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.
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.