In about twenty days it will have been five years since Daniel, excited about going Christmas shopping, walked into the bathroom, collapsed and died. Most days I don't replay those moments in my head, again and again. Of course, for a very long time I did, hoping to understand how a child with no particular health history could collapse and die without warning. I still don't get it, but I accept that he is safe at home, and I know he does not suffer, and this helps me. I do think about him every day, and I often wonder how his awareness is entertained in the next dimension, and who he sees and talks to, besides God, of course.
Today I ran a few errands with my eldest son. Both of our errands were useless as the items we ordered hadn't come in. We decided to take a longer trip into the city, as we were half way there. By then, it was lunchtime. We spotted a Chic-Fil-a and I had a salad while my son had some really delicious looking nuggets without breading. While we were there we spotted a boy who was about seven, standing with his teen aged sister who was taking him to lunch. He so reminded me of Daniel. He had the same haircut as Daniel at that age, and the same clear skin. He had shining blue/green eyes and a kind and gentle face. He also had a muscular build which also reminded me of Daniel at seven or eight. I smiled at him, and he didn't see. As I walked past I felt that same longing twinge I experienced the entire year that Daniel passed. He reminded me of Daniel, but of course, he wasn't. My Daniel is no longer with me on Earth. I felt empty and sad. In the next moment I wondered if the boy who looked so much like Daniel should be eating at Chic-Fil-a since they fry some of their food in peanut oil, and Daniel was allergic to it. "Don't be silly", I told myself. All at once, a young man with neat short hair called the boy's sisters name. She collected their food and out they went, about as fast as Daniel left Earth that day five years ago.
I know that I had a very great gift in having Daniel on Earth at all. I know that my remaining kids are also very great gifts. I know that Daniel was such an excellent "model" of kid that God would certainly use elements of his looks and personality again in other children. I remember that as I watch harried mothers and fathers shouting and occasionally slapping kids they don't realize could be gone from their lives in a flash. I said a silent prayer that none of those families would ever know the loss of a child. May they never know this feeling, even five years past Daniel's departure.