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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not Yet


Oh, grass, why won’t you grow?  My baby’s grave all dusty dry.  Bare as bones and fresh as the day we laid her there.  All around the lush grass grows and new life covers over ugly dirt.  Another buried after mine is just around the corner.  Beneath her stone the ground is green as if it were untouched.  Spring came and  bloomed around her headstone.  But not my baby’s grave.   

Oh, grass, why won't you grow?  You make tears spring to my eyes.  The stone’s shadow falls on bareness- a wound in the earth- a schism in the universe.  The pact between life and death was broken and her breath was stolen too soon.  Even the earth seems to know it was not meant to be this way.  It refuses to cover the gash.   As if the dirt is screaming that the belly of the earth should not have been torn open for this little one… no, not yet.  From the bird’s eye, all is lush and geen in this field of sacred stones- except the reddish plot where nature itself objects to what is unnatural- the death of giggly laughter and hair of sunshine and eyes green like the sea.  

 Oh grass why won’t you grow?  Almost a full year and it looks barely a week ago.  Seeds we have planted but to no avail.  Perhaps the birds have picked them away.  An anomaly in the meadow.  Maybe the earth is waiting for my heart to heal.  Could it be a mirror of my own refusal to accept?  A mystery of reflection?  The soul seen clearly in muddy dirt?  The life just can’t seem to cover over the death… to heal up earth or heart.  Ten months is just too short.  A turning of the head.  A blinking of the eye.  And so the dirt lies fresh.  And so the heart lies torn.  Perhaps waiting for my grip to loosen, to slip a little… no, not yet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Fingers

A poem that my brother, a pilot, wrote last fall about Makiah.  He just shared it with me.  Such beautiful grief... another oxymoron. Thank you to all those who have shared their memories of her and held our hands in this walk of weeping.

Fingers and Flesh

Little girl why are your fingers so cold?  Arise sweet child! Arise!

With these fingers you held my hands while we played in the park. 
With these fingers you held my neck when you leapt from the ground to draw me close.
With these fingers you touched my heart, straight through the flesh touched my beating soul.
With your little eyes you held my gaze, hours gone by, through the camera your captive.

With these fingers you touched my picture, each morning and night asked my blessing.
With these fingers you touched the wife that I have yet to know.
With these fingers you pointed to my plane, reminding mommy you know where I roam.
With these fingers you blessed the twins whose flesh you will never hold. 

With these fingers, broke my throbbing heart, stained my wetted cheeks. 
With these fingers you held Yahweh’s gaze… “Jesus, I want to see you face to face!”
With His fingers He’s carried you home.
Little girl why are your fingers so cold?  Arise sweet child!  Arise! 

Oh that blessed day, when your Savior cries…Arise sweet child!  Arise!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Pendulum of Irony

There is irony in Death. In the death of a loved one- the snatching of a child from your arms. You become suddenly, painfully aware that time here does not last forever. That life has limits. That every minute is intrinsically valuable. That tomorrow is truly not promised... to any of us. And yet, at the very moment your eyes are stripped of their blinders and you perceive the preciousness of the inhaling and exhaling, that every breath is on loan, you seem to lose the ability to really live. Now you want to carpe diem, but there is a gaping hole that seems to drain away attempts at happiness. How do you enjoy when the joy is leaked away? Now you know, but with the deep inner knowing comes the deeper pain of loss. They hold hands in a cruel pact of friendship- the loss and the eyes-wide-open living.

Losing a loved one is like losing a limb.  If your right arm were gone, you could still live your life.  Just differently.  You would have to brush your teeth differently, drive differently, learn to dress yourself differently.  When your mind would try to reach for something with the missing appendage, you would have to redirect and compensate... use what is left.  But always there would be the old thinking, a catching of oneself.   It is the same with sudden death.   Maybe all death?  You continue to function, but everything you do is through the lens of loss.  Nothing feels normal.  Inside you must fight to accomplish basic tasks.  If you forget for a moment, then it catches you- the truth you don't want to be true.   The stinging of the loss is multiplied because no one sees your missing limb.  The hole is in your heart- your real heart.   The struggle is invisible.  Boiling beneath the surface.  Hiding behind the to do list and masked by niceties. But the absence is there, and the mysterious void snakes its tentacles through every thought and wraps around every action.  It squeezes the life breath out of you. You who know better than most now that you need to infuse each moment with life... not death.  And so there is a relentless tug of war.

