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