Many, many years ago, while taking a course in college they gave us this book of poems, rather we BOUGHT this book of poems. And it is my favorite. I still read it from time to time. One of my favorite discoveries after my beloved Aunt Gloria passed away (we share a birthday) was that she had the exact same book and now I have both. Sometimes I flip through to see if we ever wrote the same thing in the sidelines.
When Katelin was first beginning to regress and the doctors threw out numbers like …dead before 5, won’t make it to 12, and I needed a good cry, I turned those yellowing pages to… can someone have a favorite grief poem??… a poem that touched me deeply as a mother, even though I am an atheist. In this poem, the first night of being without her girl, a mother sends a plea to Heaven. One even my non-believing head might allow my wishing heart.
There are always so many girls and boys leaving us. It is the greatest heartbreak of connecting with families, that these beautiful children you’ve cheered on, cried for, clapped for, who beats the odds so many times, finally fly through that final door.
I’m sure we all think about “when”. Not that it consumes us, but there is always, always that fear…will these be the last good night kisses. Will this be the last time she’ll rest her head upon my heart. And I think, please, please on that last night, let her dreams be filled wonderful, beautiful things. And, my girl for the most part is perfectly healthy. I cannot imagine what medically fragile children’s parents go through.
In any case, this poem allows me to cry. It touches my mother’s heart; it is every mother’s hope, that as our child leaves our caring arms they are welcomed into equally caring arms. At times like that, I don’t question the confliction between my views and this hope. Poetry is meant to touch and heal and make you ponder. That is enough reason. And, I am grateful for the written word.
Prayer for a Very New Angel
God , God , be lenient her first night there.
The crib she slept in was so near my bed;
Her blue-and-white wool blanket was so soft,
Her pillow hollowed so to fit her head.
Teach me that she’ll not want small rooms or me
When she has You and Heaven’s immensity!
I always left a light out in the hall.
I hoped to make her fearless in the dark;
And yet, she was so small—one little light,
Not in the room, it scarcely mattered. Hark!
No, no; she seldom cried! God, not too far
For her to see, this first night, light a star!
And in the morning, when she first woke up,
I always kissed her on her left cheek where
The dimple was. And oh, I wet the brush.
It make it easier to curl her hair.
Just, just tomorrow morning, God, I pray,
When she wakes up, do things for her my way!