Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Noah Pozner: signs
There had been another sign, a couple of hours earlier when most of the household was still asleep. I was up, so was my daughter who had just made the strongest cup of coffee ever (the kind with so much caffein that a spoon practically stands up straight in the mug from the sheer energy of it) and my youngest granddaughter, her niece, who had been up for a while. The baby was playing with crayons, throwing them on the floor, putting them back into the big box when Véronique froze. "Mom, look!" On a branch just outside the window sat a very large bluejay. Its colors were so vivid and its markings so perfectly delineated that it seemed to have been painted or embroidered. It stared at us for maybe a minute then it flew off noiselessly. We looked at each other: Noah had loved blue, he had buried with a blue and white Jewish prayer shawl, he always said he wanted wings so that he could fly. We sat quietly a while more but the bird didn't come back.
On the very same day, my son Alexis decided to rename a folder on his computer and to call it Noah. Renaming a folder is a pretty routine operation and, as all of us, he has done it thousands of times in his computing life. What wasn't routine this time though is that the instant he renamed the folder, all the folders on his drive got renamed Noah. It took him a while to sort everything out again!
Signs and coincidences abound: at the Friday vigil in Newtown, two separate people in two different corners of the soccer field told us they had their candles extinguished when Noah's name was read aloud. On the one-week anniversary of the tragedy just before time came for the minute of silence, members of the family turned on their television set only to have all power go out at their house. Etc., etc.
Were it not for our tremendous loss and pain we might not be assigning any meaning to these occurrences but as it is, we like to read them as tangible signs of Noah's presence and enduring mischievous spirit. If anything they make everybody pause and smile and seeing a smile on the grown-ups' faces clearly comforts the little ones. Since one of the worst aspects of this tragedy beyond the loss of Noah, Noah's deprivation of his entire future and my daughter's bottomless sorrow is to see the little ones grieve, I'd say the more "signs" the better. So, please, Noah, my little one, keep at it! We love knowing that you are still with us.
Merry Christmas, everyone!