Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Isaac and Nathaniel

During our time at home this Christmas, we took Nathaniel to visit Isaac's grave for the first time. CJay and I don't go to his grave often when we're in Tennessee. It's a long drive, but mostly, we don't need to go. I wanted to take Nathaniel, especially because as he's gets older, CJay and I will talk more about Isaac and his brief time on this earth. It was, surprisingly, an overwhelming experience. I hadn't given much thought to how I would feel, but seeing Nathaniel touching Isaac's headstone, standing where his brother lies, "meeting" him for the first time was, well, painful.

Nathaniel has healed us. Not completely. That's not possible. But he's given CJay and me a reason to smile and laugh. All the things Isaac should have given us, could have given us, if he only would have had the chance. 

I don't claim to know much about Taoism or Chinese philosophy*, but I've read about yin and yang and what it represents. Isaac and Nathaniel are like our yin and yang: complementary opposites. No, not good and evil, but forces that wouldn't exist without the other. I've always believed that Nathaniel would not be here without Isaac. Isaac's death taught us about Nathaniel's life. Long before CJay and I knew Nathaniel. Long before we even considered another child. Isaac taught us how to cherish life. If Isaac hadn't died, Nathaniel wouldn't have been created. Maybe I sound crazy, but my children are connected just like other siblings. The only difference is that we have to leave our heart and soul open to see the connection. 

What I usually feel when I stand over my son's grave is regret and anger. I feel the need to apologize. As if I let him down. What I felt standing next to Nathaniel as he touched Isaac's grave was gratitude and a renewed promise to do my best for both my sons. It's the only way I know how to continue Isaac's legacy, to make his life mean something more. 

* No, I'm not converting to another religion; yin and yang is a fascinating concept.