Thursday, February 06, 2014

Words for my boy

Here are the words I spoke for Connor and to Connor today.  I'm so glad there was so much love surrounding us, and him, today.

Thank you all for coming here today to share in our sadness and our joy.  Connor is the magnetic force that binds us all here today, the star that pulls us into his orbit.   His birth brought me inexpressible joy.  Too soon after that joy, grief came, and they began a strange co-existence.   I sat in the hospital room with him and grieved for the life he would never have – the friends, the running and playing, the falling in love, and the, well, the everything that each of our lives have been.  I felt small, and helpless – but he was smaller, and more helpless.  So I hitched up my pants, dug in my heels, and started to fight back out.  He was a fighter, and we could not be shown up. 
How wrong I was to grieve for those things that day.  Everyone who met him, everyone – they just fell in love.  He had more love come to him than anyone I’ve ever known.  He formed the most amazing universe of loving people around him.  First Lee and I, then grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends.  Then the doctors.  Their staffs.  His therapists.  The daycare staff.  Our nanny.  Then his teachers and aides, his classmates, the schoolmates in other classes.  It just kept expanding, like an explosion of stars.
He helped us welcome his brothers, our brave, marvelous sons Drew and Tucker, and quietly educated them in compassion, and kindness, and love.  Their universes were expanded by their proximity to Connor.  And Drew, and Tucker, when you went on vacation with Daddy, Connor spent two days looking around for you and calling out in his own way for you.  He knew you were gone, and he missed you both, and the life you swirled around him.
In this universe around Connor, we had joy and grief moving all the time, shifting back and forth with a fluid grace that had no explanation.  And like any universe, there were–there are–mysteries.  We do not know why the seizures started.  Or why he outlived the initial, grim estimates of his lifespan, though we are grateful for the years we had.  We don’t know why it was his time on Saturday.  But Connor has no explanation.  Connor doesn’t need an explanation.  He came to us and lived in his way; the purpose of him was to bring us together. 

I miss my little son, but I still feel his presence, his gravity binding me to all of you, binding us together, and I know he did this to make sure we all had someone whose hand we could hold while we ponder this last mystery of him.  Thank you for allowing his gravity to bring you to him, and to us.  Thank you for joining us to grieve, and to celebrate, and to ponder.  


Unknown said...

Beautiful and well-written.

S Yoder

Adam Bertapelle said...

Colleen, I was so saddened this week to learn about Connor's passing. Although we clearly fell out of touch, I can't help but feel for you, Lee and your whole family. As a fellow parent, I can't even imagine losing anybody but I can only guess that if Connor had even a fraction of your spirit (and of your mom's and sisters'), he has touched many. From what little I had heard, it sounds like Connor had something similar to SMA, a disease that affects another family we know. I'm sure it has taken a lot of strength to get through not just this week, but these past 10 years. It sounds like you and Lee are wonderful parents, and I hope this week brings some relief and comfort to go with your sadness. Much love to you and your family, always so very kind and generous to me. I hope there's been lots of John Denver playing this week. -Adam