This beautiful story was sent to us by DeAndrea Dare as she is Remembering Anderson Maxwell Graham, March 12, 2013.
When my husband Aaron and I first started dating, we were thrilled to discover that we shared a love of travel. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, we began to dream about all of the places we would visit with our baby, all the adventures we would take and all of the sites that we would see through the innocent eyes of a child.
His footprint is stamped and painted on a Heart Stone and is placed at the Bridge of Hope at Faith's Lodge in Wisconsin. His feet are stamped on the threshold of my parent's home in Louisiana. Last year his feet were stamped on a prayer flag that flew on the top of Cadillac Mountain in Maine at sunrise. My favorite place and experience so far was stamping his feet in the sand in South Carolina. We woke up at sunrise and headed to the beach. It was incredibly peaceful as the sun began to peak out from the soft fluffy clouds. The pastel colors were nearly the shades of a baby nursery. The water gently made its way up onto the beach and then quietly flowed back out to sea. I found a stick and began to write his name in the sand. As I wrote the letters, I was filled simply with peace. And then I began to stamp his feet, one by one, side by side in a walking pattern as if he were running on the sand and having his little toes tickled by the foaming water for the first time. Tears crept into the corner of my eyes but I also smiled. The joy that I felt while I carried him inside of me began to return. Print by print. The grief that, at times, had felt like a tsunami overwhelming me somehow gave way in those moments to a gentle softness that filled me once again with a love that no words could ever describe. My husband and I looked down and the tiny prints of our son who changed our lives, made us parents, created a family and left a legacy that is still unfolding. My friend, holding the camera that we bought at Christmas, which we thought would be taking a picture of the three of us on the beach one day, still took a picture of the three of us, just in a different way. The wind blew in wild gusts and our hair flew around like mad. We knelt down behind his name, looked up at the camera...and smiled. We were overwhelmed with love, filled with joy, finding a little peace and being surrounded by Max's spirit that could not be contained in such a little body. I look back at that picture all of the time. It was a turning point. Those tsunami waves still come from time to time. I still wish I could hold him in my arms and not have to stamp his feet. But, he goes with us, we carry him in all of our moments in all of our travels and his little footprints are on our hearts forever and can be found wherever we are and where ever we go.