This morning I saw Thomas…
My bedroom door opened and Gemma-Rose appeared. Without a word she slipped under the quilt next to me and snuggled up close. Her deliciously cool skin touched mine as we lay in the warmth of the bed. I stroked her hair back off her forehead and I looked at her profile.
And I saw Thomas.
There is something about Gemma-Rose’s nose and her upper lip and the distance in between. I saw the same profile when I held Thomas. When he was disconnected from all the tubes and wires of his life support system, that beautiful nose and upper lip and that distance in between appeared.
Imogen also has the same profile. For months after Thomas died, I’d gaze at my five year old daughter trying to recapture our son. I could no longer look upon our baby, so I looked at his sister instead. I looked and I remembered and I tried to hold onto the picture of his face.
And this morning I saw Thomas again.
Our children are never really gone. The experience is never truly over. God always has one more gift, one more surprise to bestow upon us, if we keep looking.
“It’s a pity we have to get up,” I said to Gemma-Rose. “I could stay snuggled up to you all day. I could hug you forever.”
“We don’t have to get up,” she replied. “We could stay here all day.”
I remember snuggling up to Thomas. I couldn’t hug him forever. Eventually I had to ring the bell for the nurse. I kissed him and laid him in her arms and said goodbye.
“We have to get up. We have jobs to do,” I said to Gemma-Rose.
“We could let the others do those,” she said with a cheeky grin.
“That would be lazy. No. Up you get.” I reluctantly disentangled myself from my daughter. Unfortunately, we can’t hug anyone forever.
But we can love. We can love forever.
And we should stop and hug and savour the moment, as often as we can. For if we do, we might just observe a little gift from God.
This morning I hugged Gemma-Rose. This morning I saw Thomas.