The following piece is the sad companion to one I wrote a number of years ago entitled “Fatherly Grief“.
Lying next to me, I know that
Her restlessness comes most
In the middle of the night.
The pillow beneath her head and her body move
Gently in rhythm with the quiet
And questioning supplications.
Augustine eventually said,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is
Until it finds its rest in thee.”
Did Monica then pray beforehand,
“Thou hast made him through me, O Lord, and my heart will be
Until he finds his rest in thee”?
I witnessed the awe of birth, and its ending;
The cutting of the binding cord that gave
When mother’s blood was child’s own.
But, no matter the number of yearly remembrances,
An unseen tie still remains, wishing
For the child needing another birth.
O, what awful pain some mothers endure when
They stand by a child’s grave! The unnatural
Bringing unbearable grief, unimaginable grief.
Do promise and time truly help? Does knowing a child is
Living though dead help dull the ache, ever
Unending waves of sorrow and loss?
The book of wisdom speaks of a similar
Grief other mothers must bear; of a child living yet
Not caring that earthly pleasure brings endless pain elsewhere.
This maternal distress does not diminish, each passing day
Sending continual waves, greater fears of
That time does not quell and promise can seem to mock.
The apostle had no greater joy than seeing
A child walking in truth. Is there then
No greater than a mother staring at the other side?
So I hold her tight, whispering hope to her in the dark,
“Certain stories keep turning pages before
Comes with the morning light.”
Finally, the drowning wave is held off once again and
Fitful sleep returns. For in her bosom remains still the
A silent labor with unknown end.
He told us the cost, yet the separation of
Child from mother caused by his
Pierces even as she clings desperately to it.