Tomorrow is Thomas’ birthday. He will be 11 years old. Or he would be if he were alive. Instead he is in heaven and, as Sister Bede once said, “He is all grown up.”

I find it quite easy to visualise Thomas as an 11 year old. This is the age Duncan was when Thomas died. He’d be growing like a weed, his head not far off being level with mine. He’d probably have light brown hair sticking up all over the place, a face sprinkled with a few freckles and no doubt, the Elvis grin.

I think about having an 11 year old son. If he were here with us, what would Thomas be like? Would he enjoy stirring up his sisters and being a pest? No doubt he’d have a messy bedroom. Would he share it with a pet rat or two? For certain, he’d eat twice as much food as me in half as much time, and he’d wear his way through a pair of jeans in a month. He’d be an altar boy. But would he serve reverently and carefully? How many bones would he have broken and how many times would we have visited the hospital? How many hugs would he have given me? And how many times would he have said, “I love you Mum”?

Thomas is a very real part of our family. But we don’t really think of him as being 11. Somehow in our imaginations he hasn’t grown up. We still see him as that beautiful, precious, newborn baby with the wispy hair and the tiny fingers we last held shortly before his funeral.

One day we will meet Thomas again in heaven. I often think about this when reciting the Anima Christi. When I get to the lines:

At the hour of my death call me
And bid me come to Thee
So that with Thy saints
I may praise Thee forever and ever…

I often imagine Thomas waiting with Jesus to welcome me into heaven. This is what I see: Thomas is all grown up. He is a handsome young man. I worry we won’t recognise each other but then he says, “I love you, Mum!” And I know all the pain, the grief and the suffering are finally over.


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  1. that was beautiful.. Thomas is praying for you as you know. thanks for sharing this story on Thomas' birthday..May God Bless you and your family, today with his peace and joy.

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  2. Thank you, Leanne. You are so kind to take the time to make such a welcome comment. God bless.

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  3. My sister lost her first daughter to SIDS at 5 months- so we see her as a 5 month old but also as a ten year old

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  4. Thank you for sharing my story. My primary aim in starting this blog was to connect with other bereaved parents. Grief can be so lonely and sometimes we need to share each others' experiences in order to keep going. You are so kind taking time to visit my blog. Thank you!

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