are my friends.
I have been blessed over and over throughout the past year by the kindness, gentleness and understanding of some of my friends. The things they have done to try and make it easier for me are nearly too numerous to mention - and many are recorded here in more real time.
The thing that has been hammered home though is that they loved Gabriel too. They may not have known him, but they loved Gabe because he was my son. They mourn his loss too, and they miss him.
Coming out of the dark waters of my own grief, I've been gratified by theirs. They have helped me see that he was - and is - real. A real little boy, loved and wanted and missed. Not just a figment of my imagination.
They have been amazing and wonderful and perfect. Gabriel's impact on this world is so much bigger than his time here was, and they let me know about all the little ways my little boy has touched their lives and changed them. About how often they think of him and wish him well, the prayers they've prayed for them, the departed friends and family they've asked to look out for him. They've listened to me, in all my moods and have been there.
Awhile back, on a particularly bad day, I asked my friends to please send me images of his name, because I needed to see it. And they did. Pages and pages of Gabriel's name all over the place.
My friend D just sent me a lovely photo in which she wrote Gabe's name with a sparkler and captured the image.
My friend Kate (of the kangaroo feet) wrote a lovely letter to him and sent it to us.
Those are just recent things, lovely examples of the countless things my friends have done.
But I have to tell this story, because it's touched me so deeply. My wonderful, amazing, inspiring friend Stephanie (stephaniesnowe.blogspot.com)has two of the awesomest kids ever. And she's a pretty kick-ass mom. And one day she was sad, thinking of Gabriel and me. And her daughter asked why, and Steph explained it to them. And they left for awhile. And then her son came and asked to borrow the camera. And they took a picture of what they'd created, which was Gabe's name written out in stones and surrounded by flowers. Because Steph told them how much I loved seeing his name.
That photograph arrived last night. The story arrived this morning. And all I can do is touch my heart - that poor, wounded, battered, pieced together with glue and scotch tape thing that continues to beat in my chest - and blink the tears from my eyes.
Because I love seeing his name. And two pretty fantastic kids made his name for me.
Some of the best people in the world are my friends.