Monday, November 8, 2010

For Isra.

You are the poem I dreamed of writing, the masterpiece I longed to paint.
You are the shining star I reached for in my ever-hopeful quest for life fulfilled.
You are my child.
Now with all things I am blessed.


What do you say, to a mother who has just lost her child? What words will soothe? What sentiment is right?

I am at a loss.
I read the news on Saturday, and felt as though I was drowning. She was so small. She had only just arrived. And my friend, her mother. How could she possibly bear this?

I hadn't been in touch with her for many years. I read about her beautiful new baby, the joy, the hope, the pain, the shock, the whole story unfolded before me in updates and photos. I wasn't there. And now, to wish that I could be there seems...odd. But I do wish it, all the same.

I couldn't be there for her funeral. But my parents went. My mother said that my friend was surrounded by loved ones. She was not alone. She was so strong. She held my mother's hand and asked for me - a "friend" who hasn't seen her in years - to remember her in my prayers. I wish I had her grace and serenity.
I wish I could do more for her, but I have nothing to offer other than my words.

I am hurting for her, and with her. People will say that her baby is waiting for her at the Gates of Paradise. People will say that God will not grant her a burden more than she can bear. That we belong to Him, and to Him we must return.

I want to say that her baby's time here was too short and that my heart is breaking for all of them.

I cannot stop thinking of her today, my friend and her baby girl. Every time I hear my girls' laughter, or pick up my baby, or wipe away a tiny tear, I think about them. I think about the time they had together, and how there was so much more of their story yet to be told.

I think about sending them my love and support. I think about her grief. I think about how I would go on.

I think about that time when we were girls, walking down the hallway of our high school together, and how could we know back then that this is the destiny we were walking towards?

I want her to know that I am still there, walking beside her. That she is not alone. Even if we graduated and moved on, to jobs and marriages and different countries, I am still there, walking alongside her, holding her hurt in my heart, shouldering her burden with her, bearing her pain and supporting her weary soul. I want her to know that I will not forget her and her baby, her husband and her precious boy.

I bear witness to your suffering, my friend. Know that you are not alone.

The End
Rabindranath Tagore

It is time for me to go, mother; I am going.

When in the paling darkness of the lonely dawn you stretch out your arms for your baby in the bed, I shall say, "Baby is not there!"--mother, I am going.

I shall become a delicate draught of air and caress you; and I shall be ripples in the water when you bathe, and kiss you and kiss you again.

In the gusty night when the rain patters on the leaves you will hear my whisper in your bed, and my laughter will flash with the lightning through the open window into your room.

If you lie awake, thinking of your baby till late into the night, I shall sing to you from the stars, "Sleep mother, sleep."

On the straying moonbeams I shall steal over your bed, and lie upon your bosom while you sleep.

I shall become a dream, and through the little opening of your eyelids I shall slip into the depths of your sleep; and when you wake up and look round startled, like a twinkling firefly I shall flit out into the darkness.

When, on the great festival, the neighbours' children come and play about the house, I shall melt into the music of the flute and throb in your heart all day.

Dear auntie will come and will ask, "Where is our baby, sister? Mother, you will tell her softly, "He is in the pupils of my eyes, he is in my body and in my soul."
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