Monday, August 6, 2007
It's a funny thing about reading blogs: You find yourself fully immersed in the worlds of complete strangers. So much of it is anonymous. I tend to think of it like a long, long hallway of viewing rooms with one-way mirrors that allow you to peek in and see what's going on in other people's worlds. If you're inclined to make a connection, you can press the little button on the wall, speak into the mic, and say a few words, but then, usually, you slink back into the dark silence for a while until you're moved to say something else. In my own little exhibition hall I'm just kind of flailing about, doing my own thing. I venture down the hall every now and then when something compels me to. There is humor. There is the banal. And sometimes, there is tragedy.
Right now there is a mother going through perhaps the worst thing a mother can endure - the loss of her child, Hannah. I came to her blog in the typical way, through a link on someone else's blog, and have cried tears with everyone else who reads her words. I have left comments here and there, but not as many as I wish I had. I find myself returning to her blog time and time again and it was only recently that I realized why I go back so often: I want to know Hannah; I want to memorize her. And now, I want to be part of the army of readers that keeps her memory alive, through thoughts and actions and, quite simply, through life.
Hannah's mom Rachel is very clear on the fact that Hannah simply sparkled. She loved to be fancy. Her memorial service was a festive affair with mardi gras beads and feather boas - what a sight it must have been! The world most certainly sparkled more because Hannah was in it, and it should continue to sparkle more because she was here. With that in mind, I took Eli on a shopping trip. We went to the party store to find ourselves some sparkle of our own.
I've mentioned before that Eli is decidedly not fancy. It's not his style to to make a spectacle of himself in any way. He'll dance, but only until you point out that he's dancing and then it's done. He hasn't yet found a love of costumes or pretend. But boy did he help me find the sparkle that day.
While we were gathering our objects of glitter, something else caught my eye: a rainbow pinwheel of sorts. The reason it caught my eye is that we had been searching for one for quite a while. Another family in our neighborhood had one on their deck for the longest time and it was one of Eli's favorite landmarks on our walks. Sometimes we would just stop across the street from their house to watch it spin for a while. And then one day it disappeared. As two year olds do, Eli did not forget about it. In fact, it became even more a focus of our conversations because it wasn't there. You would think it a relatively easy task to find one of our own, but that quickly proved not to be the case - until we went shopping for sparkles, and then there it was, just waiting for us.
It now sits in our yard, under the shade of a pine tree, next to the hammock. As we put it into the ground, I told Eli that a little girl named Hannah must have wanted us to have a rainbow of our own. We named it Hannah's Rainbow.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet, Hannah is here in Massachusetts. She's in the extra bit of sparkle in Eli's play. She's in her beautiful rainbow as we rest peacefully in our hammock. She's in our thoughts. She won't be forgotten.
I decided to write about this today because Rachel, Hannah's mother, wrote that her own blog has become a source of comfort for her, that the comments from her readers are helping her get through. It seemed to be time to come out from the shadows to show how we celebrated a little girl we never got to meet, but will always remember.