I couldn’t imagine my life without Simon Sebastien. Rather, I didn’t WANT to imagine living without him.
Four years ago, my heart stopped beating as he took his final breath in my arms.
I am forever changed. In good ways, for the time we had together. In not good ways because I’ve been trying to navigate life without my heart.
This afternoon I looked up from the book I was reading and contemplated my Zen Zone. The Meditating Cat on one of the shelves is shaded by an old leaf from a liquid amber tree that stretched past the roof of our old apartment in Alameda.
One of Simon’s most favorite activities was to sit on the bed next to the window and wait for the tree to flutter a leaf toward him. He knew they were just for him, too. I would find him sitting so patiently on the bed, looking up at the tree. I’d often sit next to him and make an appeal on his behalf.
“Oh hello, lovely tree! Can you please send a leaf to Simon? He’s been waiting so patiently and he has been such a good boy today!”
Eventually, I’d hear a commotion with the sliding screen on the window. A few moments later, Simon would appear, gingerly carrying a leaf in his mouth before presenting his treasure to me. I would fuss over his leaf and thank him for sharing his prize with me. I saved all of them for as long as I could. Many of them crumbled and decayed as time passed.
I’ve had this leaf for nearly 17 years. There are one or two others that have survived time–and being packed up and moved 3,000 miles.
These leaves remind me of all of the gifts that Simon gave me. The ones I can’t see or touch. The ones that made me a better human.