Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Granny shares her greatest grief: The death of a child

"You're crying, Granny.  I don't see you cry very much, and I feel so sad when you do."  And I tell her these tears are for washing the soul so the eyes can see further ahead, so the memories and hurt cannot crush it.
Trip of the Soul - wikimedia commons

It was so long ago, but yesterday too, I explained to my little Charlene.  Bright as a new bird of spring is that child, how I wish that all life was that too.  But Granny has learned how death passes by, as a stranger and sometimes a friend.  Sometimes the cloak worn is so terribly dark one just cannot see.  When it's lifted the sun comes again.

An unnatural thing is a mother's great loss of a child.  Somewhere another mother knows about that hurt, a child that's killed in violence.  Oh my Lord, it is pain.    Granny remembers her son who died years ago, like a yesterday voice that lingers in echoes, then fades.  The old know how time moves too fast. 

It was on today, years ago, when it happened I thought I would never get past all that grief.  No mother can bury a child for the hurt is so deep there is nothing more painful than that.

Charlene, she is little.  She's only ten now, with her long curls that trail down her back.  How can Granny tell her bout those years long ago, when she asks how my son I had birthed as my first, her grandfather Joe that had died.

He was shot in the back of the head, and the angry and jealous man who killed him, left him there, bleeding to die.  I heard, but I couldn't hear then and still can't.  There are words a mother just cannot know.  It's too hard.

What is death to a child is not for an old woman in Cloutierville to share in the ways Granny's needing today. Instead there's a whisper that comes in the wind that I sense, lets me know he is here once again.   I can't touch, I can't feel, I can't hear his sweet voice, for the veil keeps my hands from his face.

But I know that the love we get for all time is part of what stays with me now, as the wind brings the memories fresh to my heart and the best for my comfort and grace.

And I turn to it now, as my Charlene sits close, with my arms holding tight, never wanting to cry anymore cause I know that this hurt will not last.  For I hold in my arms the seed that is growing, that love of my son, to show me again and again, every day---life goes on.

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