Monday, December 12, 2016

In the Sunset

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.


  1. Where did my daughter come from? And where did she go? It's a question that YOU, Brooke, answered for me four years ago when my grief was fresh and I was grasping at the stories of other baby loss moms in order to make some sense of everything. "Into the everywhere" is the answer. And so, we can find our babies anywhere, and everywhere, because that's where they came from and that's where they returned to.

  2. OMG. Brooke...those pictures. Some people say there are no coincidences and believe what you will...but there's no way that was not Eliza, someone, telling you there's Something More. That she's out there, that she's here. All at once. This one stops me. Makes me want to believe they're always just that close. Also touched by allmypretty's comment.

  3. Touched by all of this! Eliza is definitely in the love.

    Sometimes I have to put the skeptic in me aside and just try to allow myself to believe that Lydie has a hand in the beautiful coincidences that happen in our lives. There sure have been a lot of them.

    You have wonderful friends!

  4. What a beautiful post and beautiful connection

  5. We have come to refer to the sunsets as Evie's finger paintings. It comforts us to imagine her preparing a masterpiece for us from Heaven -- the entire sky her canvas -- and then proudly showing us her handiwork at the day's end.

    Like everyone has said, I too was struck by the likeness between the picture in the book and the photo your friend sent -- same same. Your Eliza is here, wherever 'there' is, and everywhere...and most especially, in the hearts of those who love her. I'm glad you have such compassionate, thoughtful friends <3

  6. What a moment! The book (wonderful and now I want to find it), the gift, and then that exact moment chiming with another moment of love, her everywhere. xo