Luca Is A Tree

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“Luca is a tree, right mom?” my innocent 2-year-old asked me last week.

She was playing with her best friend when they stopped to look at our angel baby’s picture in my bedroom. She was telling her friend that she had a brother who died. And that he was a tree.

I couldn’t blame her. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy planting a tree for Luca the past couple of years. There have actually been a few trees planted in the same spot because we haven’t had much luck in them surviving.

So it’s probably normal for her to associate Luca with a tree.

I smiled and told her that he was a baby, not a tree. Then she and her friend went on playing.

And I sat back and sighed.

At that moment it really hit me that she has no idea who Luca is.

Sure she’s seen his pictures. She knows we are sad that he isn’t with us. We tell her he’s in heaven and that we’ll see him again. But she has no memories of being with him. She wasn’t born yet. Neither does my 5-year-old. He wasn’t around yet either.

Honestly, my 9-year-old probably doesn’t have any strong memories either even though he was there the day we said hello and goodbye to his baby brother. He was less than two when Luca died.

My oldest can remember bits and pieces, but he was only three. Also too young to have those images and memories cemented into his mind.

It’s amazing to me that something that has impacted me so strongly, something that has changed my life, and therefore my family, is something they won’t remember directly.

They’ll only remember him through me, through pictures and through the acts we do in his memory each year.

I try not to let Luca’s death weigh me down. I try to look at all the good things in my life. But moments like this strike me and make my heart ache. How can one member of our family only be a faded memory?

It’s sad.

I wish he were here. I wish we we making constant memories together; that he was playing and causing mischief with his siblings. I wish he was an active part of our lives.

But since he isn’t, I’ll have to be the one to keep his memory alive. Keep his pictures around. Keep serving in his memory.

Otherwise my children won’t be able to remember their brother – who is just as important to me as each of my living children.

So today I’ll take my kids to the park for play group. We’ll walk to the edge of the play ground and stand under Luca’s tree. I’ll tell them how much I love their angel brother. I’ll tell them about his round, chubby cheeks and his curly red hair. I’ll tell them how he would kick and play in my tummy whenever I sat near the piano and music was played.

I’ll tell them how I kissed his face and said goodbye. And I’ll tell them how I can’t wait until we all get to see him again. Until we are together forever.

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