My son, Christopher, was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Eleven years later, he was rushed to heaven, unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, it was enough that I had to live on without his presence. There was no choice. But how I’d miss celebrating his special birthday. Everyone noticed St. Patrick’s Day. Especially me. I couldn’t hide from it.
As his day approached, I recalled Christopher’s favorite cake based on the blockbuster movie, “Jaws.” White cake cut like a big fish, frosted gray, sharp dorsal fin pointing up, and open, red-frosted-mouth lined with candy corn. Plus, le piece de resistance? A borrowed Barbie-doll leg jutting from its jaws. Chris raved about it. Horrifying, yet tasty. I smiled at the weird memory.
What was the plan going forward? Of course, I could have baked him a cake after he was gone. Maybe had a party. But I knew such an action would only break my own heart. So on St. Paddy’s day, I started surprising my daughter Heidi with a lunch out, a movie date, or a special gift. In her brother’s memory.
The years passed and our little celebrations became smaller until our faithful observation shrank to sending one another special St. Patrick’s Day cards to honor Christopher. Heidi often made one for me by hand – a treasure, indeed.
A few weeks ago, a late Christmas present arrived. A new Nicholas Mosse, TALL mug to add to my tiny collection. Gifted from my daughter and her family. I like to allow things or places or situations to mark something significant. For me, it’s like building an altar in the field…”so I’ll remember.”*
This mug was useful and beautiful and a quality thing to mark both my kids. The green clovers remind me of the St. Patrick’s Day birth of my son, Christopher, heaven bound far too soon. The deep blue flower represents my Heidi’s September birthday. The flower’s bright yellow center? My girl’s sunny disposition, delighting everyone. And edged all around? Hearts to represent Momma love.
All these years Heidi has lovingly kept her big brother’s memory alive on his special St. Patrick’s birthday, remembering him with me so I didn’t have to remember him alone. Now she’s found a way to mention him without saying a word. Every time I take tea in that lovely Nicholas Mosse mug.
I store a secret in my heart. And it’s this: Christopher – my son who lives anew in heaven and Heidi – my daughter living nearby, are my pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. They shine into my life, wherever they reside. And I am doubly blessed.
*Words from “Altar in the Field” by Bob Bennett. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owtYBRIVq14