The Invisible String

Sometimes Kate just amazes me. Many times she makes me laugh, worry, shrug my shoulders or smile. But in rare moments, I walk away in awe of the words that have come out of her mouth.
In the last three months, many people have asked how Kate is doing. Kate didn’t just lose her brother on April 20, she lost her best friend. Kate and Jackson’s love for each other was cast-iron strong. Their love radiated for each other. She and Jackson were inseparable from the moment they woke up until their heads touched their pillows at night. They built forts, played chase and hide and go seek, read books together, shared snacks, ate popsicles and just genuinely enjoyed each other.  Jackson hated to see Kate walk on the school bus in the mornings, but he loved when she came home. They would run to each other and give the biggest hugs. As a mother, their relationship was priceless to me.
There was four years between them, but you never would have known it. Kate was so patient and loving with Jackson. She was a good helper and never did anything mean to him. Now, Jackson on the other hand, was a true younger brother. He loved to pull her hair. And when he did, Kate would just yell for me to help her. She never once laid a hand on her brother. She could have easily hit him to get him to stop, but she loved him too much.
 I worry about Kate these days. Most of my heartache comes from the worry I have for her. I don’t know how I would cope with losing someone at such a young age. I wish I was in her head and knew what she was thinking. I mean, we talk about him a lot. Whenever we’re doing something that we know he would like, we talk about Jackson. Today at lunch, we saved a spot for him at the table. During our family hugs we leave extra space so he can join us. We pray to him every night before dinner and bedtime. But as much as we talk about him, it’s hard to gauge a five-year-old’s mind and how she is truly comprehending all of this. But then you have those awe-inspiring moments that give you just a glimpse.
We received the book “The Invisible String” from a friend shortly after Jackson moved to Heaven. We’ve only read it two times. Here’s the premise of the book “The Invisible String is a simple story that reminds children and adults that they are never truly alone. As the mother in this story explains, ‘People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love. Even though you can’t see it with your eyes, you can feel it deep in your heart and know that you are always connected to the ones you love.’”
So, last night when I was tucking Kate into bed, we said our prayers to God and Jackson. Afterwards, I asked her, “Kate, do you miss Jackson?” Much to my dismay, she shook her head no. Then softly she said, “Well, just a little.”
That broke my heart. To know just three months ago, they were inseparable but now she only misses him a little. I quietly started to cry. Kate rolled over and asked, “Mom, are you crying?”
“Yes. I miss Jackson a lot. I’m sorry, Kate.”
Kate wrapped her whole body around me, hugged me tightly and gave me a sweet kiss. She said, “Remember mom, we’re always connected.”
“Awww, thanks Kate. You and me?”
“And Jackson. Remember the invisible string.”
It was an amazing moment.
Kate, Mom and dad love you so much and are very proud of you.