Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Grief Observed

The children began to taste freedom last evening, as doors and windows were left open, and dinner was late. Absent were the reminders about homework and chores. Friends paraded through the house, and rummaged through the pantry –Fall Break had officially begun.
Nothing can ever be truly celebrated without a sibling sleepover. After ice cream was consumed, the linen closet emptied, and Sam’s already crowded room resembled “Once upon a Mattress,” (complete with a couple of teetering bean-bag beds), the “little ones” went to sleep. Zach was having a late night at a friend’s, Star was away “Bishoping,” and Abbie coaxed me into watching Emma Smith’s story on DVD.
Now… I already know what happens in this story. It is not a happy one. I appreciated the details and the faithful way in which Emma was portrayed. However, as those dearly anticipated babies passed away, I recognized a familiar feeling: desperate pain. A wave of grief washed over me. Mental images of Star and I in a hearse, a tiny pink casket between us; the penetrating (Dixie like) heat of the sun as we held a graveside service at the cemetery; the amazing loneliness of empty arms.

It has been six years now since little Louisa died. I have borne and kept two more babies. And yet, when those waves pull me under every once in a long while, I feel physically as though I will surely drown. I went up to Max’s room, rocked his sleeping body, and wept until exhausted. Star came. He knelt beside me, peeled the baby from my arms and tucked him into his little bed. Then he kissed my head, helped me up, and brought me into our room. He is no longer afraid of those waves. He cannot stop them. They are gone as suddenly as they have come. And only puffy eyes and a headache are reminders that they visited my world again. The intensity of grief always surprises me. But I do not wish it away.


The Despot said...

how appropriate the title of your post. if we remember what mr lewis had to endure to finally accept grief and practice what he preached.

one day, when all the scars of mortality are erased and we're gathered around some cozy fire (or back yard picnic table-- which ever fits your heaven best) you'll have to tell us what that experience made of your life. no doubt you'll have had time to talk it out with Him, by then, and we'll be dying to know what was said.

jayniemoon said...

I wish I would've read this before I gave my lesson Sunday. What a fantastic mom you are and it is no wonder at all why Louisa chose to come to you--even for such a short time here. I'm sure she's waiting patiently to join her siblings in a sleepover--and I imagine there won't be messes to clean up there.

the next time Abbie tries to persuade you to watch that, give me a call--I'll come up with a happier alternative!

Greg said...

Oh Steffy.
How I love you. I read this beautiful post, and I can imagine it all. And I want to say that I can feel it too--cause I do feel... a lot. But I know I never really have.

I also know that someday, I will understand. And while that scares me, I know that whatever I feel, it'll be okay to feel it. Because you've already been there and felt it. And come through.