The circle of sick kids who never got well

Sasha's grave at Pardes Shalom, Toronto
Today the gates of Pardes Shalom were closed for the last day of Suchot so I climbed the stones by the fountain to vist Sasha's grave.

The small mound of brown unmarked earth was replaced with a small rectangle of fresh turf, the twigs and crayon I had left no where to be seen, a new small black marker listed her name and date of death and the phrase Lives on in our hearts.

I placed a large stone and two small stones with a pink jube jube for me, pamela and mia. The stones were pinky, streaked with quartz from the ground near Dorset.

I knelt and touched the grass, imagined her bones in the earth and looked at the skies and the trees and willed her presence in the air around.

I then watched Mia as Pamela visited. Mia was now awake so Pam fed her while I went back to visit Bruce Stein's grave and add a stone beside the golf balls.

I imagined them together, in spirit, and pictured Sasha sitting on Bruce's lap, laughing together.

This week has been full of memories and connections to Sick Kids. On Thurs I met Mitch and Deena and Haley who lost Melanie last year. Friday we had supper with two of Sasha's nurses. Today we were visited by Nancy and Owen who lost Mitchel earlier this year. Our experiences were all different and yet we are touched and connected by the beautiful sick children that we celebrate and grieve for.

I see Sasha's face every day. It may be triggered by a beautiful sunset or by a toy or the bright propeller spinning in the wind by our stairs or by a sticker lying on a sidewalk. I still wash my hair with a shampoo I used in her room at Sick Kids.

We see Sasha in the differences with Mia who grows fast, sleeps well, feeds with gusto and is content and at peace, the polar opposite of her sister. What they share is the big smile. Mia has started to chortle.

Lately I re-remembered a little moment from last year when Sasha was playing while Pamela was out and I would sneak onto the porch and watch her as she played with her book or at her kitchen. I waited as her attention turned and then she would look for me, crawling or walking her little walker or along the walls in search of me, calling out sounds in her excited voice until I returned to get a big smile.

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