One of the little things I started doing in the early weeks after we lost Eliza was to make a "grief book." It was just a blank book or journal that I already had on hand (it happened to have a butterfly on the cover) but instead of writing my own thoughts in it, I copied down things that I read. Poems, quotes, passages from books I was reading, anything that resonated with me, or that I hoped would resonate with me in the future. If I found a picture or photo, online or in a magazine, that seemed to illustrate the way I was feeling, or match up with a particular text that I'd included, I'd cut it out and tape it in the book as well. It was mostly something to keep me busy, to give me something to do that felt productive but wasn't difficult. I still look at the book and I still add to it from time to time. I look for more hopeful things now, which maybe says something I'm not ready to say about the grief process and the passage of time.
My friend Sarah e-mailed me this poem back in the early days, and it was one of the first things I copied down in the pages of my grief book. It still touches a tender spot in my heart every time I read it. It's a poem I want to share every time I hear of a mama who has had to say good-bye to her baby.
If it's meant for you, I hope you get something you need from it. And if you know someone who needs to read it, I hope you'll pass it on.
Blessed sister, beautiful one
with broken wings.
Your journey is a difficult one
that no mother should have to endure.
Your path is steep, rocky and slippery,
and your tender heart is in need of gentle healing.
Breathe deeply and know that you are loved.
You are not alone,
though at times, you will feel like a
desolate island of grief
Close your eyes.
Seek the wisdom of women who have walked
this well-worn path before you,
and before you yourself were born.
Those beautiful ones
with eyes like yours
have shared your pain and
weathered the storms of loss.
You are not alone (breathe in).
You will go on (breathe out).
Your wings will mend (breathe in).
You are loved (breathe out).