For Grace

(This is a guest blog by Sarah for her daughter Grace. Thank you for sharing this with us, Sarah. More of Sarah’s writing can be found at her blog here.)

For Grace

Born June 1, 2003

Died May 29, 2003

And language has never made sense again…
 
It starts, slowly at first, a kind of yawn inside my body, a slow and laborious groan within, and I never know when it will come, when it will first rise up inside of me but often it comes after the crocuses have bloomed and died, after the buds on the cherry blossoms disappear and the maroon leaves take their places, after the days turn longer and the nights turn from cold to cool and then, just like that, it begins… the yawn inside my body, the whispering around the edges of my heart.
 
here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And while that voice whispers toward me all year around, this time of year, it tugs me in a different way as my body remembers the birth, prepares itself for long, hard labor and darkness that falls for so many days, weeks and months to come.
 
This is May, my body declares, and I will take over from now until early June.
 
Some years, my body declares itself just before the visit to the midwife, late May, when the last kicks and the last turns and the last rotations are happening, when the settling into myself happens and the last deep sighs occur, when the heart still beats–bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum bum–so fast inside of me, 165 beats a minute.
 
But this year, this BIG and LARGE and confusing tenth year took me by surprise. For the unsettling, the groaning began in late April. April! What of this noise and confusion and tears falling so soon and so early and so many weeks still from your birthday, from your death day, from whatever series of days you want to call them.
 
here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And what to do then so many years out from this, from you and so many things to do each day–meals to prepare, papers to grade, classes to teach, work to be done, children to raise–who can spend an entire month with their body pulling them down and down farther and deeper into this space and toward that place where darkness takes over and declares itself entering the body and how long will you stay this time? You never even ask permission, you just enter and stay as long as you want.
here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And these tears, they fall in places like they did in those early days, in the car when you think no one might be looking, late at night when the rise and fall of the breath of so many others are sleeping in the house, in line at the grocery store inconveniently making you leave the cart of groceries in the middle of nowhere, in the classroom as the children ask you for help when they are planting seeds.
 
here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you my child. you are always with me.

And my body continues to groan and ache and pull at me even as I shout, stop, stop all this right now, this instant but you know, don’t you, that there’s nothing really I can do but succumb to all of this, to fall into this space, to remember the curve of your chin, the forehead, always in lament itself and the long legs stretched out before me. And my body remembers the long and painful and deep labor that took more than an entire day, more than 24 hours, and that doctor yelling at me to push, push and I continued to defy her and hold, hold just so that I could carry you one more minute, one more moment in this sacred space you and I shared together, this place of holding, holding, keeping you safe, keeping you warm and floating and suspended and all of that ended when you came sliding out and the silence of all of it tore me to pieces in the places my body wasn’t already broken from this labor until I wailed for you and made noises you couldn’t make or hear or feel anymore.
 
And my body groaned unfamiliar sounds that scared even me from my own self.
May has arrived and you and I my dear are in this together.
here i am, remember me?

yes, yes, i never forget you mama. you are always with me.
- Sarah Bain
Posted in Guest Blog, poetry, Your Story
2 comments on “For Grace
  1. Betsy says:

    Beautiful! I am crying for you and for me. You have put our annual struggle into lovely poetic verse. Thank you.

  2. Sarah says:

    This had me sobbing. Especially the end. I remember holding my son in for as long as I could too. And that absolutely shattering silence when he came out at last. Devastating. Life-changing. I am forever altered.

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