The air was cold and still as I wrapped myself in the quilt and went out to watch the sunrise, this morning marking the 7th year. It looked promising, unlike so many of the days leading up where the grayness of each day seemed to compound itself into the next.
Today the hints of color were visible well before sunrise, and only gained strength as the moments ticked by. Even the birds took note, their soft song of greeting a welcome good morning to the stillness. Together it seemed, we observed. Watching. Waiting.
All the markers of glory were there. Hues of apricot and rum heightened by gold where rising rays met solid earth. Of all the days, it’s today I need to see you, I thought. And those were the words that formed in my head as I pulled the quilted memories more snugly around me.
I couldn’t have told you whether I was talking to God, Jake or the sunrise, though really, they are all in one for me. But those are the words that formed in my head. “Let me see you.” And in that moment, and I mean in that moment, not even the next, a magnificent bird soared across my line of sight. Not from afar, not from above or below, just there, as if it had been perched, waiting for my ask. It wasn’t 20 feet from me, and maybe 15. For the size of it, the tight circles it made, staying within the columns of the porch, had to be a feat. And yet it soared. It graced me from every angle as time stood still, capturing every sense and sight I had to give.
Answering my ask.
After what could have been 27 seconds or as many hours, it soared over and above and was gone from sight as quickly as it had appeared, leaving me wrapped in its rapt attention to my need. I breathed deeply, willing myself to remember all, pulling the quilt more tightly around me as I gave thanks, turning my attention back to the sunrise.
The colors were still gaining momentum, beginning to spread their own wings and backlighting the mountains against the horizon. More birds had joined the chorus, and all was on easy edge, glorious potential so visible.
But still, it is winter, and each dawning of the day brings the unsettled nature of it to light. Today proves no different as the clouds move in, bulldozing space where the sun would continue its rise.
How thick? How dense? How close? How probable the clouds would steal the morning’s golden light? I couldn’t say. And in that moment, my heart refused to let my mind calculate the possibilities and chose instead, to simply see the beauty of promise in the golden light, if only for a time. And I simply sit with that, my senses full.
I’m thankful for the heart-hold then, as I watch the ambered rays, holding so much light, and yet swallowed up anyway. The clouds giving no way to its glory. Even the birds stop their singing, as if bid silent by a conductor’s baton.
The symbolism sears me. 22 years of a mother’s joy, swallowed up in an instant.
And it strikes me then, the crossroads where I stand. How easy to let the depths of grief wash over me again, swallowing up the color of this day, this life, his life. My mind can so easily begin its familiar delve into darkness. But something changes today as my heart finds breath and refuses to erase the glory of the morning.
Because even though it’s gone, that sunrise held space for a time in all its best. My son held space in this life in all his best. And it’s this where I’ll focus, because my heart reminds me it’s the choice I get to make. The sadness is always there. The split in my before and after. But my memories can live in that in-between, like the ambered-apricot colors of the morning’s sun. Tinged with pain, yes. But when I can let myself remember them in their context, in the moments they were lived, oh there’s a joy in that!
It means staying with the sunrise, letting my sightlines soar with the hawk, not getting swallowed up by the heaviness of what would steal the light. This is where I will find peace today.
Because the cloud cover doesn’t take away the fact that the sun graced the landscape with glory for a time. And I won’t let it steal the joy-filled color Jake’s life gave us either. One is as real as the other, regardless of what tries to swallow it. Underneath the pain are the memories still present. Unblemished. Only as obscured as I let them be.
Like the hawk’s flight showed so clearly, my ask is answered up. And that’s what my heart will hold onto this day.
…Let me see you…
And in the dawn’s light, I did.