Tuesday, May 29, 2012


On Memorial Day I didn't know what to take to Jonah's grave.  I felt like I was supposed to take something.  That is what a good grieving mother would do, right?  Surely I could create something meaningful, or at least beautiful, in remembrance of my only child.  Maybe I could take one of his toys, or a picture of our family.  I thought about buying some blue balloons or replacing the wind-worn pinwheels that line his headstone.  Maybe flowers would bring some life and beauty to our little cement and marble slab.  For days I mulled over my responsibilities and desires, and came to the simple conclusion that grave decoration is not for me.

Don't get me wrong.  My heart is healed and strengthened by the small heartfelt mementos that I find at Jonah's grave.  They are evidence to me that you have visited my sweet boy and that you still think of him.  I hope to continually find beautiful little treasures when I visit Jonah's spot.

But there is something so fleeting about the gifts I bring.  I see how they are worn and weathered from one visit to the next. The pinwheels are covered with grass clippings and spin more slowly each day.  The little toys gradually lose their bright color in glare of the sun.  Even the most vibrant flowers wilt and die.  Each item I bring sends a subtle message that death is persistent and inescapable.  I've decided that I do not need more reminders.  I want instead to create a memorial that will last; one that will withstand the eroding forces of time.

So Monday morning, instead of taking flowers to the cemetery, I began to climb Maple Mountain.  I hiked until my legs wobbled and my lungs burned.  I pushed and pulled myself up patches of snow and crumbling rocks.  I tried to stop and noticed the life around me...small purple sedum creeping through the crusty snow, and white aspens towering above us.  After a particularly difficult and steep section I looked up the slope to see Jordan's hand reaching down to help me.  I felt so much love for him and thought about the difficult mountain we climb together each day.  As we approached the summit I kept my eyes on his steady steps, until the intensity of the incredible view lifted my gaze.   

This is the memorial I want to give my precious Jonah.  The lasting gift I can give him is the choice to live a good and abundant life.  I want to climb more mountains.  I want to see the beauty that surrounds me.  I want to spend more joyful and peaceful moments with his amazing father.  I want the joy I felt in being Jonah's mother to radiate into my new life.

At the end of our arduous day, after scarfing down pizza, we went to visit Jonah's grave.  I sat in the cool green grass while Jordan washed and swept the letters of Jonah's name.  We admired the sweet and simple gifts that were left in memory of our little boy.  We brought nothing tangible with us, but carried a feeling of genuine love for each other and for him.  And when we left I took the beautiful flowers that decorated his grave with me, to plant in our garden as a living reminder of our beautiful Jonah.

 Our little mountain climber


  1. I love that your hand appears to catch him . . . you are always there for him. And we watched this video about 15 times, literally