Sitting 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.