It happens a little bit each day. His tiny sock appears in the bottom of the laundry basket. I slam on my brakes and his sippy cup rolls out from under the seat. A sob catches in my throat at Target when I pass the diaper aisle and realize I don’t need to stop.
It happens on Easter morning when Evan, holding his Easter basket, says it is the saddest day because Ayumu isn’t with us.
A heart breaks like ice over a frozen lake. You step, and then you hear the crack. The sound reverberates through you, changing you. The water below begins to warm and move, eager to pull you under. The hairline fracture gives way and you are submerged, nothing between you and the black water below. Nothing to protect you from feeling all of it. And you know this is only the beginning.
My heart breaks and leaves a hole where Ayumu once was. Grief now fills that space. It is everywhere. It colors the rooms of our house, hangs heavy in the air like rainclouds.
Gale force winds of anger and injustice blow through, and when the storm has passed and taken all it could, all that is left is a yearning love. Nothing more.
And what I know now is that much can be taken from you, but never can love be taken. My love for my grandson is mine, and it is his. Nothing, and no one, can take it from us. Nothing can tarnish it.
This, too, is mine; that I can’t hold Ayumu in my arms, but I can hold him in my heart, in my mind, with my words. I can wrap my love around him, send him my blessings, pray for his happiness.
Belief is mine; to believe that loving him matters, to believe that one day love will pull him like a magnet, pull him back to us. I can choose to believe that love dissolves the five thousand miles between us. I can believe that love wins.
A heart breaks slowly, piece by piece, and a journey of faith begins.