Two weeks out

It’s a sunny and almost warm spring day in Central Vermont. I even had a robin on my porch this morning. It’s also two weeks since I lost the baby, and I haven’t managed to go a whole day without tears yet, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me. Bit by bit.

The flood of support has been amazing. Cards, emails, pictures, music, prayers, calls and hugs have come from every direction. I’ve heard from an older woman who never had the opportunity to grieve, several colleagues who have been in the same place, and even from a couple I’ve never met and have no idea how they knew what happened, but they sent us a sympathy card and the simple note: “we too have experienced this.”

On this two week anniversary, I offer this, not because I’m ready to say it and be done, but because it’s a beginning. A way of further breaking the silence. A prayer of commendation. Those who have attended many funerals will recognize hints of the standard prayer, “…when all else fails, you are still God…  …Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your son/daughter…  …ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” May this prayer be a gift not only to me, but to others who seek to mourn and heal. I know I change voice a lot, back and forth between ‘I’ and ‘we.’ A prayer of commendation is usually said by the pastor on behalf of the grieving family. In this instance, I found it impossible to separate the two.

Commendation
Love and Life, my body has failed, my heart is broken, but I know that you are still God. Teach me the peace and the healing of letting go, of saying goodbye before I got to say hello. In the face of life and death, knit together in the womb of all creation, grant me and those who surround me hope to keep us going, and courage to hold up one another.
Thank you for this blessing, however brief, this anticipation and this joy, this reminder that each of us is fragile, rare, and miraculous. Each of us is cradled in the arms of your womb, whether or not we ever venture out into the world. In death as in life, we all are yours.
And so, into your gentle, mothering hands, O Love, O Life, I offer my child and yours. Receive back this precious and unopened gift, joy to Joy, hope to Hope. In your love and your light, nurture this life that was and would have been and isn’t. In this tender promise of love unborn, may we still know Love and Life eternal.

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4 Responses

  1. Some feelings, O God, can only be expressed with groans and sighs, and grief for which there is no name.

    Only You, O Lord, can name our grief.

    In profound brokenness you find perfection. You find perfect places for shattered pieces of our lives in Your grand Mosaic.

    May you share the grief that we are not yet willing to turn over to you. May your grace cradle us. Help us to stand when we cannot on our own. Help us to mourn when we know not why. Grant us peaceful rest, the company of faithful friends, and the courage we feel we’ve lost.

    O that we may experience a gratitude so deep it has no name. All praise to you.

    Amen

  2. “It’s also two weeks since I lost the baby, and I haven’t managed to go a whole day without tears yet…”

    Gee, two whole weeks and still in the process of grieving. Imagine that! Seriously, you sound like you are doing well for having so recently entered into that process. As you said, bit by bit. Traditionally (as I’m sure you know) people set aside one year to be in mourning; that’s one tradition, at least, that I think is rooted in some very deep wisdom. Dealing with death and loss and grief is a process that needs its own time to unfold and resolve.

    It’s true that our culture doesn’t always make space for that process. One acquaintance of mine suggested that I was behaving dysfunctionally because I still needed a lot of time to myself SIX WHOLE WEEKS after my mother had died–very suddenly and traumatically of a late-diagnosed cancer, as you may recall. I guess this person thought I was supposed to be “over it” by then. Fortunately, the people who were (and are) closest to me understood, and told me to take as much time as I needed, they’d be there when I was ready.

    Likewise, I’m sure, for you. Take all the time you need. We’ll still be here when you’re ready.

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