So my last post got people worried, I guess. I apologize. I never intended that. Much like my old life, my new life throws curve balls, and sometimes they come faster and closer than I can process.
Last Friday, Connor's last school held a dedication ceremony for a tree planted for him. My dear friend Joe donated the tree and had it planted, a Little Gem Southern Dwarf Magnolia tree. The morning of the ceremony, the first bud opened on the tree.
His teacher, Liz, met us at the door and walked us over to the courtyard. The day was overcast, but as we stepped out, the clouds broke apart and the sun shone brightly on those gathered. The principal, Dan. Two of his former teachers, Bianca and Rachael. A few of his therapists. Parents and current students from the FLS class, many of whom he shared class with for 5 years. A group of 5th graders - his technical classmates based on age. Liz stood on the small stage and read a lovely piece, talking about the team putting him on the bus the last day he went to school at the end of the day, and him looking back at each of his teachers, aides, therapists. No one knew at the time that it was his good-bye to them. I hadn't known that he'd done that until that moment. Then she introduced the 5th graders, and referred to them as the chorus, and they stood up and sang a beautiful version of "Times Like These" by Foo Fighters. The chorus included one of his classmates from Ashlawn, his first school. Two of his Barrett & Glebe (and Tuckahoe, come to think of it!) classmates, took rhythmic gymnastics ribbons and danced. We bawled. BAWLED. We hadn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't that. Tissues were passed to us.
After they were done, Lee and I each thanked everyone, and then added a small amount of dirt from his garden at home to the roots of the tree, so he could truly be a part of the growth.
Today, I dropped the other boys at school and thought back to that event, and what struck me was that people who were there participated because they love him. Currently, actively. One of the nicest things I consider now is that despite his absence, the love we feel isn't in the past, and that is an awesome thing. We LOVE him, and it will never be that we LOVED him. It's in this moment, every moment, and like the sun coming out on his ceremony, that brightens my day.