A Sky Full of Paper Lanterns

loss, moving on, friends, life, letting goSitting there, immersed in the moment of a baseball game, the ordinary; the laughter of my girls, the deep, baritone voice of my father-in-law excitedly recounting the last play, my husband sitting quietly by my side and then I glanced upwards towards the sky. I don’t know why, I looked to the outfield and then it happened and everything changed.


There on the horizon, just beyond the energy of the ballpark, where people were cheering and happily enjoying a popular summer pastime, in the darkness beyond the cathedral; slowly and one by one, Chinese Paper lanterns lifted higher and higher into the July night sky. For a brief moment, my heart leapt into my throat. I was still and quiet. I did not move. Then I glanced at my husband and gestured in the direction of the soaring, fiery lanterns. He knew.


The sight of so many of those Chinese lanterns floating up to the heavens was glorious and magical, especially in such quantity. I am assuming they were being set free in celebration of some newly married couple’s wedding; their first act of creating their happily ever after. I couldn’t move or breathe. I was still.


Those airy, delicate Chinese Paper lanterns will always remind me of something bittersweet. That is why I found myself sitting there at the ballpark, surrounded by strangers and the smell of popcorn, unsuspectingly overcome with emotion.


Last year, when I miscarried our third child, it emotionally crippled me for most of the following twelve months. I mourned almost constantly. But one day last fall, after my heart had been completely shattered, I received a message on my phone from a friend I’d gotten to know online who had virtually held my hand and helped me through on of the hardest things I have this far had the misfortune of experiencing. I looked at my message and there was a photo of one single beautiful Chinese paper lantern, floating gracefully up into the sky as the sun set at that moment when day meets night. That one single Chinese paper lantern ascending into heaven meant the world to me. I get choked up just thinking about it.


You see, my friend, Jessica Watson, is an angel in my eyes. She made a gesture on my behalf and she helped me to heal. Though, I am not sure I could ever repay that act of kindness. I will always remember the evening, a mom who understood the weight of loss, did the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me. She heard the unspoken words that I could not voice, she felt the pain that comes with losing someone before you truly get to know them, she saw the hole in my existence that this blow had left and without asking, she gave me the gift of gracefully letting go. She may never know what she did for me that evening but I will never forget her or her beautiful and kind heart.


And so as I sat there in the ballpark on Friday night, stunned and transported back to that overwhelming loss, I was reminded that our sweet baby is in heaven and that there are angels here among us. As I watched the paper lanterns ascend, my heart followed into the moonlit sky and then I smiled and heard the excited laughter of my daughters’ beside me, of life going on.

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Comments (22)

Those friends. The ones who know your heart–are such a gift.

That just broke my heart and made me smile at the same time. I really enjoy when I stumble across a post like this that is so real and genuine. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

I am so sorry for your loss! It is amazing how much of a difference little things can make when we need it the most!

I am not sure I have ever seen Chinese Paper lanterns or them being used like this. I loved your story.

I can actually tell that this was a magical experience. I love lights and the balloons would make the night so enjoyable. This must be really nice to bring little people too. They would star and gasp in excitement. Awww!

I’m so sorry for your loss. Jessica sounds like a great friend. Glad that the lanterns now can bring you happiness.

I am sorry for your loss. I was just thinking about releasing paper lanterns for my grandmother who passed, I will take this a nudge to do so.

There are people sent our way to help us in every moment of our life. It made me cry, I am glad you are healed and moving on..

What a terrible loss as well as a sweet gesture. Every year we let some of these fly upwards in memory of my niece.

I am so sorry!! I hope you can find healing and I love your paper lantern idea. So beautiful.

I am glad that your friend was there for you during the difficult times. I can’t imagine going through with a loss. But you are right your baby is with you always. 🙂

I’m so sorry for your loss. I love the idea of lanterns though. I’ve never done it, but I know many who have. It looks so beautiful.

I can’t imagine going through anything like that and I’m so sorry you went through that. It’s amazing the people who come into our lives at times they do. There are definitely angels on earth. Hugs to you girl!

I am so sorry for your loss, the image with the lanterns is just so stunning and beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

I am so sorry for your loss. I’m glad you have your friend, Jessica. It’s amazing how a simple act can heal your heartache.

Even though your story was sad, it was beautiful. I’ve only miscarried one child, but I understand your feeling of loss, and I’m thankful you had a friend who came along beside you and helped you through the most difficult time.

This is such a beautiful bitter sweet story. I am actually teared up because on the 4 th of July, the Chinese lantern is what we released for my young 19 yr old, beautiful niece we lost back in March last year. Every time I see one in the air I think of her now. Thanks for sharing your heart felt story and feelings along with the gratitude you feel for your dear friend.

I love those Chinese lanterns – they are so pretty. I’m sorry about your loss. But I’m glad that you have a great friend who is always there for you. You are blessed to have her.

I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s amazing how people can heal us and help us through with the smallest of gestures that mean to the most to us. – yolonda

So sorry for your loss… So glad that you have a great friend who always there for you, especially in the most difficult time.

Sending Hugs your way. I am so sorry for your loss. The tradition of paper lanterns is a very beautiful one indeed.

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