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Lions Roar : September 2005
literally believe it—captures an eternal truth: that nothing is separate from any- thing else, that all life is inextricably interwoven from generation to genera- tion. He smiled at me. “So if I see a cat coming up to me and saying ‘meow, meow,’ I’ll know it’s Toni.” A few weeks later, Skye and I drove to Lake Tahoe so he could play in the snow for the first time. It was just the two of us, a special mommy-son solo adventure before I left for my first meditation retreat since he was born. After a day of sledding, snuggled under a blanket by the fire, he asked me, “When children die, do their mommies die with them?” The question took my breath away for a moment. Skye doesn’t really under- stand, yet, that he had an older sister— my first child, Sierra, who died at birth. “Sometimes they do, but not always,” I said. I stared at the flames, remembering Sierra’s sweet round face, the fire of her cremation. A month after she died, I dreamed I went to visit her in a damp basement, where she was cr ying, “Mamma! Mamma!” Skye shook his head. “No, that’s not right!” he said. “You’re wrong about that! A mommy wouldn’t let her kid be dead all by himself!” “You could be right,” I said. Certainly, some part of me had died with Sierra. Sometimes I am able to see her in the lavender bushes and the butterflies and Skye’s plump lips and long fingers, so much like hers. Most days, that’s not nearly enough. “So if I die, you will die with me.” Skye leaned his head against my shoul- der. “So it will be OK. We won’t be lonely. And we can talk to each other in dead language.” A FEW WEEKS LATER, we were sitting on the couch together, reading his cur- rent favorite bedtime story: Will You Be My Friend?, a sweet story about a bunny and a bird who live in an old apple tree. The first time we’d read it, he had burst into tears in the middle, when the rain blew in and ruined Bird’s nest: “What will she do?” he wailed, his face crum- 32 SHAMBHALA SUN SEPTEMBER 2005