Many lifetimes ago, on a continent far far away on this day, I made my way through the clogged and humid streets, a melting Spider Man cake tucked up on the seat beside me…
I’m on my way home from the one bakery that makes these specialty cakes. It’s far and the traffic is crazy in the way only African streets can be. Stray goats, Police roadblocks, hawkers touting smoked fish and exercise equipment. But I had to do it. You love Spider Man. And Bob the Builder. Or maybe Bob the Builder was last year or the year before. I smile to myself imagining your beaming grin, the kind that lights your magical eyes from within when you see it. The pride in your eyes when you scan the crowd – your cousins, your friends, the kids from the compound. And then I chuckle, knowing you will be the least interested in eating a bite. My sweet sweet boy who needs no sweets. it’s your sixth birthday.
I might have lost my patience in the busy streets. I might be silently cursing Spider Man or worried that his melting face will be unrecognizable by the time I reach home. I have no idea how much I will cherish this day. How I will physically ache for one more chance to light your birthday candles. To witness your outstanding beauty. To hear you whine or laugh or even cry. Just to be near your life force one more time.
I am oblivious to the cruel future, I am limited, human in my lack of understanding of this world. It is your last birthday on this earth.
|Gramma H, Quinci, Wesley, Shiloh, Auntie Jaqui|
|Grampa and Shi|
|My precious boy|
|Think i had more fun than him!|
|The Vespa girl and her cool crew|
|Shiloh the ladies man|
|Still the ladies man|
|My little ham|
|Shiloh and his favourite dog Bob|
|Kristyn and Shi|
|That unmatched smile!!!!!!!|
|Hamming it up|
|Mother and son|
Today I cannot imagine the 19th birthday you will never celebrate. There were no more cakes, no more parties, no bicycles or scooters. There was crushing pain. Emptiness where there had been laughter. Just void.
And now, so many lifetimes away, in a place under the stars, I celebrate only your ageless spirit. I can only walk the beaches and feel the sensory celebration of you. The roar of the ocean waves against the unyielding rocks at shore – that is your roar. The tiniest of delicate seashells that cushion my feet as I walk – these hold the whispers of your ancient soul.
You were here with us as a child. You live forever in our memories, but you are so much more. Beyond the limits of our clumsy human form, you soar above in the shooting stars and today that is what I have to celebrate.
Shiloh Devon Nii Kpakpo Mingle January 9, 1999 – June 21, 2005