Today should have been my nephew's second birthday. A happy day of balloons and cake and friends and family celebrating. But sadly my dear little nephew Otis, who looked exactly like his father: dark-haired and cherub-cheeked, isn't here with us to celebrate. Otis lived for one tragic and glorious day, then left us far far too soon, changing the lives of everyone he touched in that brief timespan.
As a mother, I can't imagine a greater pain than the loss of a child. My step-sister and her husband are some of the strongest people I know, to have pulled through such a tragedy with grace and fortitude and a love for each other that has not only withstood this horrible blow, but grown stronger in the face of it.
There are no adequate words for a day like today. No amount of sympathy or affection seems like enough. But we try. There is a tightly woven network of love and support surrounding my step-sister and her husband, a vast array of friends and family who have sent them love throughout the day. It has brought me to tears a few times, the kind posts and comments people have shared with them, the reminders of all that they have lost as well as the evidence of all that they have gained in the last two years.
It is an immeasurable loss, but equally impossible to gauge is the impact Otis has had on so many of us. He has created a community around his parents, an unwavering support group to offer up kindness and compassion and warmth and hope on a day like today. His legacy carries on. Otis evokes love, first and foremost, which we so need in this time of fear and hate and political diatribe. He isn't here to see the lasting impression his brief presence has had on the world around him, but I hope it offers some comfort to his parents to see not only that he has not been forgotten, but that the power of his brief time here with us continues to grow.