Rachel would be 17 months old today. Oh, I miss her. I hated those spells and I do not miss the constant feedings but I do miss her soft skin, the way it felt to hold her, her smiles and sparkly eyes. The other day I walked by the sleepers in Costco and saw the last one that I dressed her in, for the hearse. I felt what it was like to hold her in that sleeper. How can I explain that kind of hurt? Dave said the other day that now we have a tether to heaven, and we will never be the same again. I know in my heart that this is true, that our loss is strangely a gift as well. A gift that will help to keep me alive and open to God. But sometimes it is still hard to accept that she couldn't stay with us - that her health would have been the better gift. I know it doesn't help anything, but I imagine what it would be like to have Rachel sitting with us at the table, babbling by now, seeking her older sibling's attention. Oh, what joy it would be to have her here...but healthy and well.
A friend sent me a reading (from her Book of Prayer) while we were in Berlin. There was a line in it that struck a deep cord in me. Here it is:
Mary of rattling tea cups and homemade cookies
Mary of open door, open hearth, open heart
Queen of warmth and hospitality
Mary of varicose veins and chapped hands
Strong, fragile woman
Vulnerable, unshakable woman
Believer in love, reality, people, God
Back stooped and ear bent in listening to life's stories and to the giver of life
Stubborn fidelity to life in the face of death
Unflinching spirit that stares light into the darkness of the tomb
Heart that breaks and pours love over the thirsty earth
Missing her son when he is gone to another home
Looking up in the sudden expectancy of hearing his voice
Smiling wryly to herself and waiting
Waiting, gestating the kingdom once more
Growing in expectancy of second birth - this time her own
The moment of reunion rushes to meet her with open arms
And their laughter rocks the universe
Sending happy shock waves to echo in our dreams
Tugging our reluctant mouths into smiles of hope and anticipation.
Amen, it will be so, Amen.
- from Gathering the Fragments by Edward J. Farrell
Isn't that so beautiful? Are you too, longing for the laughter that rocks the universe, that cosmic reunion? And somehow reading that, thinking of what is coming, helps me to wait. It helps me to be patient. Because it is coming, I can live now.
Happy Birthday Rachel!