A friend, one who carries a deep hole of loss in her heart, too, said to me "there is pain in this life that we have...but there is also beauty.   Where you are right now....pain and beauty can keep you on a HUGE teeter totter emotionally. Then one day...the beauty once again begins to outweigh the pain."

I can't imagine that right now.  It seems impossible.  Like I am irrepairably broken.  An innocence that I had has been lost forever.  Too much knowledge from this tree of good and evil.  But her words feel like hope.  Ironically that is her name... So I wait for the pendulum to swing.  For the teeter totter to lean away from the pain.  To lift me up towards the beautiful sky and maybe towards some of that light, feathery, soaring  innocence that I so deeply miss.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Postponed

We have waited 9 months for this very first hearing, and we got a call that it was postponed... with no new date scheduled.  And so a new roller coaster begins.   I am sick today (literally) so I will borrow a line from Forrest Gump- that's all I'm gonna say about that. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Dresser Drawer

I could hardly sleep last night.  I lay in the darkness feeling the cool air billow across white sheets and listening to the hum of the fan.  I want to immerse myself in memories.  I want to be there in them.  I hear her little footsteps as she runs to our room in the night.  She stands by my bed and her arms are full of fuzzy friends and her silky pink pillow.  "Mommy I dropped the bunny!" she cries.  I pull her across me and make room for her little pillow and stuffed animals.  "Mommy will get him, baby."  With a little irritation at the number of animals that must make the midnight trek to our bed, I retrieve the pink softness.  She sighs and snuggles into the warmth between mommy and daddy.   I kiss her soft cheeks and pull my fingers through gentle, blond curls.  And the world feels right.  I think of the morning.  Light creeps through the blinds and she exclaims exuberantly, "Time to get up!  The sun is up!"  I rub her little arm and kiss the birthmark near her right shoulder.  She giggles and tries to wiggle away.  Blue-green glistens and the sweetness around her eyes crinkles with delight. 

I try to think of more.  Frantically I rack my brain for clear memories.  I think of the last day.  We stop at an outlet for Cameron to buy some running shoes.  I sit on a bench next to a bin of miniature basketballs.  She picks out the pink and black one and tries to bounce it.  I try to show her how to dribble it, but there is not enough air in the ball.  She won't try the others because they are boy colors.  We walk outside to wait, and tiny fingers are laced through mine.  She says we should lay on the bench.  I laugh and say I think I will sit, but she can put her head in my lap if she likes.  She does.  The weight of her on me.  The last time.  We squint, and I remember I left my sunglasses by the basketballs.  I stand by the door and watch as she bounces her way back to retrieve them for me.  I thank her, and she says "What for?"  I say for getting my glasses.  She smiles, grabs my hand, and says, "Oh mommy!"

Later we wait again while daddy looks for shirts.  I take her to the restroom; then she climbs up onto the chair beside me and says "Now what can we do?" with her arms up in a gesture of bewilderment. We play "I spy," and a woman walks by and smiles at us.  I wonder what she would think if she knew my baby would be dead in a few hours.

Every time my eyes are open during the night, I am grasping memories.  Trying to live in them.  Then this morning we get the call.  The slowly creaking wheels of the judicial system are finally moving.  A motion has been filed to try the young man who killed her as an adult.  The hearing is next Tuesday at 12.  I think I will throw up. Are we ready for this?  Are we ready to hear the first decision... to see the man?  I choose with my will to forgive him whenever he crosses my mind.  But forgiveness does not negate the need for justice.  My memory of his face is foggy.  Do I want to let that change?  Will he be tried as an adult?  Whatever his sentence turns out to be in this onerous process, his family can still touch his face, hear his voice, kiss his cheeks...

I put the babies down for a nap.  I can hear them fussing as I almost run to the bedroom on the other side of the house.  The wailing sound startles even me.  Can that animal like noise be coming from my mouth?  I cannot stop it.  The groans and cries come from a deep pit of agony... a place no one should visit.  I just want my baby.  I don't want answers or logic.  I just want my baby!  In my arms, cheek to cheek, kissing all over her sweet face.  To hear her voice.  To touch her warm skin.  To hold her close.  Not just in the memories that I cling to.  I fight against the feeling that she was never real.  Never really here.  Invisible.  A part of a memory or feeling that can only be conjured up in the mind.  All I have left of her is a lock of golden hair.   Wrapped in a delicate white cloth.  In a wooden box.  In my dresser drawer...