balloons are used to mark many occasions in life. After the funeral service we all stepped outside the chapel, and a bouquet of balloons in a rainbow of colors was brought from the front of the chapel where it had been placed by his grandmother. They were passed out, one by one, to brother and sister, dear friends and cousins. His only sister, my daughter, received the white balloon. A poem was read and the balloons were released to the heavens.

Part of the poem read:  Colors to match every emotion I had,

                        Angry, loving, thoughtful or sad.
                        A lone white one for the purity of birth,

                        Many more, red , blue, purple and green

                        for all the sorrow and joy that I've seen.

All the colored balloons soared to the skies as we watched, fast becoming smaller and smaller as they rose. But the white balloon caught a down draft and swooped down to touch the ground, rolling and bouncing along the grass. Gasps of amazement could be heard throughout the gathered throng of his loved ones and friends.

The white balloon rose a little and caught under the branches of an ornamental crab apple tree where it stayed for a while, and from there lifted and danced just above our heads and finally rose again and lodged under the eaves of the chapel. By now the other balloons were nearly out of sight in the distance, but all eyes were transfixed on the white balloon. It stayed under the eaves for several minutes and then suddenly burst forth from under the eaves and soared straight up to the heavens. A collective sigh escaped each of us in unison.

It was as if we had witnessed a very special event of great significance. The white balloon representing the purity of his birth had given us a reason to smile on this sad day. Even now, twelve years later, people will remind me of the white balloon and of how it seemed it did not want to leave us.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Happy Birthday son. I love you both so much. I hold you lovingly in my heart until we meet again on the other side of the veil, when my pause in this parenthesis in eternity is done.

                      Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
                      The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
                      Hath had elsewhere its setting,
                      And cometh from afar:
                      Not in entire forgetfulness,
                      And not in utter nakedness,
                      But trailing clouds of glory do we come
                      From God, who is our home.     -William wordsworth

"It is said- and it is true- that just before we are born, a cavern angel holds his finger to our mouths and whispers, " Hush. Don't tell what you know."
This is why we have a cleft on our upper lips and remember nothing of where we came from."- from Prince Ombra by Roderick MacLeish

datura datura
56-60, F
12 Responses Feb 27, 2009

The Traveler<br />
By James Dillet Freeman<br />
<br />
<br />
He has put on invisibility.<br />
Dear Lord, I cannot see—<br />
But this I know, although the road<br />
ascends<br />
And passes from my sight,<br />
That there will be no night;<br />
That You will take him gently by the<br />
hand<br />
And lead him on<br />
Along the road of life that never ends,<br />
And he will find it is not death but<br />
dawn.<br />
I do not doubt that You are there as<br />
here,<br />
And You will hold him dear.<br />
<br />
Our life did not begin with birth,<br />
It is not of the earth;<br />
And this that we call death, it is no<br />
more<br />
Than the opening and closing of a<br />
door—<br />
And in Your house how many rooms<br />
must be<br />
Beyond this one where we rest<br />
momently.<br />
<br />
Dear Lord, I thank You for the faith<br />
that frees,<br />
The love that knows it cannot lose its<br />
own;<br />
The love that, looking through the<br />
shadows, sees<br />
That You and he and I are ever one!

i just can't help but read this poem over and over...

Thank you, S. I do feel him watching over me.

Thank you for sharing D..... not an easy thing for parent to put to paper ,such wisdom from his grandmother to show that he was watching over you ......

You are so right about being brought to a place when the time is right. This morning we heard that the son of one of the families that work for us, was killed in an accident last night. Two of his friends were injured, another son of another family that work here. <br />
I am so sorry for your loss, all of you, I cannot imagine it. I have three sons, one is emigrating an ocean away with his 2 baby sons, in the coming months and that is hard enough!<br />
My heart is so sore right now, but your story is full of such beauty and grace and mercy, and that comes from One who understands far better than any of us. Thank you for sharing this X@

Thank you, Lampwick. I share those same thoughts especially at the holidays. There is always an empty chair.<br />
I am so sorry for your loss. I have often thought that those of us who have lost a child belong to a fraternity that none of us ever wanted to join. But we can truly understand the pain of our fellow members.

Thank you so much Datura for your moving and heartfelt story.<br />
<br />
I too lost my firstborn, truly lost since his body was never found, when he was sixteen. I can understand the horrible pain, and the tempered gratitude of having someone so special in our lives, but only as long as we were allowed to. I guess I thought it would last forever, then it was gone.<br />
<br />
This time of year, during the holidays, I always wonder. About seeing him become a man. About a daughter-in-law and grandchildren I will never have. About all the "what ifs'.<br />
<br />
So, even though years have passed, you have my deepest condolences. And the sympathy of someone else who understands the burden and joy of memory.

Thank you, Swan. I love hearing of the powerful experiences of others that affirm my belief that love never dies. As I said in my previous comment, I believe there are no coincidences and you came across my story and then shared yours at a meaningful time for me when an uplifting story is particularly appreciated.

"...I hold you lovingly in my heart until we meet again on the other side of the veil, when my pause in this parenthesis in eternity is done..." <br />
<br />
Oh Datura, I am just finding this story and am very touched by the white balloon! I really relate to the sense of being a "pause in this parenthesis in eternity"...and I know this is a time when the veil thins between realms right now, for you. <br />
<br />
May you and yours be warmed in the shelter of the love you've known...<br />
<br />
I recently had a powerful experience regarding the death of my brother many years ago and a surprise that came from an unexpected quarter, which I decided to share as a story here, after reading this story of yours. Its called "A Letter From Beyond the Veil" and can be found in the experience group of 'I feel we are all connected' at: <br />
<br />
<a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/uw.php?e=725624" target="ep_blank">http://www.experienceproject.com/uw.php?e...</a>

Thank you for the Irving poem, SG. It truly does encapsulate my belief that he is worth my tears and they hold a sacredness.<br />
This week marks the thirteenth anniversary of his passing and brings to a close the month I now dread. The other months of the year seem much easier for me, but each September brings the heartache freshly to me, it seems.<br />
<br />
I also am a firm believer that there are no coincidences in this life. You have arrived at EP bringing a breath of fresh air and a pleasant distraction to my sad thoughts. Thank you for that! And thank you for your prayers.

I have tears in my eyes from your story...tears from your joy and heartache. Thank you.

This made me cry.<br />
Thank you for sharing and best wishes for warm loving vibes on this bittersweet day.

Oh so beautiful!<br />
<br />
Thank you for sharing it Datura!<br />
<br />
I'm sure that your son is smiling down upon you. Your own personal guardian angel.