Silas

AG Painting

My dear readers, thank you for reading, commenting on, and sharing my last post, The Things I Remember. It’s feels like the most important thing I’ve ever written.

I didn’t exactly plan to write that when I did; it’s something that I’ve tried to write about for years. Every time I started, I stopped. It just never sounded right. But then, rather suddenly, that post came to me. And when it did, I felt an urgent need to get to my computer to write it down before it was gone from my mind.

The image in this post is a painting by my friend, AG. I was at her house and saw it before it was finished. I commented on how beautiful it was. I didn’t tell her why, but I loved it so much because it reminded me of B and Silas. To me, it is B and Silas. AG gave it to me after she’d finished it because she said it “spoke to me” and that I should have it. It hangs in my bedroom.

In what will be my last post about Silas, I want to share the eulogy that Mr. FamilyNature wrote and gave at Silas’ funeral. His words are what started the healing process for me, and I think for many others.

Silas Declan wasn’t so much expected, or anticipated. He was loved. Because we loved him we already felt that he was a part of our lives, and of our family. By his very existence he had changed forever the lives of his parents, his family, and the circle of friends who help define their lives. Because of the simple fact of his life, I believe that he is with us right now. Not so much in a spiritual sense, though many of us believe in that, but rather in a much more real, even tangible way.

When we begin to love someone for the first time we don’t borrow that love from another part of our lives. New love is created. New doorways in our hearts are opened, and a new capacity to love is invented. When we made plans for Silas, when we built him into our lives, our futures – as we thought about him – we laid down new pathways in our brains, simply as a function of our physiology. Those changes in our hearts and minds are what will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

Silas was, and is, loved most intensely by his mother, who carried him within her for so long. This is, I think, simply a reality of human life. His dad loves him as only a dad can. The rest of us, in our own ways, each made room for him in our hearts – perhaps without even knowing it – and loved him in our own ways. The volume of grief in this house, and indeed beyond this house, is a function, and a measure, of the love that was created by Silas’ life.

Even though he was never born to us as we were expecting, and although his parents were the only people to ever hold him, and only a few others even saw him, his impact on us is not diminished. It is just different from what we were expecting. At the moment of his conception his parents’ lives were changed forever. Over time, so many of us began to experience other changes, as we adapted to the new person in our lives. That he died doesn’t put us back to where we began. Rather, it puts us on a new course. The impact of Silas on our lives doesn’t disappear, but it does change. We are none of us the same as we were before Silas. We are all changed. He changed us. The love that he created, that we created for him, doesn’t disappear. Rather, we continue in our lives with a new, greater capacity for love. Our grief doesn’t close the doors he opened, but instead opens new doors. Perhaps through our grief we may come to understand ourselves and our lives better than before. Relationships that we have taken for granted for our entire lives suddenly become stronger and more meaningful. People whom we have taken for granted step into the breach and take care of us when we need them the most. The value of friends and loved ones, although always assumed, is bared before us in stark, even painful, relief …. Indeed, in this past week B and L have been touched by the words and actions of their friends and loved ones.

None of this is about looking for a silver lining. There is no silver lining. This is about measuring the real impact on our lives of little Silas. Because we loved him, because he changed us, we are all going to carry not just his memory with us for the rest of our lives, but also his influence. He has brought our community together. He has touched us all and made us better. And so, not just today, but for the rest of our lives, we will remember him, we will carry our love for him, and we will honour him. Thank you.

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