Friday, March 06, 2015

Memories of Holger

Originally posted on Facebook with a  little compilation of photos.

Holger, my (step) Dad, unexpectedly passed away in 2009 on March 6th, just one day after my mom's 60th birthday, two days after my
32nd birthday and just over a week after Coen was born. Holger's son, my (half)Brother Johannes, was only weeks away from graduating from high school.
It was -and still is- breathtakingly tragic.

One small blessing was this amazing event that I'll cherish forever:

Because Holger died late at night and because my mom knows that sleep is precious when you have a newborn, she decided to wait until morning to call and tell us. I think it was around 9:30 am.

Understandably we spent the day in a state of shock but of course we also still had to do our best to care of baby Coen. Jon and I just moved around the house, muttering in disbelief when at one point, maybe around 10:30, Coen became unusually fussy. Granted, he was only 10 days old, but he hadn't been much of a fussy crier, so it kind of shook Jon and I out of our stupor.

I was holding him, and as all new parents do, tried anything I could think of to soothe him. Swaying, rocking, patting, feeding - nothing helped. Tired, I sat down on the sofa and was immediately slapped by the sad realization that the last time we had seen Holger was just a week before Coen's birth and he had sat in that very same spot, on the far left side of the sofa.

A new wave of grief rolled towards me but was stopped cold just before it crashed over me; partly because I didn't want to lose it with Coen in my arms, but also because my attention got caught on something else. Actually, what I had become aware of wasn't something - it was the lack of something. 

For as soon as I had sat down, Coen ceased his discontented crying. I looked down to see him looking upwards, not at me but above his head, towards the lamp on the side table next to us. And he was cooing.

I blinked hard. Something felt different. I looked at Jon who was standing across from me in the doorway to the hall. He just stood there looking in my general direction. No one spoke and the room was silent except for an occasional sweet gurgle or sigh from Coen.

I looked at the lamp; it was a  Prairie style design with a dark oiled brass base and a lovely golden amber shade made out of mica. The room was lit just enough by the mid-morning winter sun and I don't recall if the lamp was turned on or maybe just dimmed.

A rush of blood filled my ears and I mentally shamed myself for being so ridiculous as I thought, "Holger, why are you in the lamp?"

It was clear that something was happening, not to me, but so very near me. My heart leapt, cautiously, for fear of being scolded again by my inner-critic, as I pondered what Holger was sharing with Coen. I mean of course if -IF- I wasn't losing my mind and what my heart was telling me was true: that the intense energy I was feeling around me, though mostly from the lamp, was in fact Coen's dear "Guapa" (the version of Grandpa which Coen's older cousin had created) making a special visit to see his new Grandson.

My brain and heart raced. Could this be? Or am I just imagining something I was only beginning to grasp would now never take place? With a glimmer of hope that I really was witnessing a supernatural interaction between the brand new life in my arms and an angel of heaven, I forced myself to stop analyzing and just be present.

The whole thing lasted maybe 5 minutes, probably much less. My gut feeling is that Holger introduced himself, made silly sounds and played with Coen's belly and stroked his cheek before saying some sort of prayer, blessing or promise to watch over my little boy. 

Ultimately I'm cannot be sure of what Holger said or did while he interacted with Coen. I can't know what he looked like or what form he took, if any at all. And I'm sad I'll never know for sure if Coen remembers this miraculous experience of his own account or only what we've told him.

But I am absolutely positive that it did happen. Holger was there. My deepest, truest Self knows this.

Plus, I have proof:
Remember how I said Jon was in the room right across from where I was sitting with Coen and that it was completely quiet? Neither of us said a single word until after I felt the presence leave. In that same moment Coen started to cry and I looked at Jon without any explanation and asked, "Did that just happen?"

And Jon replied, "Why was he in the lamp?"