This daughter of mine
Unabashed pink, sturdy girlhood
There’s nothing to suggest in that ladybug smile
Or curls lilting with the melody
That track three of the Stephen Foster songbook
Could be the perfect song for a baby girl’s funeral.
I planned every inch of this healthy child
From her conception to now this memorial.
Unwelcome, unbidden, good ideas for bad.
You could slap me with your words and I would not blame you
I have travelled to funeral homes
Held tiny, exquisite urns in my hands
Seen Lilliputian caskets too small to truly contain a life
The funeral processions should have been held in a doll’s house
I drink her up and swing her about
No other baby of mine
Will rest in a dark box I had to choose
You beg me for euphemisms but I can’t help you.
I fold up my map
I try to put it away
But it has been folded and refolded
Shaped, cut and put together
By hands too small too write their own names
This poem was adapted from one I wrote about 15 years ago. I happened upon recently while packing files to prepare for our apartment renovation. I had completely forgotten that I ever wrote it - wrote anything - having put it away as soon as I hurriedly penned it.
I wrote this soon after my son Jacob died and an adorable girl was inching her way into our hearts. It accurately reflects the feelings I was having at the time – considerable post- traumatic stress from my child dying, and ever-present fears for my surviving child. I was also supporting other parents whose children died from cancer by attending funerals and being present for them.
I’m grateful to have come across this writing. This is a record of what happened. This is a record of the distance I have come and the two times connecting.
I didn’t have a blog then. There weren’t blogs then. But I did write just a little. The seeds were planted. And here they are.