When Mary talks now on the Fisher-Price phone of loss, she speaks with a five year old’s falsetto. She is breezy, upbeat even, and we exchange pleasantries through the medium of her daughter’s voice.
Mary, the girls have your laugh, I try to tell her before the line cuts off. Mary, I always wanted to be your real mom, I tell her before the line clicks off. Mary, that last day haunts me. The girls talk as though you still have the giant carnival unicorn, as though you tucked it under your arm and carried it right through
The earth will soon dissolve like snow/The sun forebear to shine/But God who called me here below/will be forever mine
Genesis 12:5 KJV
 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.
My daughter has to do a slide show about very small souls, cupped in the hand souls, lost at sea souls, their tiny lives made consciously insignificant by human design alone
There are quiet, tree-lined lanes in the arteries of the capitals of the world where pretty twins play while their siblings become the interstitial jigsaw pieces of a world built without reference to
The souls they had gotten in Haran
What is a man’s soul?
And what will he give in exchange for it?
For what does it profit a man
If he gains the whole world
And loses his own soul?
Little One says
Is mommy sleeping in heaven?
No, I say
She is wide awake
Dancing and singing
I wish I were in heaven
Little One says
No, not yet dear
Let us sing and dance together as though this were the porch and the lights from the house were burning bright
Stay with me here on the porch for awhile
We will dance and sing out
grief and hope together until
These ancient gates open wide
A little over a year ago I wrote emails to Catholic official all over the state of Texas. Called some. Beseeched others. Got one response and one sympathetic conversation with a lady who said she would send along a message.
At the time I was deeply concerned because an international healthcare system with a Catholic identity was facilitating the expansion of a medical records system owned by a woman with very un-Catholic values.
I wrote the Vatican.
As Biden announces he has been blessed and authorized by the Pope to get communion and keep doing what he is doing, I can’t help but think that the list of bad popes is incomplete , and should include a few more, the guys who weren’t active felons or thieves, just cowardly or selfish or fooled by the allure of celebrity or power.
It raises two questions for me–when is a useless police department better than no police department? A bad police chief better than no police chief?
And more importantly–will Jesus find faith when he comes back? Will any of us have the courage to stand for peace for the vulnerable children targeted for destruction in their mothers’ wombs?
Luke 18:7-8 NIV
 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
We discuss names.
Her name was Shriver, then Lee, then Baker.
But that is not what her name is anymore, everyone in Heaven has a new last name,
I tell her oldest daughter
What is it? she asks
Beloved, I say
In Heaven everyone’s last name is the same–beloved
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