Dawson's headstone is finally here! It took a LONG time, it seemed, but we are so glad to finally have it! It is the perfect tribute to our little man!
This picture is so beautiful and so heartbreaking to me. I can't even put words to the way I felt when I watched this moment take place. Then I snapped a picture to remember it. My twins. I know this is how it is all supposed to be, but at the same time....does it have to be this way? I know the answer and I am at peace with it, but I don't think that will ever stop the moments where I am blindsided with a wave of grief. I miss our little D so much.
The front view.......
We made a CD for Dawson. Towards the end of his life, it seemed that the only thing that could really bring him comfort was music. His CD played on a constant loop for months! It was playing in his room the day he passed away. He took his last little breath as the 3rd verse to Be Still My Soul started. Yet another message to my soul from our loving Father in Heaven. I posted about other moments like this and gave more detail on Dawson passing away during this song and those last moments HERE, if you want to read it.
The cemetery is a place that we have all developed a love for. We understand better the sacredness of that place. I have always been one of those that says, "they aren't there anymore". As in their spirit is in another place. And it is. Except for when I am at Dawson's grave site. He meets me there. I feel him every time I go. Sometime I am driving down the street and a random desire to go pops into my mind. I can drive past a million times and not think of it, but suddenly there is a strong urge to be there. I think Dawson must call me there. It is the one spot in this whole entire earth that is just him. No distractions. His body is there, and his body is sacred. His body was created by mine. There is a physical connection. However, the strongest is the spiritual connection. I feel his strong and noble presence. Sometimes I have a really good cry and I feel a lot of grief and sometimes I am so filled with gratitude and love that I feel like I might burst from all of the joy.
One day I picked the kids up from school and felt a strong urge to go to the cemetery. I was on a tight schedule and tried to ignore it. It got a lot stronger. I turned around and headed back to the cemetery. This trip was for Jake. As we were leaving Jake, who doesn't always talk a lot about his feelings, because they are so tender and difficult to process at times, said, "Mom, I am really proud of Dawson." Then he told me all of the things he was proud of Dawson for. Sacrifice. Sticking with something that was so hard, but never giving up because he knew what it would mean for us to have him with us. Staying for another year after his blessing of release, because he knew that there was more that we needed to learn and because he loved us and wouldn't go until he knew we would be OK.
He brought up some other very deep spiritual moments and lessons he had learned from his little brother. It's amazing to me, sometimes, that he is only 11. When we discuss spiritual matters he expresses his feelings like he is a wise old man who has lived a full life of spiritual experiences. I guess because in a way he has. When I see pictures of him when the twins were born, it takes my breath away to see how little he was. He doesn't have many memories, that don't include juggling hospital visits and not getting to live with me for 8 months straight and then off an on after that for years, because of surgeries, etc. It is hard enough to process the feelings we have had as adults going through this. I can't imagine what he has felt over the last 6 + years as he has tried to process all of it. Poor little guy. He is really such an amazing kid! I am so proud of HIM!
Dawson is buried near my friend Mandi's Dad. I actually didn't notice that it was her dad's until after we had visited it several times. Mallory loves it. She spends a few minutes at Dawson's and then she says, "I need to go see Williamson". Off she runs. There is a little love note from Mandi's dad to her mom and from her mom to her dad on the front of the headstone. Mal loves to read them every time we go. That is what she is doing in the picture above. The Williamson headstone gets plenty of traffic from the Lindstrom family! It is really quite beautiful!
Now for a funny little story!
After I took the picture at the top of this post, I had a sort of melt down. The kids were off visiting and reading headstones and I was sitting on the ground in front of Dawson's headstone. It was super emotional. I can't explain it other than, there is something very real and final feeling about a headstone with your child's face and name on it. It was a hard moment. I had a good cry. I composed myself and called my Mom to let her know that the headstone was here. There is something about your Mom that draws emotion out of you. It is like I have to be strong all of the time, and even when I have a good cry, I am still holding back, although, I don't know it until I talk to my Mom and it is like everything just lets go. She's my Mom. She will be the strong one for me. That is what Moms do. I broke down big time. I wonder what she thought as she sat on the other end of the phone. She let me cry it out. I could feel her love for me and her heartache and desire to take this pain from me from the other end of the phone. It was super emotional and totally needed.
When I could talk to her again we started talking about things. I was still having a hard time, but I was doing much better. Then something caught my eye.
Mallory was sitting in front of a headstone, just ahead of where I was sitting. She was sitting cross legged on the ground and she was crying. I tried to process what was going on. Is this something she is going because she saw me crying and she thinks that this is what we should do at the cemetery and she is just mimicking?
"Mallory! Are you OK? What is the matter?"
Then her devastated little face turned to me and she moved her body out of the way so that I could see the name, "McDonald".
"McDonald....the clown with the red hair....he just died." Then she broke down in the saddest cry I have ever heard.
I was stunned. And then I started to laugh. Hard. I couldn't breathe. I was laughing so hard. That was NOT what I was expecting AT ALL! I tried to tell my Mom, but I was laughing too hard. Oh, she had thought I had lost it, for sure! :)
I tried to console Mallory, but she was inconsolable. McDonald the clown was dead and THAT was more than she could take. I tried to explain, she wouldn't have it.
So, I had her stand by this headstone and I took her picture. She was so sad, but I wanted to remember this forever. Poor kid!
I finally got her to listen when we read the first names on the headstone. I told her the clowns name is Ronald McDonald. I asked if she saw Ronald anywhere. Nope. Sudden relief! She was beyond overjoyed! For the next 2 days she would ask again, "It wasn't Ronald, was it Mom?" Nope, I would respond. "And the clown with the red hair is still alive." Yep, I confirmed.
All was right with the world as long as Ronald McDonald, the red headed clown, still resided in it!