In true All Souls’ Day fashion, it’s a dreary, gray and cold day in Minnesota. As I was reflecting in prayer today, it all came rushing back: the tosses, turns and violent stumbles of my brother Zach’s death; the quiet whispers packed with desperate, last-minute love.
But it’s days like All Souls’ Day when this little sphere called Earth gets ripped open, and I can feel the breaths of the afterlife close to my face. And it’s warm.
Recently, I was talking to a dear co-worker of mine about how strange it is that it’s up to me to create an idea of Zach for my son Finn. One of my tasks as a parent will be to string together the right stories, show Finn the pictures that illustrate Zach in his truest nature, and curate the perfect playlists for him to listen to before bed.
As I’ve contemplated this, I’ve felt loss and bitterness that I’ll never be able to reconstruct Zach as he really was to me, flaws and all.
While praying and reflecting today, I wrote this:
“Finn would’ve loved him, and I’m so angry… well, saddened…that I have to construct some ridiculous junior high school collage with old crappy pictures to prove he existed. I don’t want to make him a fairy tale character in Finn’s life.”
And then it hit me. Maybe these perfect, sanctified versions of people that we create on this Earth after they’ve passed, maybe they’re real.
Maybe as their souls become closer to Christ, our memories and stories change to reflect their natures as they are now, in this very present moment, moments that are not of this world but that align with them.
Perhaps as I become more distanced from the human version of my brother, I’m becoming closer to his spiritual self, and that’s what Finn will know.
And how beautiful that he will have that brother of mine.