I used to look for Ryan everywhere. In the early weeks, when I left the house I wasn't focused on much else apart from trying to find signs of him.
On our first road trip back to my hometown only 2 weeks after losing him, I spent the better part of our 7 hour drive staring out the window at the clouds above us, watching the shapes shift, and looking for him. Looking for hearts. Looking for Rs. Looking for baby-shaped clouds. Anything that made me feel like he was there. That he wasn't so far. I remember following one "baby cloud" for a good stretch of highway. Staring at it. Watching the shape of it shift into something else. Willing it to keep its baby-shape.
Some time in the weeks that followed, the sky started to freak me out. And I stopped looking for him there. I couldn't stand the thought of Heaven holding my little boy. I'd read things that say "My baby lives in Heaven." Or "My baby is an angel in Heaven." And those words -- though they bring comfort to so many people -- actually twisted my stomach in knots. I didn't care how great Heaven was, or who was up there with him, no place would be better for him than on earth, in his mama's arms.
I'm a bit more at ease in terms of Heaven now. Though I still don't say those words too often. I'm still in the process of reconciling my feelings with God and that kind of "faith" stuff. But I can look at the sky again and feel some peace. I like to think that Ryan is part of the air I breathe. I look up, because naturally, that's where I'm trained to believe he's gone, and on my most anxious days, I can take a deep breath and fill myself with him. And it does calm me down. For a little while.
Until I need my next breath of him.