Two weeks ago, a friend of mine and his wife suffered the incredible loss of their seventeen-month-old daughter to unexpected illness. I have never lost a child, and I can't begin to speak for the pain and heartache my friend and his family are going through and will continue to go through. I wish I could take their pain away.
In these past days, as I've thought of my friend's grief, a poem came to mind. It was one I woke to the morning after my grandmother passed away just about six years ago. Though very different losses, at the time, it gave me comfort.
Here is the poem:
Grace comes in the morning, a loving presence there.
She'll touch my hand and stroke my head and gently comb my hair.
She picks me up and wraps me tight and sees me out the door
and watches me to make sure I don't get hurt any more.
When Grace comes in the afternoon, she'll bandage every bruise.
I notice that she does this for the other children too.
She feeds the lot then takes us home like we're a family.
She bakes us pies and keeps us at her table till we leave.
When Grace comes in the evening, she finds us each a bed--
or floor, or couch, or whatever she can gather up instead.
A cup of water smells like cloves, the sheets like potpourri.
She leaves the kitchen light on and in peace the house can sleep.
I'm not sure what she always was or why she ever came
then left a place that works so hard to put her to a name.
Defining her by body, by species, or by race
could not have done her justice so she holds a different space.
And in those moments when I look inside instead of out--
like when I wake or when I sleep or when I laugh or doubt--
I see her there, and I know that Grace will never leave.
And if I cannot find her, I will pray to Anthony.*
For Grace still comes by morning to wake me in my bed.
That's when I know, because of her, I've one more day ahead.
I love you, Grace.
*My grandma's favorite saint. The Catholic Church considers Anthony the patron saint of lost things.
Angel wings and halo: http://wildones.wikia.com/wiki/File:Angel_wings_and_halo.jpg