Saturday, December 22, 2012

Noah Pozner: connections

My last memory of Noah goes back to the Wednesday before he died. I was at our house near Seattle. He and his sisters were at their dad's house in Connecticut. We were skyping. Noah was very excited, bouncing up and down so energetically right in front of the camera that I felt I was on an ocean liner caught in a major storm. I tried to explain to Noah he was making me nauseous but he only quieted down for a minute or so before he started jumping up again.
They told me they had just trimmed their Christmas tree, which is probably why Noah was so excited. We talked of the coming holidays, of our planned visit to Connecticut for Sophia's birthday the following month. Sophia was the first to run to the tree, remove an ornament and dangle it in front of the camera. After that, they all took turns doing it. As it happens their ornaments mostly came from our old house. Each had a story and the kids were captivated. I couldn't see the Christmas tree, only hear their rushing footsteps as they took turn un-trimming the tree, showing me the ornament, listening to what I had to say and running to put it back up.
At one point, Noah was alone in front of the camera and his sisters remained by the tree. We talked a bit (I don't even remember what about) and then he just sat there quietly looking at me, a serious expression on his face, his big gorgeous eyes staring straight into mine. I have no clue what he was thinking about but I was reminded of the long searching look my beloved mother-in-law gave me at the airport after spending her last Christmas with us back in 1992. She probably knew she wouldn't come back (although we certainly didn't) and she was saying goodbye. Her look had been one of love and sorrow: she was burning my face in her memory. So when Noah looked at me so intently and for such a long time without talking or moving, I felt a slight chill. I also felt a connection had been established. The girls came back, we said goodnight (it was getting late for them). I didn't have the slightest feeling of premonition or impending doom but I never saw or talked to Noah again.
The following day, for no special reason I can remember, just on a whim really, I changed the wallpaper on my smartphone to a dreamy landscape with misty mountains in the background and a lovely meadow in the foreground. The image is otherworldly and serene and it reminds me of long ago summers in the Swiss Alps. It is like music for the eyes.
But after the tragedy, when my daughter evoked the sunny valley where Noah and the other kids were surely now playing and waiting for the rest of their families to join them, I felt another chill. I showed her the picture and she found some degree of solace in its serenity, also in the fact that I had put it on my phone the day before she lost her son.
Establishing connections is one of the ways we make sense out of our existence. I don't read Noah's look or the image on my phone as premonitory messages but because both are linked so closely in time to the most horrific event in our lives, I know I will remember them forever, just as I remember my mother-in-law's silent farewell, and they will bring depth and maybe a bit more meaning to what would otherwise remain a stark, bleak and opaque life event.


  1. This is a very comforting post MC. Whatever happened you were comforted by it. Let that suffice. Hugs dear friend.

  2. This is a beatiful story. That picture of Noah reminds me so much of my little brother Richard. He is just 5 years old but saw pictures of all the little kids from Newtown on TV, so I had to explain him what happened (even though he did not really understand). When a picture of Noah came up, Richard pointed at him and said with excitement that they are so alike. Both with dark hair and big dancing eyes filled with sweetness. After that he came to me and asked, 'when we go to America (I promised to take him to Harry Potter world in Florida when I finish university)can I play with my friend Noah?' this moment was so beautiful I felt like we are all a part of Newtown's community. The next day when Richard came home from school, he showed me a picture of himself and Noah that he drew at school. Now I'm back in London (I live here and my mother and Richard live in Germany)and going to put that beautiful picture on my desk as a reminder and every time my little brother is on my mind I suddenly think of Noah as well. Greta

  3. What you describe instantly reminds me of Swedenborg’s correlation theory (Theory of Correspondences) which states that everything in the natural and human order has a correspondence with the spiritual. There must exist a strong spiritual connection between you and your grandson...

  4. The way you write about Noah is so touching and lovely. You bring his life, his very force of nature alive for those of us who never met him. Because of you, through you, many of us have formed special connections with Noah. Your sweet little grandson lives in the hearts of so many across our country and the world. His light will continue to shine in our hearts and his name will be forever on our lips. We are all the better for having had Noah in our world. Thank you for putting your feelings out there and for sharing such precious memories.

  5. I would like to thank you for sharing Noah with us. He has touched so many hearts, mine included. I would like to share an experience I had just yesterday.

    Early morning, I was out riding my bicycle through the beautiful countryside near my home in Sydney Australia and I was climbing a particularly long hill. As I was huffing and puffing my way up, my thoughts turned to Noah and I started praying for him and his family. Suddenly an incredible lightness and joy filled me; a strange peacefulness settled upon me. In that moment, I could only believe that Noah's soul had touched me, however briefly. In a few minutes the feelings gently faded as I wished Noah a safe journey back to comfort his family.

    I pray that little angel rests in peace and wish comfort and strength to his family.

  6. My heart had been with your family since it happened. Stay strong!! for Noah.. God bless you all!

  7. What a beautiful little boy! We love you, Noah! God Bless you and your family!

  8. You family is in our thoughts and prayers. I now have a picture of Noah in my iPhone, a reminder to me how I need to help advocate for change. A little boy, much like mine. He has made a difference in this world. More than people who live a lifetime. I heard a song today.. By Jonathan and Charlotte.. They sing a beautiful song called 'the prayer'. If you hear it, it will likely touch your soul with its message. God's blessings.

    1. If you listen to the song, it's a prayer to someone lost to watch over, guide those left behind. ". I pray you'll be alright And watch us where we go... Let this be our prayer when we lose our way... Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace... I pray we'll find your light and hold it in our hearts when stars go out at night.... When shadows fill our day..."
      My families gift to yours. A prayer..

  9. A beautiful and touching last memory of Noah xx

  10. Wow. Quite a set of circumstances...Thank you for sharing such special moments.



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