When Mary was little she would often whine and fuss, tantrum too, if I am honest. Sometimes in the midst of a good roaring fuss, she would ask for something extraneous, non-essential, and I would tell her hope springs eternal!
One day she quoted it back to me–hope springs a turtle!!
I changed the quote after that to her version.
Mary, today I took the girls to the river and a baby turtle, perfect and wonderful, swam to me.
Hope springs a turtle
The truth be told I felt I lost you when you were twelve. That was when I had to reckon with my desire to make you like me and your desire to not-be-that
I let something die to get us through. It was hard. I wanted you to be my girl, the way that people would tell us we looked alike, despite no genetic overlay to speak of.
We got through that
For years my prayer was just let her be alive, God, please just let her be alive
Come to think of it,
Apparently you can buy anything on Amazon I think as once again I am in a club I don’t want to belong to
He says what do I do now without her? And I tell him, she is not there. That is not where she is
Echoing the conversations between angels and other Marys
I tell him what I would tell you, or me or anyone–a dog on the street if I had to–
She is eternal and the pain we feel is that verification that we must seek eternity
Seek the one who can
Past our terrible selves
It was always there in the story–the danger in the ubiquitous needles, things of ordinary use taken to deadly ends, the beautiful sleeper, unaware that her respiratory response is the key, the lifeboat, the signal-light, wake up,
Or if you cannot, make sure to find a prince who
can wake you
back to life
Mary was born on January 1, 1993. She was born to ________ and _______and is survived by _____________________________________. She had kids with__________, who preceded her in death by a handful of months, days, minutes, hours.
Her children are bright little lights, and I want to gather all of them to me, sing with them, raise them onto strong shoulders, proceed with them in a march more wedding than funeral, acknowledge that no life is actually just a handful of years, months, days, hours, minutes, things smaller than that, things that can only be measured by Hands torn for
For her, for me
He precedes us in life, in death, in life again
Walk out of that grave, girl, walk into life
All because of Him
You little dervish
All red hair and fire
You would get in a mood and storm
Then get distracted by your toys
Begin alternating between
The distraction of playtime and the vague memory that you had been
so recently aggrieved
If I am honest, you were often a pain in the ass. Your attachment disorder meant that I was the primary target of your anger when you were growing up, which was not fun, but good for me.
I remember you when you were little, I remember the stress, chaos and exhaustion. We would look at you and Charles when you were asleep and say, they are cute when they are asleep.
find myself trying to construct an old play fort out of this gray day, the sky folded into the quilted tent
This is heaven, I tell myself, this is Mary, she was college-aged, after all. She could be here, Heaven could be this, the thin line between the realms could be as gossamer as time itself–
Yesterday you were among the living
And now I return to the prayers I prayed when I held you as a child, fierce ball of anger
Make us real
Make us vivid
Wipe away the tears, the past, the unbearable
All things made new
Last week I flew to Pittsburgh, got a rental car to Ohio, picked up my adopted granddaughters, and flew home.
Overall they both did remarkably well traveling cross-country with a stranger, but in the Nashville airport Em lost it. She just did not want to go from gate C whatever to gate A whatever, so she wailed and squirmed as I carried her.
By the time we got to A whatever I was reddened and drenched with sweat, utterly convinced that cardio-resistance workouts do not “go with” masking
And she remained in high dudgeon, as Jane Austen would say.
I was genuinely concerned she would not calm down and I would not be allowed to board a plane with a screaming, squirming child and I would be stranded, far from home, with an inconsolable child.
An amazing woman came to my rescue. She bought the girls coloring books, a bottle of water, tic tacs, She talked us through, back to normal and calm enough to board a plane.
I did not ask her name or get her address, but I wish I had
Knowing, as I do, that I could never thank her enough.
Normal abortion services?
I don’t have time to write this blog. My house is chaos, I am behind in my “day job,” and my adopted granddaughters live with us now.
Both girls have been through fires, literally and figuratively.
As I see headlines about the Texas heartbeat law, I cannot stop thinking about what an appalling loss to me and the world entire it would be if they were not here.
They, like all my kids, light up my world. If one were missing, the loss would be unbearable.
That is what the rhetoric hides–each child saved from abortion is a
Little girl twirling in a princess dress
A little boy looking for spiny lizards
A child who knows grownup words long before they should
An irreplaceable light in the darkness.