Why I Love Wish Lanterns

Lanternfest -4The movie Tangled came out the fall after I gave birth to my stillborn baby Luca. I remember sitting in the theater crying more than once as the king and queen grieved the loss of their baby girl.

My heart was raw at the time. When they entered the balcony to light lanterns for the princess’s birthday tears welled in my eyes. They could not forget their child and longed to have her still.

Lanternfest -1I felt exactly the same way.

Ever since then that movie has been dear to my heart. I have dreamed of seeing the floating lights. Each year on Luca’s birthday we send some to him in heaven but we have never sent more than a couple of dozen on our own.

Last Saturday my dream of seeing the dark night brought to life by countless floating lanterns came true.

I sat in an open field with thousands of others gazing to the heavens as light after light soared into the darkness. It was magical.

For the first time in a long time I felt alive.

For seven years I have been changed. Sure, I have become better – more compassionate, more understanding, more sympathetic. But I have also become worse – more anxious, more sad, more scared.

I no longer think that me and my loved ones are invincible. That has terrified me more than anything. Knowing that I could lose someone and feel the deep, dark pain of loss has changed me.

Lanternfest -10I have guarded my heart.

I have had good times and I have been happy the past seven years, but I have been living a life distracted. I’ve been busying myself to keep from thinking of my loss. I have distanced myself from close family and friends. All to keep from feeling pain or the possibility of pain.

But the walls have started to come down. I have spent the last little while working on internalizing my grief. Working on thinking through the pain.

Watching those lanterns soar to the heavens I sat and felt peace. Peace that I am living my life despite the pain. Peace that I am surrounded by people I love. Peace that I can do hard things.

I still have a long way to go but I am slowly starting to come back to life. A life, I know, that is not only full of sorrow and heartache but also joy, excitement and love.

A life that is filled with incredible moments like the one where me and my husband and kids stood in absolute awe as ours and thousands of others of wishes floated illuminated to the heavens.

Incredible.

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