Sunday, November 14, 2010

It Was a Good Morning to Cry

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a lady. For a very long time, the lady, who did not believe in magic, did not want to have babies. But slowly, over many years, the lady witnessed strange things in her life. She came to see the strange things as threads in her existence, strands woven together by an unseen and powerful Magic. She became a believer in the Maker of such intricate, beautiful, and heartbreaking tapestries.

One day, a new magical thing happened. The lady and her husband suddenly wanted a family. Soon, the lady was expecting a baby. She was thankful that such Magical things had become a part of her life. She was very happy.

But then a sad thing happened. The baby left her mother and father and went to heaven far too soon. The lady and her husband were in mourning.

Eventually, they tried again, but their next baby left them too soon as well. The lady asked the Magic why It had offered her such gifts only to take them away.  There was silence for a very long time.

She was frightened and sad, but she knew she must trust the Magic. After all, had it not been that very Magic that had given her the desire for children in the first place?

When she found that she was expecting again, she dared to hope and her hope was rewarded. A beautiful daughter was born to the lady. And then another gift -- another daughter -- was given. There was great rejoicing.

The lady and her husband loved their two daughters so much that they hoped for a third child. But when they lost another baby ... and then another ... and then another ... the lady gave up all hope. The tapestry of her dream was in tatters.

But one day a miracle happened. The lady gave birth to one more beautiful baby.

Eight years later, with her husband and her three daughters at her side, the lady had the privilege of participating in a Holy Mass of Remembrance* for all lost children. There, she, her family, other parents, grandparents, and friends, remembered their beloved children. Tears were shed. Sublime music was played and sung. Holy priests presided, offering comfort and prayers to many. Together, all present gave thanks for the gift of life, in all its stages. They gave thanks to and for the life-giving Magic, whose name is Jesus Christ. They received His Body and Blood, and they rested in the knowledge that He is a good and merciful God. They entrusted the souls of their lost children to His divine care.

Then they had coffee, and juice, and cookies in the basement.

And the lady gave thanks one more time to the Magic for His many ineffable gifts, not the least of which are babies in Heaven and on earth, the awful beauty of shared grief, loving priests, and Altar Society ladies who provide cookies. 


* Special thanks to my friend, R.  Sadly, she had a miscarriage last year. An initial conversation with Fr. S. led to more talks, then J. joined them, and then I did, too. And now we've begun "the Hannah Ministry" which we hope will offer comfort and care to grieving parents. Saturday morning was our first Holy Mass of Remembrance. 

"She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly." 
~~ 1 Samuel 1:10


Charlotte (Waltzing Matilda) said...

Thank you for this, Karen. It came at the perfect time. Just when I thought I was better, I spotted a Baby's First Christmas ornament at the store and wept openly in public...again. The pain is good though because it reminds us of the One true author of life and all of His blessings. I think the Hannah Ministry sounds wonderful and encourage you wholeheartedly!

Karen E. said...

Thank you so much, Charlotte! Hugs to you. I can relate to the open weeping ....

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! And thank you! :O)

tanita davis said...

What a marvelous gift to give each other.

Blythe Woolston said...

Although I do not share your faith, I felt this deeply. It is as important to share sorrow as joy, I think. Thank you.

Karen E. said...

Blythe, thank you -- yes, I think it's so important to share the sorrows as well as the joys in life.

Thanks, Tanita, for your note, too.

And you, too, Anon. ;)

KC said...

That was beautiful, Karen.

The Bookworm said...

Beautifully said, Karen. Would you please say a prayer for someone I know who has just miscarried twins.

Karen E. said...

Thanks, KC and Bookworm. And I'll pray for the mom who just lost her twins. How terribly sad. I'm so sorry ....

Anonymous said...

New reader here. Thank you so much for this, and for sharing about your new Hannah Ministry. It's so needed. Please, say a prayer for a newlywed friend of mine who just lost her first baby very early. She isn't the type to open up, and she doesn't have too many people aroud to help her.

Karen E. said...

I'll pray for her -- I'm so very sorry.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment.

Anonymous said...

New reader here as well. I think your Hannah ministry is much needed. Would you consider reaching out to barren women like the first Hannah who long for children but cannot conceive? Sometimes I feel I have no one to share my own sorrow with. Though I have not suffered the pain of miscarriage, I grieve the loss of the children I am not able to conceive. I grieve because I long to parent an adopted child and the wait is so long to be chosen by a birthmother. I grieve every thing our profile is shown and we are not chosen. I hear of other waiting couples who are chosen only to have the birthmother change her mind. How hard this must be to bare when you long to be a mother with all your being. In the mean time I grow older and older and my sisters and friends continue to have child after child. Most of the time I suffer in silence. It would be such a comfort to have someone to lean on for support while we wait and wait and wait.

Karen E. said...

Hi, Anon,

I'm so glad you brought this up! After that Mass, I started thinking about how we most definitely do need to include those who are suffering from infertility. It's an even more silent suffering than miscarriage, I think.

I'm so sorry for your pain. I know, only in a secondhand way, of course, how terribly difficult it can be -- my sister was never able to have children, and it's a heavy cross.

Thanks so much for your comment, and you'll be in my prayers. Have you ever read Kristen at Small Treasures? Though she has now adopted three children, check her sidebar for beautiful writing on infertility and their failed adoption. Perhaps she can offer you some hope as you wait.

May God bless you.