On Eliza's birthday, my friend Kristin dropped off a gift for Zuzu and Coco while we were at the candlelight vigil. It was this book:
It features a child wondering about where people go when they die. This has been a hot topic of conversation around our house. We talk about how Eliza is in heaven with our grandparents, but also in our hearts. Zuzu has asked me questions recently about how Eliza got to heaven--did she fly there? The whole thing is confusing (for me, so probably for her, too).
I also like the way the book imagines people who have died visiting those they love in different natural phenomena. In our family, we see red cardinal birds as a special symbol of our loved ones who have passed, and I always talk about how sunsets and lights breaking through clouds help us remember that the ones we love are with us always. I like the way the book offers those ideas as questions from a child rather than prescriptions, which invites us to have conversations about it.
Inside, Kristin wrote a short note to the girls and said the sunset page was their favorite. The page that precedes it is imagining the beautiful parts of nature in which we can see our loved ones, and this page continues that thought:
We'd just gotten to this sunset page when my phone binged that I had a text.
My friend Anna, who lives on the beach in Virginia, had sent a thinking-of-Eliza text and included this photo:
Even as I look at those images side-by-side on my computer screen, it makes my eyes a little teary. Is Eliza in that sunset? I wish I knew.
What I do know is that she is in the hearts of two dear friends of mine, who were each thinking of her on her birthday and reaching out to our family in a gesture of kindness that overlapped in such a beautiful way I could hardly believe it. A sign? A wink? I don't know.
But I felt the love. And of course that's Eliza.