St. Patrick’s Day was a time to wear green and pinch other people. Then it meant green beer and hailing Irish roots that are faint at best. It became nonexistent in my world for a while, and then it became, simply, The Day Before.

On March 16, 2002, I sat in the chapel at the cemetery and watched a family pull together once more. I hadn’t seen it the two previous times. Though I was a freshly-minted Catholic, though I professed belief in same God as these people, I felt like a stranger.

There, in the front of the chapel, was a casket. It held a baby who would never know the joy of the family that gathered there. To the world, it represented failure, despair, anguish. A dead baby cannot be good, not in any way.

And yet…and yet, that casket has become the symbol, for me, of hope. In that casket, I have found strength. In that casket, I have found joy. In that casket, I have found compassion.

Today, we remember Logan, a baby we never held, a child we never knew, a man who never grew. Today, I remember Logan’s parents and his sisters. Today, I remember the way it felt to sit there, raw and unnoticed in the face of something so much larger than myself, so much more painful than anything I had ever experienced, so much more .

And on this day, this day of remembering, though there will be tears in my eyes, there will also be hope in my heart. Death is not the end, and, if I let it, it can be a reminder to me of where I’m trying to go and where my gaze should be directed.

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