Moving On and Holding On

Today, Jason and I went with Noah's class to the movie theatre for their end-of-year class field trip. The movie was Disney's "Inside Out".

My goodness, I wish the movie trailer had been a little more specific about the plot.

The concept was brilliant, and the team at Pixar put out an another exceptional piece of work with a lot of heart. In fact, the "heart" was the main focus, as the main character was an 11-year-old girl named Riley--and all the personified emotions inside her head.

The loss she experiences in the movie--a major move with her family--is pretty big for someone her age. But since the emotions of loss are so universal, regardless of the type or the magnitude, Jason and I found plenty of fodder to draw tears to our eyes as we thought of our own sweet little Levi. Noah too, for that matter.

However, the movie illustrates brilliantly how joy and sadness work together in times of loss to help one move on.

Levi was once a source of joy in our house. Yes, his precociousness, stubbornness, and adventurousness were also occasion for plenty of anxiety, stress, and frustration--but he also brought so much energy and happiness and vitality to each and every day.

Now, when we think of those parts of him we loved most, we get sad. Sometimes crushingly so.

I can see why some people would choose to make a shrine out of their child's room when they lose one, leaving everything exactly the way it was. It is tempting to not get rid of a single thing, to leave it all just how they left it. Parting with the things seems like choosing to forget.

And truthfully? I'm terrified of the things about him that I am forgetting. My memory is so full of holes, punched there from this tremendous grief, that I already know that I have forgotten things that I wish I could hold on to tightly forever. Every day that passes feels like it is taking me one day farther away from my boy.

I didn't take enough pictures. And not nearly enough videos. As memories occur to me, I am scribbling them down in a desperate attempt to retain them. But really, it was only in the last few months that he had begun to do the really fun types of things that seem significant enough to stick out in my mind. Other memories are blurring together in general patterns of things he did.

And I hate it. I hate that we don't get to make any more memories with him. There weren't nearly enough, but that's all we have.

In our small home, we don't have the space to make a shrine.

Jabin and Levi had shared a room. But since Jabin didn't want to sleep alone (and Jude couldn't wait to have a room to himself again), Noah immediately moved into Levi's bed. I thought it would be hard for him, but he said it would be a good way to remember Levi. He still has Levi's blanket in there with him.

The bedrooms are small, so over the last week I have been forcing myself to pack up Levi's clothes and other things we no longer need. I have to take it slowly, as each new step feels like letting another piece of him go--and it tears at the wound. It's difficult to see what you're doing when your eyes are clouded with tears.

I have taken the photographs that we had printed and framed for the funeral and found space for them on the walls around our home. That, and a few toys that were special to him, are all the shrine we can afford.

Those too-few precious memories are all we have left to hang onto.

It is tempting to wallow. There have been many days where I wanted to be able to just stay in bed.

But I can't. Life, as rude as it seems, insists on moving on. Kids went back to school and finished the year. Husband went back to work. Friends keep calling and texting to check on me. Customers want to be served.

All of this makes sure I get out of bed, get dressed, and continue to put one foot in front of another. Some days are completely coloured by sadness. But I haven't gotten to wallow in it.

One of the movies Levi watched dozens of times this past winter was Disney's "Planes: Fire and Rescue". When he died, the song "Still I Fly" from this movie came immediately to my mind for the funeral, and it is what we used to accompany the slide show of his life.

I am still trying to figure out a way to legally post the slide show with the original music I used. But in the meantime, here is the song, which is so perfect for Levi.

As this song says, our Little Man has moved on. It happened in an instant for him. It's going to take a whole lot longer for those he left behind.

All I want to do is hold him near, but all I can hold instead are a few tidbits--things that never mattered before, but which matter so much now that we don't have the boy who gave them significance.

Hopefully these tidbits help to keep some memories alive. And even though those memories will be forever coloured by sadness, I hope that one day, the joy that created them will reassert itself as we hold those memories near.

That's how we keep moving on.


Still I Fly

Recorded by Spencer Lee
Written by Spencer Lee, Michael (Smidi) Smith, Windy Wagner
From the Disney "Planes: Fire and Rescue" soundtrack

There's a time
In your life
When the world
Is on your side

You might not feel it
You might not see it
But it surrounds you like a light
Makes you stronger for the fight

I'm never letting go
Gotta learn to grow
Watch me as I touch the sky
Still I fly
Now I know it's what I gotta do
Find a dream that's new
Give it all I got this time
Still I fly
Still I fly

Feel the wind
All around
All the courage
To be found

Who knows what's out there
I know I'll get there
Go off into the sun,
I know I'm not the only one that's

Never letting go
Gotta learn to grow
Watch me as I touch the sky
Still I fly
Now I know it's what I gotta do
Find a dream that's new
Give it all I got this time
Still I fly
Still I fly

Bring it in
I'm gonna shine
It's my moment
Gotta live and
Live it right

I'm flyin', flyin' so strong
I'm movin'
I'm movin'
I'm movin' on

Never letting go
Gotta learn to grow
Watch me as I touch the sky
Still I fly
Now I know it's what I gotta do
Find a dream that's new
Give it all I got this time
Still I fly
Still I fly


Copyright: Lyrics © OBO APRA/AMCOS