Sunday, November 16, 2014

Goodbye for now, little butterfly

Dear friend,

My heart broke when I read your letter. For days, I sought for the right words to say. But the strings of words that formed in my mind seemed too fragile, too short, too little. I then realized that there is no simple way to speak about death, especially the death of a child. There is nothing I can say that could make things better.

I will cherish the moment you told me that you were pregnant, how we laughed at your thoroughness, taking the test three times. "Just making sure," your said. I will remember the joy and the awe, as we stood in wonder at the miracle of life. How you said, "the long wait was all worth it." How I hesitated to hug you in fear of squeezing you too tight. How eager we were. How I reminded you to drink a lot of water, "to flush the baby's toilet."

I will hold these tiny moments in my heart.

I will not forget the terror, when you told me that there was blood.
"Pray," you asked, "Please pray." So, we prayed.

And we mourn.
We wait.
We hope.
A butterfly rest
beside us like a sunbeam.
For a brief moment,
its glory and beauty
belonged to our world.

Suddenly, it fluttered away.
How we long for you to stay.
How we long to hold you, one day.
Thank you for the joy that you brought.
Goodbye for now, little butterfly.
You are forever loved.

Until soon,
Your friend

When I was 14 months old, my mother suffered a miscarriage.

Though I have never met this sibling, he or she is a member of our family. We speak of him or her often. Whenever people asked my parents how many children they have, they often answered "five" and explained that they lost a child due to miscarriage.

My mother would tell us the handful stories she kept for this baby. How she had already felt the baby's kick. She told us her memories of an earthquake that might have caused the miscarriage. The night she knew something was not right. How she mourned for her child after his or her death. How my grandmother cared for her as she regained her strength, "so I can take care of you," she would say.

I have no doubt that my convictions about the dignity and humanity of unborn children, and the preciousness of human life, began on my mother's lap, listening to her stories about this brother or sister whom we will forever love.

So, we mourn.
We wait.
We hope.