When Kai died, instantly the color went out of my world. I mean this literally as well as figuratively. Literally speaking, my vision changed. Everything appeared to me in dull, muted shades; mainly shades of gray, brown, beige, and pale green. I could still tell that something was red as opposed to blue, for example, but the world looked faded, ugly, dirty and monochromatic.
I have always loved color. To this day, I love to look at a giant box of crayons or colored pencils. I love colors like cornflower blue, sunshine yellow, bright magenta. I love to look out my back window in the early morning and see the richly colored purple flowers that bloom every night in abundance on the Mexican heather at the base of the palm trees in my backyard. When I visited Arizona and the Grand Canyon, I was mesmerized by the rich terra cotta and deep red colors of the rock formations and canyons, and by the endless blue of the sky at 8,000 ft. above sea level. Color is important to human beings. We need color in our lives.
Kai loved color. Everyone who knew Kai knew that his favorite color was red. After all, what respectable firefighter wouldn’t love red? I think he also loved fluorescent orange, because he drew all over his playroom walls with a pen of that color. I didn’t mind so much. It was pretty. It still is, and as long as I live there, always will be.
Life has seemed so cruel since Kai died, and part of the cruelty of my new life was losing my ability to see and be moved by color. I am told that this is a symptom of severe post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. I’m sure that I have PTSD. No mother that I know could see her child the way I saw Kai that day and not have PTSD.
Slowly, very slowly over the past couple of months, color is starting to return to my life. The world still looks pretty dim to me most of the time, but I am starting to begin to see colors in nature again. I can see them most clearly when I look at the sky. A gorgeous sunset brings tears because once again I can see the exquisite shades… the beautiful blues and golds in particular. I like to think that while I am watching the sunset from this side, Kai sees even more magnificent colors from his side, where the Sun never sets.