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In the weeks and months after we lost our son, Joey, I desperately looked for “signs” that he was still with us.  I looked and I waited and I searched, but I found it difficult to feel anything but emptiness. 


The day before I was going to visit the cemetery for the first time since his funeral, a good friend came to visit.  Knowing we struggled to get out of bed, much less find something to smile about, she brought us a basket of silly toys and candy and activities in an effort to bring  a little sunshine back into our home.  In this basket of goodies were three small pinwheels.  In an instant, I knew I wanted to use these pinwheels to help “decorate” the site where my son was buried.


The next day, I dragged myself to the place that I least wanted to see again.  Through a stream of tears, I found where my baby had been lain to rest only a few weeks earlier.  The air was still and silent.  I reached into my bag and I grabbed the three small pinwheels that I had brought from home.  I placed them lovingly in the ground and started to speak to my precious angel boy. 


As I spoke the words, not knowing or believing if he could hear me, the wind began to blow.  The pinwheels started to spin in a blur of green, yellow, and purple.  I looked around and noticed that the leaves on the trees not far from where I was standing remained perfectly still, but the pinwheels kept on spinning.  In that moment, I felt my son’s presence for the first time.  As I cried and poured out the depths of my love for him, the pinwheels were in constant movement and I was grateful for the peace that came through that breeze. 


Pinwheels have since become an increasingly familiar presence in my day-to-day life.  I’ve placed them strategically in places where I can see them and can find comfort in seeing their petals spin.  When the wind blows, I am allowed a moment of serenity as I envision my rambunctious, lively little boy rolling and tumbling through the wind and laughing all the way. 


For some parents who search for “signs” from their children, it may be a bird or a butterfly, a song or a smell.  For me, I find my comfort and peace when the wind blows and the pinwheels spin. 


Someday, through Project Pinwheel, we hope to create a place where members of our community who are searching for meaning might come to smile once again, to remember, and to celebrate those who we love and miss so deeply.

© Project Pinwheel 2011        www.projectpinwheel-stl.org    •    projectpinwheel@gmail.com