A New Name

 "To them I will give a new name within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughter, I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever."  Isiah 56:5

I am wrung out with emotion. Today, eighteen months after my husband's death, I have moved our queen-size bed back into the spot beneath the double windows where it had been until the day he died. On that awful night, I'd shoved his side of the bed against the wall, piling pillows around it to fill the empty space. I slept on my side, facing away from the void. 
I am stronger now, I think. Ready to move the bed back. I have found a new life for myself and my autistic son; I have written sixteen chapters of a book I hope will impact the way people view autism and grief; I have dared to envision a life without Ron.



But after I move the bed back and rearrange the pillows, I collapse onto the bed and cry. I have moved into a life without my husband. The knowledge holds both joy and sorrow. When my tears are spent, I get up and look at the room we have shared for 44 years. It is my room now.
Maybe I'll paint it.
Evening comes. Allen and I eat and play a board game, a new routine in our life of two. We watch an Avengers movie while I knit. We talk easily of Ron, how he cheated at Monopoly and loved Iron Man, how his smile was slightly crooked and he yelled at the television set.  Allen's acceptance of Ron's death took time and patience. Ron is not forgotten. I think of the Egyptian proverb: You are not dead as long as someone remembers your name.
We remember.


I have said goodnight to my son; he gives me the rare hug he saves for bedtime and follows me into my room where he plops down on Ron's side of the bed.
"You moved it back."
"It was time," I say and he nods. He grabs a pillow from Ron's side and holds it to his face.
"It still smells a little like Dad."
"A little," I agree. I have washed the pillow and enveloped it in a new case, but sometimes I think I still detect Ron's lingering scent.
"Can I sleep with it tonight?"
I shrug. "I guess. Something wrong with your pillow?"
"No," he says. "I just sort of want to be close to Poppa tonight. I thought it would be nice to sleep with his pillow."
"Alright."
Happily, he gathers the pillow in his arm and squeezes it, then rises from the bed and walks towards the door.
"Allen," I say, "you've never called Dad 'Poppa' before. Why now?
He turns back to me, this man child who only knew an ill father. "Well, Mom," he says, "Dad has a new life now. He's not old and sick anymore because God gave him a new body and took him to Heaven." He grins. "And I thought Dad's new life deserved a new name."
An everlasting name.


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