Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Memoriam...

Written on August 31, 2004:

My firstborn child, Carl, died while scuba diving in Mexico in 1993, at the age of twenty-eight. I had already experienced the death of a husband and the death of a beloved younger sister. Perhaps those losses had prepared me in some small way for this life-wracking pain… but I must confess, it never really goes away, this agony from the loss of a child.
The best proof we have of the hidden gift in every struggle
is the fact that we survived the last one.
-Joan Chittister

today's memories
He would have
been forty-three,
my eldest son,
born in the wee hours
of this day,
all those many years                                                        
ago, to a frightened
young woman,
laboring alone
in the maternity ward
of an Army hospital.                                                       
It was the way of
those days- few
words of comfort
were offered though
drugs were...
my husband sent
home with the
words, "It'll be a while."
Long hours of
pain made worse
by lonely isolation
and a harried, unfeeling
nurse, who kept
covering me each time
I ejected the sheet,
my tiring body
sheathed in sweat
as it labored in
earnest to birth
this new life.
And in the way of
those days, he was
whisked away
after only a brief
glimpse assured me
he was healthy & well.      
We met face to face,
body to body, mother
and child, several
hours later and, oh,
the joy that flooded
my heart as tears
coursed down my
cheeks, my hands
running over his
tiny body, counting
fingers & toes, touching
every bit of skin,
taking him into my
heart & life inch by
precious inch.
My first-born..
and with the memory,
unbidden tears
course down my cheeks...
this time of grief, of
life untimely gone,
of flesh-of-my-flesh
torn away at
twenty-eight. He
would have been
forty-three today,
my eldest son, and
I miss him still. Part
of me has gone
with him, for what mother
could let her child
make that final
journey alone?

*And perhaps all of this offers at least a bit of an explanation for my on-going sense of disconnection...for the sense of not fitting in my own skin. This day always sneaks up on me, my only warning this feeling of dis-ease with myself and my surroundings and my life. It has been 18 years...I should be "over it" by now, shouldn't I? Yet how do I heal a broken heart which is broken open again and again and yet again by the heartbreaks of this world which continue to become part of me...connections unbidden and yet very real.
A broken-open heart

1 comment:

  1. Very touching....I hope I never have to go through what you and my grandmother had to with the death of a son. I would be so lost. I often think of Carl and have so many happy memories of our time together....My First Love :0) I thank God that He put Carl in my life for so long. I also thank you Linda, for helping make Carl the wonderful man he was. He will be alive in my heart forever. I look forward to seeing him again after I make "my journey".......C.Diane